I don’t think it’s going out on a limb to say that most of us wouldn’t want to check out websites containing images of graphic and disturbing sex abuse or detailed instructions for committing crimes. Most of us would find them abhorrent. But should those sorts of sites be censored from the internet altogether? And should your government be deciding what you should and shouldn’t see online?
It’s a topic being fiercely debated in Australia, where the Federal Government says it will pass laws for compulsory internet filtering – laws that will force internet service providers to block banned material.
Many have commented on The Australian’s website — some calling it an “absolute atrocity on free speech” and others making comparisons to China … which, incidentally, has just moved to ban individual web domain names.
Voices against the laws are galvanising on Twitter, with #nocleanfeed currently the third biggest trending topic as I write this – and that’s despite the fact that it’s overnight in Australia.
But of course there are many supporting the new laws.
Although the Opposition Greens are “deeply concerned” — this Greens candidate asks: “What’s so special about the internet? All but the most unthinking libertarians accept censorship laws that limit sexual content in film, television, radio, books and magazines”. And he’s not alone. The laws also have the support of the Australian Christian Lobby .
What do you think? Do you trust the government to determine the boundaries of what you see online? Do you think some things are just too awful and too dangerous to be allowed online? What do you think your government’s role – if any – should be in this?