It looks like the Australian government is creating a firewall similar to the one that China has been using.
Australia says it means to restrict minors from accessing pornography and violence on the Internet, although it would give the government carte blanche over what typical Australian Web surfers are able to access on a day to day basis.
In late 2007 Stephen Conroy, Australia’s Telecommunications Minister, had said that Internet users will be able to opt out of being filtered. That said, it appears that the content filters will be mandatory for all Australian Internet users, and “opt out” could mean being added to what has been called a blacklist:
Australians will be unable to opt-out of the government’s pending Internet content filtering scheme, and will instead be placed on a watered-down blacklist, experts say.
Under the government’s $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material.
What does that mean for Name.com? The Great Firewall of China had effected some of our customers who were using URL forwarding. The issue caused some of our Chinese customers problems when trying to resolve their URL forwards in that country. We have a fair number of Australian customers as well. I’m afraid that they may experience the same type of inconvenience.
Not an incredibly big deal, but it makes me wonder if the effect of this type of Internet negativity on minors is prolific enough to warrant a governmental mandate. Is the government saying that parents and guardians of Australian minors need this type of help to control what their children look at on the Internet? Where is the line drawn between looking after the greater good of the people you represent, and blind censorship?
T.R.A.F.F.I.C. is being held in Australia next month, interestingly enough. I am very curious to know what, if anything, will be said about this.