by Mike Masnick
Mon, Oct 13th 2008 3:12pm
We've covered the long history of Australian politicians looking to set up their own censored internet "to protect the children" (of course). The plans have changed over time, but the end goal has always been the same: to force ISPs to block a list of sites provided by the government. In the latest incarnation, the plan supposedly included an "opt-out" option, where a web surfer could specifically ask to opt-out of the filters (effectively asking someone to sign up for a "porn-surfing license"). That, on its own, might scare some people off, but now it turns out that the opt-out isn't really an opt-out. Instead, it's just opting you in to a somewhat less restrictive blacklist. Once again, this idea of mandatory filtering out of "bad" sites on the internet sets a dangerous precedent. Whoever has control over that list has tremendous power, and it will be abused. On almost every "filter" list we've seen sites that certainly don't belong there, and this will be no different. If a site is doing something illegal, then charge whoever is responsible for the site. Trying to deal with it through filters and blocklists is both bound to fail and dangerous to free speech.
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