Australian Internet Censorship Scheme Criticised By Yahoo, Google

Internet czars Yahoo and Google have criticised Australia's plans to enmesh the nation into a sophisticated internet censorship structure, which, according to some, will restrict freedom of internet by prohibiting access to legal information.

However, the Australian government has explained that the internet filter will effectively block access to offensive websites related to child pornography, sexual violence and websites explaining drug and weapon use.

The new internet filtering technology, which has been proposed by Australia's Department of Communications, if applied, will make Australia one of the strictest regulators of internet in the world.

Statements made by Yahoo and Google are among the 174 complaints submitted by the public regarding the internet filtering proposal, which will soon go into review.

Commenting on the controversial internet filter, Lucinda Barlow of Google Australia said in a statement that “moving to a mandatory ISP-level filtering regime with a scope that goes well beyond such material is heavy-handed and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information.”

Yahoo representatives on the other hand, pointed that the technological advanced internet filter has the potential to go beyond blocking child pornography to blocking socially controversial content like gay and lesbian issues.Users Up In Arms Over Google Exit Of China

Internet czars Yahoo and Google have criticised Australia's plans to enmesh the nation into a sophisticated internet censorship structure, which, according to some, will restrict freedom of internet by prohibiting access to legal information.

However, the Australian government has explained that the internet filter will effectively block access to offensive websites related to child pornography, sexual violence and websites explaining drug and weapon use.

The new internet filtering technology, which has been proposed by Australia's Department of Communications, if applied, will make Australia one of the strictest regulators of internet in the world.

Statements made by Yahoo and Google are among the 174 complaints submitted by the public regarding the internet filtering proposal, which will soon go into review.

Commenting on the controversial internet filter, Lucinda Barlow of Google Australia said in a statement that “moving to a mandatory ISP-level filtering regime with a scope that goes well beyond such material is heavy-handed and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information.”

Yahoo representatives on the other hand, pointed that the technological advanced internet filter has the potential to go beyond blocking child pornography to blocking socially controversial content like gay and lesbian issues.

Our Comments

The proposal has been criticised by the Reporters without Borders, which has enlisted the nation in its 'enemies of the internet' list which is not surprising since it would put Australia on par with some of the most revile regimes on the planet. It would be interesting though to see whether others will copy the Australian example.

Related Links

Australia web filter plans slammed

(Google News)

Australia web filter criticised

(Al Jazeera)

Tech giants criticize Australia plan for Internet filtering

(Washington Post)

Google, Yahoo object to proposed Internet censorship in Australia

(LA Times Blog)