Friday, November 21, 2008

World Philosophy Day

Apparently we missed the World Philosophy Day yesterday on the 20th of November. This is not too surprising considering Australia held no events to support the initiative.

Kellie Tranter laments our Government's inaction on the issue and postulates some questions Australia should be thinking about in On Line Opinion.

list of other country's events.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Internet Censorship in Australia

Unless you have been living under a rock you may have heard of this: Mandatory Internet Filtering. In an effort to (ostensibly at least) "protect the children", there is a plan to install filters in all Australian ISPs. Under the plan there will be two levels of filtering. One level will be optional, and will be 'child friendly'. The other , according to Minister for Broadband et al, Senator Stephen Conroy, will be mandatory, and will block all "illegal content". Sites that contain the banned content will go on a 'blacklist' that cannot be publicised and is exempt from Freedom of Information requests. An ISP employee chose to speak out against this and had the Senator attempt to silence him for his trouble.

What exactly the "illegal content" is remains to be seen, but speculation ranges from the obvious candidate of child pornography, to a broad range of Refused Classification and X18+ material and possibly some R or MA content. This largely seems to depend on what independent Senator you are attempting to buy off. 

Cynicism aside, this is an issue that should be of interest to Australians who do not want the government to decide what they can and can't view on the web. Of serious concern is how tempting it would be for a government to use this tool to it's own purposes. I'm not sure that it's quite a 'Ring of Gyges', but it is potentially pretty close. 

Given that it is too late in the evening for me to go on further I'll leave you to read up on this in your own time. Overclockers Australia is keeping a wiki on media related to this issue (note the massive explosion of interest when Senator Conroy let slip in Senate Estimates in mid October that it wasn't optional). 

Warning, shameless self-promotion approaching: I've also managed to bang out a few odds and end of my own analysis as well at Philosophy Hurts Your Head. Sites such as NoCleanFeed are also worth a look.