Aussies Don’t Mind Censorship, Hate Secrecy

Aussies Don’t Mind Censorship, Hate Secrecy

It’s clear that in the Lifehacker community (and the tech community more generally) than most people believe mandatory Internet filtering is a pretty stupid idea. But what does the broader population think? A phone poll commissioned by the ABC’s Hungry Beast suggests that while a huge percentage are in favour of trying to filter out illegal content, most believe that the process should be much more transparent than the system currently being proposed.

Picture by lwr

TV Tonight reports that a poll commissioned by the show (which returns to the ABC on Wednesday evening) found that 80% of Australians were broadly in favour of the notion of censoring illegal content. However, an even higher percentage of the 1,000 respondents — 91%, to be precise — believed that the list of sites should be made public.

The secretive nature of the proposed blacklist has been one of the most criticised elements of the proposal, since it creates a mechanism by which the government could potentially block any site without having to provide an explanation why. Senator Stephen Conroy (who’ll be appearing on the show) has repeatedly argued that the move is designed to bring the same regulation to the Internet as other media, but has yet to provide an explanation of why this requires an approach that’s entirely different to that used for books or movies.

Hungry Beast finds 80% favour internet filter [TV Tonight]


  • In other words, while the non-tech population support a filter they have inadvertantly uncovered the embarassing (for Conroy) truth of the matter.
    Should the list be made public then bypassing the filter (and viewing any Internet nasties the Gov is trying to block) becomes trivial.

    With everything that’s gained front-page media attention recently I’m surprised we’re not seeing any 12 year old kids demonstrating on TV how to bypass the filter (hmmmm, sounds familiar). At least that way it can be broken BEFORE it’s implemented and if we’re lucky the public outcry will save taxpayers from footing the bill.

  • I must admit that I like the CONCEPT of a filter but I don’t believe that it’s practical.

    I dislike having to compare what is planned to China and its policy but we will no doubt have a similar policy in place inside 10 years of the filter being implemented and no tax payer will have a say in how our “democratic” government will operate it. Don’t forget that after about 12 years of it being in place, a Liberal government will try and privatise it after a Labor government has had a budget blow out of 2-3 times the original cost (conservative estimate).

    If this current idea is put in place, perhaps people will stop calling their Marriage “the Ball and Chain”?

  • But the proposed filter does not only filter illegal content, it will filter RC content, which is _totally_ different to illegal.

    I am opposed to any filtering, but filtering of legal content which is refused classification is _insane_.

  • I’ve not followed the detail of this story but it does strike me that if this firewall is not implemented then it should at least me made available at an ISP level.
    If the government could define the list and set standards for how it should be implemented by ISPs, then they could allow ISPs to become certified.
    Those who want iffy content blocked simply sign up for a plan that filters. Anyone who doesn’t want this doesn’t.
    Sorry if this is a bit off-topic but I would approve of the creation of the firewall but not of its implementation. The latter should be decided on an individual basis.

  • Unfortunately the list’s secrecy is necessary. With how easy the filter will be to bypass, publishing a list would be like giving people a menu of obscene and immoral content to choose from. Although those who seek out such content already likely know where to look, so the net effect of publishing it may be close to zero.

  • I think the many of the public do not know what RC (refused content) is. It comprises of much more than just unlawful, abusive content. When it comes to video/film censorship Australia is already the most restrictive western nation. These RC regulations were introduced in the 1990s by the government to appease some conservative, political powerbrokers.

    Under the RC Australia already requires the censorship or modification of video/photography that is perfectly legal in other countries including the USA, Europe, Japan, New Zealand.

    I guess we as Australian adults are not mature enough to deal with the grown-up content that many of our international colleagues can view and scrutinise. Nor it seems do we have the parental capability or responsibility of keeping the minor members of our society away from this content.

    • Ysee the problem with the censorship is that it will be unsuccessful whether the list is secret or not — all you need to do is Google ‘TOR’.

      It’s a bullshit filter that’s only there to please a few Conservative fundie control freaks.

      It’s not there for function, if Labor actually cared about child safety they’d put a fraction of the millions going to internet censorship into simply educating parents about censorship software, which unlike the government’s plan, actually does shit, and doesn’t waste millions of tax dollars on a filter that failed before it even debuted.

  • I am utterly opposed to all forms of censorship. If I was an academic, I would dedicate my time to writing about why giving any form of power to government for interent censorship is a bad idea.
    I can hear them salivating at the prospect already. Do your research people! Google+Censorship = educated mind!

    I have spent a lot of time reading up on this topic and please believe me, you will miss the free internet. All government crave control – it justifies their existence. I suggest you research why it is essential to have a free internet and why we should all fight hard to keep it, warts and all.

    PS: what do you call a parent that blindly trusts a group to do their parenting for them? Like giving away their responsibility for self censorship to a government body? I would suggesst – lazy and stupid!

  • I don’t understand why people hate the idea of filtering child porn & other detestable material – are people paranoid about what the govt might do?

    Help me understand these arguments!

    • What people dislike is the idea that the govt can ban any content without explanation, which is what the current proposals allow, in no uncertain terms.

      • So I guess people are worried about abuse of power

        OK I can understand that but the arguments & comments I’m reading tend to reject all forms of censorship as if censoring child porn was a bad thing!

        Why not change the argument/debate to fighting illegitimate control of the net rather than censorship?

        Lose the word ‘censor’ & change the debate

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