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Aussie government shows its censorship teeth

Comment Shuts down dissenting website
Mon Dec 21 2009, 10:42

ANY DOUBTS that the Austrialian regime will abuse its powers to censor the Internet have been laid to rest after the government ordered the take-down of an anti-censorship campaign website.

Anti-censorship campaigners bought the domain name and were starting to use it to attack the Australian government's plan to remove everything from the web that would offend Christian voters.

Conroy's clowns contacted the auDA, which is supposed to be an independent body that polices the "au" domain name. The body usually gives spammers and cyber squatters seven days to deal with any arguments over the rights Stephen Conroy names, however for some reason it gave the Stephen Conroy anti-censorship campaign only three hours to provide evidence of its eligibility to the name.

When the campaigners asked for reasonable time to prepare and make representations on its eligibility the auDA refused to grant this. In the end the campaigners said that they provide a consultancy product with 'Stephen Conroy' in it's name. This was a pretty lame excuse but the campaigners felt it would buy them some time.

On its website the campaign complained that the auDA didn't want to know and had decided to pull its registration regardless of what it did or said.

The organisers could not get the appropriate advice and representation in the manifestly inadequate time before auDA pulled the domain, sending the site off-line. It has temporarily moved to while it seeks to assess and respond to auDA's actions.

The campaigners now have some fairly heavy legal advice including from the Electronic Frontier Foundation so it looks like the auDA is heading for a very embarrassing legal fight.

"We've received widespread support and messages of condemnation aimed at auDA for their actions, which seem to have been rightly interpreted as a manifestly political move," the group said.

The site sums up the situation with a version of the Hitler Bunker video, which unfortunately invokes Godwin's Law but what the hell.

While most of the rest of the world does not think it really matters if Australia censors its citizens, what is going on down-under is being closely watched by other western governments.

Since the days of the Roman Republic it has been instinctive for governments to censor to control public access to information and opinions in order to control behaviour. So if the Rudd administration gets its system into place and manages to survive the election then chances are that other countries will follow.

Conway has used the idea of protecting children from paedophiles as the reason to clamp down on the flow of Internet information. However lists of what will be banned under the glorious Aussie regime include lots of other things that governments don't want talked about.

If the anti-censorship campaigners are right, and Conway is using bodies like the auDA to silence those who are critical of his policies, then Australians and the whole of the western world should be very afraid of where Internet censorship will lead us. µ



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