Labour policies and Internet Censorship

Glen Turner writes about how Internet censorship could hurt science [1].

The ABC has an article about what is planned [2] which includes “Senator Conroy says it will be mandatory for all internet service providers to provide clean feeds, or ISP filtering, to houses and schools“. If Senator Conroy sticks to that plan then section two of Glen’s post (concerning high-speed access to research data) will not be a problem. This is no criticism of Glen for mentioning the issue as some idiot might try to change the plan to filter corporate and university access.

Senator Conroy also earns a Godwin point for “If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree“. There is a good discussion paper by Electronic Frontiers Australia about Labour’s plans in this regard before they won the election [3]. One issue they raise is the small number of sites identified as having child-porn. Imposing filters on an entire country to block the 3,236 web pages identified as prohibited by the Australian Communications and Media Authority is not a sensible solution.

Another issue that EFA raises is the variety of reasons for content getting an R18+ rating (if that is to be a filtering criteria). One notable issue is “Adult themes” which includes “issues such as suicide, crime, corruption, marital problems, emotional trauma, drug and alcohol dependency, death and serious illness, racism, religious issues“. I doubt that there is much agreement between parents as to the relative significance of those “Adult themes” and which ones their children should be protected from. I also expect that a significant number of parents would like to have information about safe sex (including safe gay sex) and safe drug use available in case their children are interested in such things. I hope that the number of parents who disapprove of homosexuality and drug use so strongly that they are willing to risk their children’s lives is quite small (although the response to the cervical cancer vaccine indicates that it’s sadly larger than expected). Glen has some good points about this in the first section of his post.

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