I am sick of attempts by governments to censor the internet. Sure, there is material out there that I am not going to defend - even someone as much a civil libertarian as I am will not defend child pornography (but I mean genuine child pornography, not whatever the prudes and panic merchants want to smear with the association).
There's the rub. The social conservative Rudd government has taken to implying strongly that anyone who opposes its massively paternalistic and potentially oppressive plans to censor the internet is somehow favouring child pornography. Senator Stephen Conroy has become particularly virulent in that regard.
I'll doubtless have more to say about this issue in future posts, but go and read the Labor election policy for yourself. Maybe you'll think it's harmless, but I think it's very worrying.
The upshot seems to be that an enormously expensive and powerful technological and bureaucratic structure will be set up to censor the internet in Australia, creating a so-called "clean feed" that individuals can opt out of (but many institutions cannot) and a second layer of censorship that is compulsory. The second layer will presumably be limited to censorship of very extreme material, but I am nervous about giving a government this kind of power at all. However benevolent the current government may be (haha), and however much it shows restraint in what it censors, it is building something monstrous - an electronic Great Wall of Australia. This could be used by future governments to suppress a wide range of material that they don't like for whatever reason (whenever they can win populist support, of course ... but that's not necessarily difficult in Australia, as the recent Henson debacle demonstrates abundantly).
Judge the issue for yourself, but follow it carefully as it unfolds; make up your own mind whether you trust this government (and future governments) with the power that it is attempting to gain over the content of the internet. If you're as nervous as I am, speak up about it.