Interesting to read Sean’s blog on Friday discussing Senator Conroy’s plan to filter porn via Australia’s ISP’s, and then to read about the outrage when it was discovered that China had censored the Internet to the international media at the Beijing Olympics.

For the few people who may not have heard the story, the IOC had arranged for the visiting foreign media to be given unlimited Internet access during the games. However China has censored the net, including sites that relate to human rights abuses.
update: It seems that due to pressure from the IOC and the international community China has since provided slightly more open Internet access to the visiting media.

The media had several reports of officials and government members decrying China’s Internet censorship, and the SMH editorial called for action:

The Australian Government, meanwhile, should carpet the Chinese ambassador, telling him plainly that internet bans and spying are an unacceptable breach of faith, …

Oh, the hypocrisy, is it just me or do others dislike hypocrites? People who say they would never do X then turn around and go and do X. People who criticise others for acting in a certain way, then go and act the same way themselves. How can this country, at least some of it’s political leaders, condemn China for censoring the Internet when they are planning on doing similar?

I don’t condone China’s attitude to Internet censorship, and I also don’t condone my own countries plans for censoring porn on the net. Like many other people, I believe in self censorship, I believe it’s the responsibility of parents to restrict what their children see. We don’t need a ‘big brother’ totalitarian government telling us what we can or can’t see and read on the internet or elsewhere.

Filtering is unworkable anyway, there are usually ways around it and these ways are often discovered by the young children the filter is supposed to protect in the first place. Classic example was the filtering software the Government made available for PCs a while back, that some 16 year old boy cracked within 30 minutes.

Similarly when the government banned internet gambling sites being hosted in Australia, all it did was drive all the money overseas. Similar to the ban on selling X-rated material in Australia except in the Territories, again all this did was to drive all the money to a few mega-shops in NT and ACT.

So when will the government realise that banning all these things is just a waste of time, money and effort? That by trying to prevent a few people seeing things they probably shouldn’t, the rest of society has to suffer. Yes, there are certain things that should be controlled, such as child and violent pornography, and we already have sufficient laws to control these.

Do we need the government to filter our Internet access even further, and are they being hypocritical condemning China for their censorship?

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3 Comments to “The Internet, China, Porn and Hypocrisy”

  1. I like it when people find a post interesting (not exactly what you meant but I am compliment farming) . Yes it’s laughable isn’t it. I will be boycotting the olympics. If our athletes don’t have the stremgth of character thn I am not going to support them.

    What’s four years of a middle class Australians life when compared to the destruction of your ancestral home and your livelihood.

  2. ozatheist says:

    Sean, I did find your article interesting as also the follow up post of yours on this subject. The censorship of porn is a subject that has bemused and interested me for a long time.

    I won’t be boycotting the Olympics per-se but I don’t have much interest in them this time, and probably won’t specifically be watching any. Though with the blanket media coverage of these events it’s very hard to ignore them completely.

  3. curly says:

    I have just read about this and am outraged! If Australia goes down this path, the precedent will be set for other western liberal democracies to follow suit.
    I would fear even more for freedoms in “Big Brother” Britain, and elsewhere.

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