Australia Plans to Sanitize Internet

January 5, 2008

Protecting Us From OurselvesStephen Conroy, telecommunications minister of Australia’s new Labor government, wants Internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure that children, schools and homes don’t receive “inappropriate” content. Under a new plan, the government will compile a list of unsuitable websites such as those containing pornography, violence and other X-rated content, and ISPs are expected to filter the content so that questionable content isn’t available, especially to children. What we’d like to know is, where are responsible parents? Do we really need a “ nanny state” to protect us from ourselves?

Civil libertarians complain that the plan is unnecessary, has no place in a democracy and and will erode Internet freedom.

Those who want full access to the Internet will have to contact their ISP to opt out of the program. An additional concern is that government filters will further slow down Internet access; Australian connection speeds are notoriously slow, especially when compared to other countries.

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