Other Reasons for not Censoring the Net

Currently there is a debate about censoring the Internet in Australia. Although debate might not be the correct word for a dispute where one party provides no facts and refuses to talk to any experts (Senator Conroy persistently refuses all requests to talk to anyone who knows anything about the technology or to have his office address any such questions). The failures of the technology are obvious to anyone who has worked with computers, here is an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about it [1] (one of many similar articles in the MSM). I don’t plan to mention the technological failures again because I believe that the only people who read my blog and don’t understand the technology are a small number of my relatives – I gave up on teaching my parents about IP protocols a long time ago.

One of the fundamental problems with the current censorship idea is that they don’t seem to have decided what they want to filter and who they want to filter it from. The actions taken to stop pedophiles from exchanging files are quite different from what would be taken to stop children accidentally accessing porn on the net. I get the impression that they just want censorship and will say whatever they think will impress people.

I have previously written about the safety issues related to mobile phones [2]. In that document I raised the issue of teenagers making their own porn (including videos of sexual assault). About four months after writing it a DVD movie was produced showing a gang of teenagers sexually assaulting a girl (they sold copies at their school). It seems that the incidence of teenagers making porn using mobile phones is only going to increase, while no-one has any plans to address the problem.

The blog has some interesting information on this issue.

Two final reasons for opposing net censorship have been provided by the Sydney Anglicans [3]. They are:

  1. Given anti-vilification laws, could religious content be deemed “illegal” and be filtered out? Could be blocked as “illegal” if it carries material deemed at some point now or in the future as vilifying other religions? If it’s illegal in Vic say, and there isn’t state-based filtering (there wont be), will the govt be inclined to ban it nation wide?
  2. Given anti-discrimination laws, if runs an article with the orthodox line on homosexuality, will that be deemed illegal, and the site blocked? You can imagine it wouldn’t be too hard for someone to lobby Labor via the Greens, for instance.

So the Sydney Anglicans seem afraid that their religious rights to discriminate against others (seriously – religious organisations do have such rights) will be under threat if filtering is imposed.

I was a bit surprised when I saw this article, the Anglican church in Melbourne seems reasonably liberal and I had expected the Anglican church in the rest of Australia to be similar. But according to this article Peter Jensen (Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop) regards himself as one of the “true keepers of the authority of the Bible” [4]. It seems that the Anglican church is splitting over the issues related to the treatment of homosexuals and women (Peter believes that women should not be appointed to leadership positions in the church to avoid “disenfranchising” men who can’t accept them [5]).

It will be interesting to see the fundamentalist Christians who want to protect their current legal rights to vilify other religions and discriminate against people on the basis of gender and sexual preference fighting the other fundamentalist Christians who want to prevent anyone from seeing porn. But not as interesting as it will be if the Anglican church finally splits and then has a fight over who owns the cathedrals. ;)

A comment on my previous post about the national cost of slow net access suggests that Germany (where my blog is now hosted) has better protections for individual freedom than most countries [6]. If you want unrestricted net access then it is worth considering the options for running a VPN to another country (I have previously written a brief description of how to set up a basic OpenVPN link [7]).

1 comment to Other Reasons for not Censoring the Net

  • Tim

    Russell, what’s the most effective way to influence the Federal Government to stop the net censorship plan? I’m an Australian living in Melbourne.