Whilst the intent is honourable and good and designed to protect kids (and others) from the nasties of the net, at best, its going to block a whole bunch of stuff that shouldn’t get blocked (imagine, if you will, someone trying to find information about breast cancer and being unable to do so) and at worst, will drive it all underground as has happened in the past.
The good senator (Stephen Conroy) and his cohort do not seem to be aware that porn sites can *mostly* be blocked by existing “nanny” type software. But perhaps there’s a more sinister intent. Blockage of warez, as well, perhaps? Blockage of torrents? Blockage of person to person applications? We already know that ISPs have been ordered to prevent certain types of file being available on their usenet servers… and most are complying, under threat of their licences being revoked. But, of course, we can access usenet from other sources, so its not really doing much to prevent those who want to access *those* kinds of files. A wider filter will stop that.
I can understand the movie and recording industry wanting to stop the proliferation of illegal copies of music and videos, but consider the fact that there are legal torrents and P2P versions of software about… prime examples being OpenOffice (huge file, distributed under GPL via torrents as well as the Sun site) and many of the Linux distributions. Are we supposed to think that its okay for those to get blocked as well?
One cannot help thinking of the extremes of censorship in China… and wonder if thats how far our government will go. It certainly seems as if that is probable as well as possible. The EFA has noted that Australians won’t even be able to opt out of such measures.
For more detail on the censorship measures and what it really means to the average Australian, do some reading at the EFA website about Labor’s Mandatory ISP Internet Blocking Plan. Some of the information is old, but remains relevant.