Don’t Censor My Intarwebs!

The push for filtering on the internet worries me. It has been criticised as worse than Iran’s own system and has been based around this whole scare tactic notion of child pornography (or CP). I don’t want a filter, but that doesn’t mean I can be accused of wanting or supporting CP, I just don’t think a content ban is the way to stop it. Especially when it is a censor that we can’t opt out of, as initially claimed.

The first tier of blocks is on CP and on ‘all other illegal’ sites and you can’t opt out of it. The second is on material ‘not deemed suitable for children’. The blocks are also not accurate and once a site is gone you probably can’t get it back. Also they slow your internet connection by up to 86%. I already hate my goddamn internet connection speeds, and I have the fastest you can get. I was waiting for the government to make good on its better broadband promise, if I had of known I was voting for censorship of my only source of media they can’t get their hands on (or so I thought) I wouldn’t have voted for them. And now I can’t remember if I voted for Greens or Labor, I know I voted Greens in the Senate. Fuck.

The internet, unlike movies and the news in Australia, is the only thing we have that is completely free, and fair in that we can all set up our own space to make our voices heard. Just because something is illegal doesn’t mean I don’t want to read about it. Plus the Australian government isn’t exactly the most fair and neutral judge, what about the anti-Asia thing where Howard wanted to restrict immigration. Or the anti-terror thing where Muslims were targeted and all you had to look was ‘suspicious’ (read: have a beard or hijab) to get arrested. I’m an internet user but for writing this post I’d be accused a CP defender.

I’d love to be able to blame porn for all of this. It seems like with porn, it can’t just stay at one level. It has to get worse and weirder till finally you hit beastiality, midgets and the illegal shit like CP. But when people get the most of their content from peer to peer programs which can’t be blocked, the idea of a content ban becomes useless. I’m pretty sure the best programmers in Australia will be figuring out the way around it within minutes of it being administered and I’m confident that I could find a way to illegally get it off, but why should I have to?

I don’t campaign for terrorism, but I want to read about it. I want to read from sources that disagree with my government, because the only way to keep a government fair and democratic is to constantly question it. I already have a heavily biased media that I ignore, don’t take away the only thing I use for fair and balanced news. Even if the sites I visit aren’t balanced, they at least offer a different viewpoint I can think about. I want to make up my own mind on what content I will filter. I want my freedom to read whatever the fuck I want to read! Are they going to start banning novels now too? A lot of books write about murder, drug use, CP, terrorism blah, blah, and are still essential reads by brilliant authors.

What stops them from blocking things that aren’t exactly illegal but disagree with their own viewpoint and encourage ‘dissent’? Its only a matter of time before they start blocking socialist or radical political sites, unions and activists. We’re the ones with our heads on the chopping blocks here, the ones who will speak out against the hypocrisy and the corruption. If you ran a country and could figure out a way to silence those who opposed you, wouldn’t you do it? Iran did, China did.. Australia too? The internet is the only thing we have to get out our views, Allah knows we won’t see it on Today Tonight. It provides a quick and easy way to get our opinions heard to a mass audience (even if the hits aren’t there we still have the possibility of hits, amirite?).

Fucking hell, another reason to hate Rudd! If I did vote for him.. I have a feeling I voted Greens because Labor & Liberal had the same policies.. but if I did, I never will again! Can we organise a protest? All us little nerdy internet users marching down the street with our star wars & pokemon paraphernalia, puffing on our inhalers and adjusting our coke bottle lenses to the attack of actual sunlight would be a sight to see. I’m down, if anyone’s organising. This shit just got real.

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19 Responses to “Don’t Censor My Intarwebs!”

  1. This Devil's Workday Says:

    What’s interesting is that the guy who is trying to get this thing off the ground attempted to censor people who would be opposing it.

    The day they try to implement this is the day I finally join a protest (I kind of dislike protesters, but only because I feel 80% of them are doing it for the sake of it).

    So if this is something ISP’s choose to use for their service, won’t everyone just boycott the ISP’s using it and join other providers? Therefore it would be a pretty unwise business decision for an ISP to make, and therefore a completely unsuccessful scheme?

    Unless of course it becomes the law for everyone to have this thing…

    The day that happens is the day I become a New Zealander. Or protest. Either way I’ll be pissed off.

  2. LuLi Says:

    I’m not sure whether it will become law or just a deal with ISP’s but I think the ISP’s aren’t too keen because they’ll lose money. And it will make their services lose out on quality.

    Protests are fun, I can’t believe you don’t like them. I’ve only been to a handful, for Workchoices and back when there was the war in Lebanon, but I thought they were great. Theres nothing like walking down the street, chanting against the government with the solidarity of a few thousand people behind you! If its for a good cause then its an effective way to give attention to it.

