1984? No, 2010! Welcome to "The Nanny State" - From Atheist Climber Blog

I always stumble when I attempt to talk about things of a political nature. Politics are very complicated, and I think it's difficult to see all sides of a situation, even for those who are experts in political issues. Because of this I try not to touch on real-world politics too much, as I fear being proven wrong, and I sometimes worry I'm misunderstanding situations because I've not seen the whole picture. Even when I do understand the whole story, I can feel that I have nothing new to offer anyhow. But this year, 2009, I am beginning to see a government implemented trend toward a possible Orwellian future for Australia, and it really has me worried.

We are a highly regulated society in Australia. We have mandatory water restrictions, random drug testing for drivers, speed cameras, red-light cameras, surveillance cameras for "safety". Building regulations on disability access are out of control due to the government pandering to minority lobbyists and special interest groups. Post 9/11, Australian federal police are allowed to detain "people of interest" for up to 14 days without charge. But all these issues and measures I can understand to a degree, the government is just "looking after its people" and "ensuring a safe environment for all Australians". That is one of the main jobs of a government.

It's when these regulations effect our rights as citizens to freedom of information and opinion that we have to put our foot down and say "NO".

Australian government is about to take the bold step of joining China, Burma and North Korea by introducing mandatory internet filtering to homes and workplaces across the country. The filter is intended to protect Australian children from "inappropriate material" and "harmful subject matter". On the surface this all sounds very innocuous, but it comes down to the definitions of "inappropriate" and "harmful", and to who will make these definitions. More on exactly what this effects can be found on the NoCleanFeed website.

The problem with these definitions is that they are completely subjective and can be changed all to readily. We all agree, for instance, that child pornography is wrong, and that images depicting extreme violence are not suitable for children. But when does it cross the line, for "inappropriate" to cover things like political and religious dissent, or the right to protest government decisions? Who makes and updates these definitions? Who's to say that the Christian Lobby Groups, who are behind this whole push for a filter, won't pressure the government into blacklisting "Atheist Climber" for my stance on religion? Or politics? The legislation is so vague that it is open for interpretation, and the special interest groups who are behind the push have far too much sway for my liking.

What happens when my political views are contrary to the wants of government? This is scary stuff!

Not only this, but once implemented, this blog actually runs the risk of being blocked in my own country for writing the words "child pornography", because these filters lack the ability to contextualise information presented on a website.

Filtering of information for the safety of our children is mandatory for all parents, but it should be down to the individual parents to police. Any parent who doesn't do so already should be ashamed. We are not unthinking drones who lack the ability to make choices for ourselves, but under these types of blanket legislations we are denied this right.

We need to keep our rights as citizens. We need to be able to make our own decisions. The government has no place in telling us what information to which we should have access.

Additional Reading:


Take action!

The Gift Of Censorship

The Great Australian Internet Blackout

View the post at Atheist Climber and leave comments

Views: 44

Comment by Galen on December 27, 2009 at 7:39pm
You are correct and it can be seen already in American private business. Just look at any censorware program and see what it blocks from children. Does it stop at pornography of violent imagery? Does it even stop at "naughty words" (that kids say every day on the playground, but whatever)? Nope. Political activism sites are routinely blocked. Gay rights websites are labeled "obscene" and blocked. And yes, Atheist websites most certainly ARE blocked! Private enterprise may be able to get away with this, but should a government be allowed to? Most certainly NOT!
Comment by Silenus on December 27, 2009 at 9:14pm
How far are they from, implementing this as a law?
Comment by Aric on December 27, 2009 at 9:35pm
Yeah, and it will take most teenagers all of five minutes to get past the filter.
Comment by jalub carrey on December 28, 2009 at 1:49am
In Korea, the government wants to implement a policy whereby you must register your personal information with the government, to get an ID, the ID being used to post to blogs. This year we have had a few celebrities commit suicide because of things said on their websites. These thin skinned celebrities, who suffered from personal issues which made them particularly sensitive, died, shocking the nation. The government, ever guardians of the people, wants to protect the people from themselves.
Comment by Galen on December 28, 2009 at 7:45am
@Phillip - there are already ways around this filter. Before it's even implemented, people have found ways to bypass it entirely. Even on the low-tech end, Aussies could always register a dial-up account in the U.S. and then make a long distance modem call. That'd be expensive and slow, but it would be a VERY simple and effective way of entirely removing Clean Feed from the equation. The fact that it can be circumvented for $15/mo plus long distance fees by anyone with a telephone should be a clue to someone that it's not going to work!

Gonna have to disagree with you on the censorship of minors. People don't think ahead when they implement these things. Children who are accustomed to being censored grow into adults who don't care about censorship. Parents are the only suitable "censor" there is and if a parent can't be bothered to do their job, it's nobody else's responsibility to do it for them.


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