Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Online Protests Begin To Rage Against RuddNet Censorship

By Darryl Mason

The Rudd government has released its report into internet filtering and (you may be shocked to read this) has reached the conclusion that it's a fine and practical idea.

Welcome to the RuddNet

The Federal Government will introduce compulsory internet filtering to block overseas sites which contain criminal content, including child sex abuse and sexual violence.

And political content that will, or already is, categorised as "extremist".

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced the changes today following a controversial trial to filter the internet which was conducted earlier this year.

Senator Conroy says some internet content is simply not suitable in a civilised society.

"It is important that all Australians, particularly young children, are protected from this material," he said.

Legislation will be introduced into Parliament next year which will require all ISPs to block material which has been refused classification in other countries.

This would include sites containing child sex abuse, bestiality, sexual violence or detailed information about how to use drugs or commit crimes.

My head is churning with hundreds of titles of classic, brilliant, acclaimed movies that include scenes showing viewers how to use drugs and commit crimes.

And the obligatory declaration of non-censorship :

The Government maintains the filter is not designed to curtail freedom of speech.

It doesn't matter whether it was "designed" to curtain freedom of speech. The simple fact is it will do exactly that.

The ABC News website was one of the first news sites to run the story with comments open, with hundreds pouring in within the first hour the story going up. The reaction is 99% negative, and the outrage at such a draconian move towards mandatory internet censorship is spreading fast.

The Liberals and The Greens could seriously rock the popularity of the Rudd government by opposing internet filtering and fighting hard against this kind of censorship. We know The Greens will, but what about The Libs?

Or do the Coalition Catholics and religious donors demand Liberals back RuddNet?

This comment from Grover at ABC News is a good summary of the vast majority of furious opinions piling up in comments :
Limiting freedoms of citizens is outrageous.

In what world does Conroy think it is appropriate to decide what data we may and may not access?

He is bringing us level with China and it's censorship.

I am genuinely disgusted that they would actually degrade this county's broadband services, instead of improving them, which is what we (including myself) voted the Labor government into power to do. Under no circumstances will I vote for a party responsible for attacks on our freedoms, in the next election.

Any true criminal will go around any black list, it is extremely easy (I have a degree in Computer Science, but no education is required).

Any privacy concious individual will use encryption services, which can _not_ be decrypted by anyone inspecting their data packets.

In short, this will make little or no difference to criminals, but will limit the choices and freedoms of all average citizens of this country, and it open us all up to possible abuse by governments in the future.

Do not for one second attempt to imply that people opposed to this plan are paedophiles or terrorists.
Stephen Conroy has already deployed the 'Responsible Australians Vs Pedos & Terrorists' argument to sugar coat this digital censorship program. They better come up with something stronger than that to argue their case for internet filtering. They've already got hundreds of thousands of teenage to middle aged gamers offside with their censorship and banning of animated vidgames.

If you follow @KevinRuddPM on Twitter, an easy fast way to register your opposition to RuddNet censorship is to block his messages and remove yourself from his Following list.

@KevinRuddPM has almost 900,000 followers on Twitter, amongst the highest of any politician in the world. Let's cut that following in half by Friday. For starters.

More soon...

Pollytics : Kevin Rudd Wants To Filter Your Internets

Asher Moses : Internet Censorship Plan Approved In Australia

Media Hunter : Can The Blogstream Topple A Government? Let's Find Out

LP : Net Censorship Zombies Rise Again