Tagged With censorship

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“Free speech” is often raised as a defence in the court of public opinion, particularly when people are called out by their ideological opponents. “You’re attacking my right to free speech!” However, either through forgetfulness or ignorance, many Australians don’t appear to realise free speech is not a legal right they hold.

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The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has approved the use of the 451 HTTP status code for websites that are inaccessible for legal reasons such as government censored content or blocked copyrighted material. There are limitations as to whether internet users in different geographical regions will see this error code but the approval of 451 is an acknowledgement of the prevailing issues of internet censorship and the online piracy.

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Just two days before the election, the Coalition has announced it will introduce an internet filter that would be switched on for all broadband services and mobile devices by default should it win. Quite aside from the political timing , the plan seems light on technical detail to the point of confusion. UPDATE: The Coalition is now saying the policy it issued was an "incorrect document", though that leaves several questions unanswered.

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Australia hasn't yet seen a blogger die in custody (that was Bahrain) or had a major internet service provider deliberately redirect users onto pages featuring malware (that was Belarus). However, internet censorship rules still see Australia featuring on the 'Enemies Of The Internet' list of countries produced by Reporters Without Borders.

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One of the more tedious arguments used by people who favour compulsory Internet filtering and other forms of censorship is "People who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear from these systems". In his LCA keynote today, security researcher Jacob Appelbaum highlighted a simple point that's worth making when people say that: if you have nothing to hide, why are you wearing clothes and why are there curtains on your house?

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Google has been issuing transparency reports detailing government requests to have content removed for a while now. The latest instalment promises more detail, including when governments have asked for individual user data. For Australia, the number of removal requests has dropped, but there were 345 requests for individual user information between July and December 2010, and Google coughed up in around 280 cases.

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Next week, Channel Nine will begin showing Come Fly With Me, the latest show from Little Britain creators David Walliams and Matt Lucas, in an 8pm Monday timeslot. Walliams and Lucas' risque approach doesn't fit well with 8pm viewing regulations, so Nine has decided to trim the episodes for that slot while showing the uncut versions on Go.

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The Egyptian government cut internet connections across their country to silence protests, leaving nearly all of its citizens without online access. But they weren't entirely successful. When governments shut down broadband and mobile connections, here's what to do.