Friday, March 20, 2009

Internet censorship FAIL

Hello all,

I found out last night that the blocked site list for Australia's Internet censorship system was leaked and put on display on Wikileaks. Australia's ABC has covered the story and the ACMA has published this media release dusting their hands clean of it.

The list - and I believe it to be real - contains many sites that are in fact perfectly legal - even a site to a Queensland dentist. It appears to be compiled by people who have no idea what they're going on about and makes a mockery of the censorship list.

Not that it isn't already a joke - parents are having more and more responsibility taken away from them as the years go by. I was fortunate enough to have a computer in my room growing up - my father didn't do much raising unless it had something to do with football - and with this trend on the rise parents raise kids that raise themselves. This just makes this even more of a reality.

We are closer to a 1984/V for Vendetta style world than we care to think. I can see it now - TV and radio sanitised with bulletins carefully crafted behind the scenes and sent to the stations. The Internet where you can't access a site that even sneezes a word out of turn. Curfews to curtail any sort of revolution movement. That's where we're going.

Some, however, have started now to fight against it. Wikileaks, for instance, allows a safe harbour for those who have something to say, or something to bring to light, without fear of repercussions that generally come with whistle-blowing. The Onion Router (Tor for short) allows a safe network for those to talk about controversial topics. Anonymous forums such as 4chan allow an equally safe haven for open, unabridged discussion on the topics of the day without worrying about offending someone. When these channels are used properly, freedom is an achievable goal.

However, with great power comes great responsibility. With the power to say what we want, we must take care about what we say, and to whom - but that power must remain ours to wield, we must not delegate that responsibility to someone else. We have the ability to think for ourselves, let us not let it go to waste.

Too much power is never a good thing, but if used responsibly by all, the world can be a beautiful place.

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