The Inquirer-Home

Australia to extend web censorship

Police will decide what's bad
Wed Sep 26 2007, 22:23

AUSTRALIA'S PARLIAMENT is considering legislation that would let police add to the blacklist of websites kept by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The blacklist is currently limited to websites showing pornography and " offensive material."

The bill titled the "Communications Legislation Amendment (Crime or Terrorism Related Internet Content) Bill 2007" would give Australian Federal Police a free hand to block any website its Commissioner "has reason to crime- or terrorism-related content."

Material censored under the bill could include any content that "encourages, incites or induces," "facilitate(s)" or "has, or is likely to have, the effect of facilitating" a crime.

The government says the bill is intended to block phishing and terrorism websites along with other online criminal activity.

Privacy advocates take a dim view of this proposal, naturally. Roger Clarke, chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, said "This government's extremism has reached new heights today." He asked "How can a politician claim the right to hold office if they set out to undermine the critical democratic right of freedom of speech, and blatantly decline to evaluate the impact of measures put before the Parliament?"

Australia isn't the only country where politicians are failing to uphold civil liberties and citizens' rights. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of that going around, lately. µ



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