Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair - George Burns
THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC of Australia cannot understand why Google is refusing to provide it with the same censorship service that gives to its fellow autocratic nation China.
Censorship mad Communications Minister Stephen Conroy wants Google to make the world a safer place by banning films it considers pornography or that refer to euthanasia, safer drug use and graffiti.
Dear Leader Conroy has asked Google to install a search filter like it did for the Chinese and Thai governments. However Google has said that Conroy would have to change the law before it would kick its customers like that.
Google warns this would lead to the removal of many politically controversial, but not illegal and mostly harmless Youtube clips.
The government is about to introduce legislation within weeks to force ISPs to block a blacklist of websites that it has refused classification (RC), and the government says it is in talks with Google over blocking the same type of material from Youtube.
Youtube's rules already forbid certain videos that would be classified as RC, such as sex, violence, bestiality and child pornography. However Conroy wants the rules to fit into the same quaint knee-jerk morals that have made Australia such a shining economic miracle safe for people of all sexes and races.
Conway is trying to make it look like it is all about obeying Australian law, although that particular law has not been through the parliament yet. He wants Google to make it a special case like China or Thailand, forgetting that those are not the sorts of places that Australians would like to live.
Google has recently threatened to pull out of China, partly due to continuing requests for it to censor a lot of material. We guess that would suit Conway just fine because it would mean fewer people looking at videos that call him a prat.
Since Google is based outside Australia it would mean that Conway would have to order the site blocked by local ISPs if he was going to enforce anything.
A Google spokesperson was quoted as saying she found it hard to believe that the Australian government can in any way force an American company to follow Australian law in America.
Google might have bowed to China and Indonesia who would have just blocked its service if it did not comply. However Australia would have a bit of a difficulty getting away with that politically. Most Aussies see Youtube as harmless. Conway has managed to convince some with his Internet filtering plans because he claims he is defending people from those bugbears the horrid paedophiles, since the fear of those monsters can justify everything. However censorship of Youtube would be seen for what it is - a backward step trying to drag Australia back to a time when autocratic controls were seen as essential for the preservation of society.
Stripped of his paedophile excuse, Conway is just seen as a knee-jerk censor who is opposed to anyone having access to anything he doesn't approve of or talking about subjects that are not official government policy.
Google has also pulled the rug out from underneath Conway this week by releasing a filter for parents to install so that their kids do not end up watching stuff that is inappropriate for them. It can clearly say he is usurping people's parental rights to decide what is best for their children.
When Monty Python's Life of Brian came out there were calls to have it banned. When it was shown in New Zealand it was given an R16 certificate by a censor who was sympathetic to religious feelings about the film. At age 14, I could not see it. I wanted to see it because I liked Monty Python. My dad decided that I should be able to make up my own mind about religious content and he took me to see it, most probably illegally. Brilliant film, but if it had been left entirely up to a government body I would not have been able to see it. My parents, after discussing the matter together, decided I should be able to see it. Conway's daft plan, by ignoring Google's parent filters, would effectively take them out of the equation. µ
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