Despite repeated rejection of blacklisting and internet censorship by the citizens of Australia, the Federal Government is now set to implement the policy via voluntary private industry compliance.
The AFP is now apparently assisting compile the blacklist, which will not be subject to public scrutiny, although previous blacklists were leaked and demonstrated some pretty arbitrary application of restriction.
As Gizmodo report this week, Optus and Telstra have agreed to “voluntarily” comply with the Government’s censorship policy as from July ’11. These two corporations will volunteer to comply, but their customers will find their internet access filtered according to this shady blacklist and backroom private deals, without consent.
Techdirt reports today that Telstra is having second thoughts about the policy, not because it treats thinking adults like infants or idiots, and not because it is being done in spite of lack of consent, but because “hacktivists” might decide to have a go at them over it. That in itself is an interesting distraction.
After reports came out that Autralian telco giant Telstra was going to start censoring the internet by blocking a bunch of sites the government says are evil, the company has now indicated that it’s wavering on its support of the plan, in large part due to fear of hacker reprisal attacks. In the stilted English of The Australian:
It is understood Telstra was last night still grappling with the decision as to whether to commit to the voluntary filter because of fears of reprisals from the internet vigilantes behind a spate of recent cyber attacks.
While their blame of hacktivists rather than their own poor decision making is disappointing, indirectly, it serves to support future moves to censor internet access by using a stereotyped appeal to fear of so called cyber-terrorists as much as paedophiles. It’s a planting of ideas that may be useful for mainstream media knee jerks in order to manipulate opinion. The kind of emotional appeal that, with sufficient repitition, will create what sociologists refer to as an overlearned stereotype. A cue for a knee jerk reaction without any rational analysis of the issue. When invoking the idea of paedophiles is insufficient to generate the kind of emotional response that’s useful for government and media pushing bad policy, we can start being jerked around by media outrage about terrorists.
It’s tempting to go off on a bit of an emotional tangent myself, and observe that this policy is in large part promoted by certain religious groups who have no business being involved in the government of a secular nation. Particularly not when churches and church groups are so often found to be covering up or even enabling child abuse. Take the log out of your own eye… yadda yadda…
On the basis of both ethical and technological considerations, this policy has been repeatedly rejected by the citizens of Australia. Having it implemented by private industry means it is not only being done against the will of those being governed but is also without any oversight or accountability.
Regardless of what religious groups Stephen Conroy wishes to serve, the policy is unacceptable and no amount of backroom dealing or buck passing is going to fix that.
No means no, Stephen.