US unhappy about Aussie internet censorship plans

Close partners, but concerns raised on Australian government intentions

The highly controversial attempt by the Australian government to censor Internet access through a government agency blacklist to ISPs (see previous InfoPowa reports) is starting to meet with criticism from a US government already alerted by similar moves in China.

According to the Australian political debate, sport and entertainment publication The Punch, the US government claims that the proposed Internet filters Downunder will do little to enhance an open internet.

The Punch reports that following its clash with China over Internet censorship, the Obama Administration's U.S. State Department is mounting a diplomatic assault on internet censorship worldwide.

US State Department spokesman Noel Clay has already raised concerns with the Australian government regarding the proposed internet filters, which involve blacklists imposed on ISPs by a government communications agency.

"The US and Australia are close partners on issues related to cyber matters generally, including national security and economic issues," Clay told The Punch.

"We do not discuss the details of specific diplomatic exchanges, but [I] can say that in the context of that ongoing relationship, we have raised our concerns on this matter with Australian officials."

The publication claims that last week search engine and information site Google announced it will no longer be censoring its Chinese website, and the Internet giant has been highly critical of the Australian Internet filtering proposal.

"Our primary concern is that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide," Google wrote in its submission opposing the filtering, adding that such filtering would likely slow browsing speeds.

"Some limits, like child pornography, are obvious. No Australian wants that to be available - and we agree," the Google submission said. "But moving to a mandatory ISP level filtering regime with a scope that goes well beyond such material is heavy-handed and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information."

Approached for comment by The Punch, a spokesperson for Communication Minister Stephen Conroy said that government regularly liaised with the United States on a broad range of issues, but that it would be "...inappropriate to discuss the details of these consultations”.

Read the full story at
  • Jade lcb


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    Censorship is never a good idea, even though their are things that seemingly have no use or purpose. I don't understand how the US government, by the people, for the people has the nerve to say anything about what another country wants to deny its people. The US has enough problems of their own.

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