Australia to filter Internet content
Australia will join the ranks of China and Syria when they implement a nationwide blacklist that will filter content inappropriate for children and illegal material. The filter is made up of two lists, one of which you can opt out of, and another you cannot.
Pundits say consumers have been lulled into believing the opt-out proviso would remove content filtering altogether.
The government will iron-out policy and implementation of the Internet content filtering software following an upcoming trial of the technology, according to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.
Department spokesman Tim Marshall said the filters will be mandatory for all Australians.
"Labor's plan for cyber-safety will require ISPs to offer a clean feed Internet service to all homes, schools and public Internet points accessible by children," Marshall said.
While many people will hail this as a victory for a family values and protection of intellectual property, most won't realize that this will affect much more of the country than they assume.
For example, barriers to physical and monetary trade are regularly the forefront of international debate concerning free trade. It’s generally considered to be important to the continuing growth of international markets; though, in this age of Internet and intangible digital distribution, information is playing a larger and more important role in how the world functions. Because of this, censorship is transitioning from a political suppressant/safety feature to an economic poison pill.
Information has become vital to businesses, allowing industries and entrepreneurs to compete on a global playing field. Expecting Australian industries and citizens to compete on a world scale with such a handicap places the their economy in a precarious position. Already Australian Internet is constrained by expense and bandwidth caps; additional barriers to information trade will only slow their technological and economic growth in comparison with the rest of the world.
In China, where censorship is being used to "promote a harmonious society," blacklists like The Golden Shield are upsetting Chinese culture, business, and finance. Citizens are not able to research different points of view; businesses, which currently have an advantage due to a large workforce, are losing to India and other Asian countries due to these regulations and restrictions; the financial sector cannot compete when their information about the world is filtered and unobjective.
A free country like Australia must consider their decisions when it comes to the Internet. The effects could very well be unimaginable.