[LINK] Internet filtering plan may extend to peer-to-peer traffic, says Stephen Conroy
ivan at itrundle.com
Tue Dec 23 09:17:19 EST 2008
On 23/12/2008, at 12:43 AM, Kim Holburn wrote:
>> "Freedom of speech is fundamentally important in a democratic
>> society and there was never any suggestion that the Australian
>> Government would seek to block political content," Senator Conroy
>> "In this context, claims that the Government's policy is analogous
>> to the approach taken by countries such as Iran, China and Saudi
>> Arabia are not justified."
'In this context' is an easy way to highlight subtle differences, not
sameness. In the grand scheme of things, it's analogous.
And by the way, 'Freedom of speech' is not fundamentally important in
a democratic society (or even the undemocratic ones): and we do not
have that absolute right in Australia. Perhaps Conroy is misquoting
Alexander Meiklejohn, who once said that 'democracy will not be true
to its essential ideal if those in power are able to manipulate the
electorate by withholding information and stifling criticism'.
Whilst Conroy might believe that the primary justification of the
Iranian, Chinese and Saudi governments (what about Cuba, MYanmar, the
Maldives, Tunisia, Vietnam, Uzbekistan, Syria, and North Korea?) is to
stifle political content, I doubt that anyone would seriously suggest
that this is all that they wished to censor, and indeed was only a
small part of what they wish to censor.
Conroy claims that an internet filter would be in-step with existing
methods to censor books, films and video games - it clearly isn't,
since there is no performance penalty on the delivery of any of the
other media, and nor is the process of restrictions shrouded in
secrecy. And we don't censor ALL incoming material - though I'm sure
the government would like to do this if possible.
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