  3. Kezza Says:

    I’m totally with you on the protest, I’ll take part if there is one as I’d like to keep my internet fair, balanced and open. Okay I see the point in irraicating the likes of kiddie porn, but obviously that isn’t where the filtering is going to stop and that is something I simply cannot stand for. Make some noise Aussies, don’t let the government drip feed us their “approved” information.

  4. Domino Says:

    I’m down for a protest. Who decides whats banned anyway? I read here that they’re going to block legal sites as well as illegal. That’s not right. The internet is unedited and untouched, it should stay that way.

  5. This Devil's Workday Says:

    I’m more the “maybe I should get a law degree and try to change things that way” or “secretly become friends with someone high up to change their mind” kind of guy than someone who hits the streets with a sign. I just don’t think it’s that effective. OK, it often does the job, but people tend to overdo it. Like VSU. I mean, come on!

  6. LuLi Says:

    Kezza – Awesome! I think we should all get behind this, it really is an infringement on our liberty.

    Domino – Yeah, theres no clear outline on what they will block, its dodgy as. I’m loving the protest enthusiasm, I’ll hunt around and see if theres one actually organised.

    TDW – You have to go through the people! Educate, agitate then organise.. Secret deals on the sly is too corrupt bureaucrat like!

  7. Andy Says:

    You’ll see snowflakes in hell before you see me marching with the unwashed hippies, but I share your disgust at the idea of internet censorship. The idea that government should (or could, for that matter) filter information in this country is repulsive.

    It was only a matter of time, though. There are too many powerful interests that are threatened by the ‘net.

  8. LuLi Says:

    You’re right, nothing can be too free for too long in this world. It makes me sad to think I might tell people when I’m old that the internet was cool once, it wasn’t just educational and boring.

  9. rayedish Says:

    The govt’s plan is terrible. Besides being ineffective and cumbersome there are better models in European countries, why doesn’t the govt look at them rather than schlupping us with the draconian model that would put us on par with Iran and China. Its freaking ridiculous and everyone who would protest should write to Stephen Conroy (I think that’s his name, the minister who is trying to bring this in) and their local member and tell them to keep their hands off our internet!

  10. LuLi Says:

    Yeah, its Stephen Conroy and I will be writing him a scathing response.. What a mofo. I don’t want a filter at all, even if there are better ones available, I like that I can do whatever I want on here!

  11. This Devil's Workday Says:

    Regarding our different methods of changing things, here’s a quote from the book “Rules for Radicals” (which I’ll confess is merely on my list and I’ve yet to read it) by Saul Alinsky:

    “There’s another reason for working inside the system. Dostoevski said that taking a new step is what people fear most. Any revolutionary change must be preceded by a passive, affirmative, non-challenging attitude toward change among the mass of our people. They must feel so frustrated, so defeated, so lost, so futureless in the prevailing system that they are willing to let go of the past and change the future. This acceptance is the reformation essential to any revolution. To bring on this reformation requires that the organizer work inside the system, among not only the middle class but the 40 per cent of American families – more than seventy million people – whose income range from $5,000 to $10,000 a year [in 1971]. They cannot be dismissed by labeling them blue collar or hard hat. They will not continue to be relatively passive and slightly challenging. If we fail to communicate with them, if we don’t encourage them to form alliances with us, they will move to the right. Maybe they will anyway, but let’s not let it happen by default.”

  12. LuLi Says:

    Fair quote. I do agree people fear change and have to be pushed to their absolute limits to want to do anything, but I kinda think we have been lately after Workchoices and economics and the war.

    When the government won’t work with you, what can you do though? You have to bring voice to your opinion somehow and showing them that you have a lot of people behind your cause is a good way to let them know you need attention too.

  13. Den Relojo Says:

    Is internet really completely free in Australia???

  14. This Devil's Workday Says:

    Den – Not free of cost, but free of censorship. Isn’t yours?

  15. LuLi Says:

    Sorry Den I just meant free in that its not controlled yet.

    TDW – How did you go today?

  16. This Devil's Workday Says:

    Yeah good thanks, it was a bit of a relief. I answered everything (3 questions in 2 hours) and finished with 20 minutes to spare. So unless I screwed up something stupid like read a number wrong or punched in a wrong number or completely misread the question I should’ve done OK!

  17. LuLi Says:

    Ahhh nice one! I’m sure you did well. Now you can relax for a little bit before its back to study time again.

  18. Den Relojo Says:

    Oh! I just interpreted it literally! Ours is free of censorship too and I believe that is the central reason why pornography on the internet is so rampant here in the Philippines. In reference to censorship, I have a rather dissident view on it as I agree that censorship should be imposed on the internet. To a large extent, that could be a more plausible option rather than just allowing minors to ogle on those porn sites.

  19. LuLi Says:

    Thats fair, I just think that its something we could ask for and not have imposed on us.

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