The Internet, Twitter especially, exploded with indignation today when the Australian government announced it will proceed with controversial plans to censor the Internet.
The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said today he would introduce legislation just before next year’s elections to force ISPs to block a blacklist of “refused classification” (RC) websites for all Australian internet users.
While the Australian government may be proposing an Internet filter with the best intentions of protecting the youth of our nation against “immoral content”, most experts agree that this is easier said than done and could do more harm than good.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
An earlier version of the Government’s top-secret list of banned sites was leaked on to the web in March, revealing the scope of the filtering could extend significantly beyond child porn.
About half of the sites on the list were not related to child porn and included a slew of online poker sites, YouTube links, regular gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia entries, euthanasia sites, websites of fringe religions such as satanic sites, fetish sites, Christian sites, the website of a tour operator and even a Queensland dentist.
The torrent of objection on Twitter has been nothing less than astounding. The #nocleanfeed Twitter hash-tag quickly started trending globally and many people started calling for strong action against the government.
As I type this #nocleanfeed is the third biggest topic on Twitter internationally. Nonetheless, it will likely spike for a short time in the aftermath of the announcement then fade away as we collectively settle down (and the US population wakes up tomorrow and takes over the Twitterverse).
But for me it does beg the question: could the blogosphere topple a government?
I’m no anarchist or political agitator. I rarely talk politics online but…Think about it for a minute? There are a LOT of educated, influential people blogging and tweeting in Australia. And these people reach a LOT of other people. The Australian media also love a great online story and are very active online these days (including Twitter).
The Australian blogosphere is in a position to spread the message about the Internet filter and reach further than the noisy geeks that make up most of its population. If we all made a BIG, BIG effort could we force change?
Or will we just lay down and take it?
I propose we take the fight to the government via the very medium it proposes to censor.
You can start by blocking @KevinRuddPM on Twitter. Tell him repeatedly how you feel. At the very least we could topple him from the top of Aussie Twitter.
Make sure that you consistently use the #nocleanfeed hashtag on Twitter.
And if you have any other great ideas that might help change the government’s mind, let us know.
Update Wed 16 December
More coverage here:
IN the name of MY children Tea Brennan
Report Card #nocleanfeed God’s Will
Australia 2.0: from cyber-safety to “clean feed” Public Opinion
No clean feed 2 Design 4 Learning
Australia plans to filter the Internet. Again Mashable (US Coverage)
Online protests begin to rage against RuddNet censorship The Orstrayhun