Monday, December 28, 2009

Internet filtering introduced without much discussion

From PAUL OATES in Queensland, Australia 

It would appear that the Federal Labor government has introduced Internet filtering without any big fanfare. The rationale is that this legislation will prevent people from accessing bomb making and child porn sites. While on the surface this is perfectly reasonable, it begs the age old question: 'Who will watch the watchers?'
George Orwell in his classic book '1984' described how the government of the day monitored all incoming electronic traffic (read government propaganda) on the wall high tv screens in every house and through monitoring each person's mandatory responses from a camera on each wall, ensured everyone conformed to government dictums.
Could this newly enacted legislation just be the thin edge of the wedge? Do we want nameless and blameless public servants deciding what we can watch on our computers merely based on someone's interpretation of the government's views of the day? What happens if the government's views start changing and prevent any alternative views from being 'aired'?  E mail and internet news communication is now recognised as a fast and inexpensive way of informing people about issues. But what if the daily news was monitored and filtered to suit the wishes of the government of the day? Who would know?
We are constantly bombarded with 'filtered' news even now. What might stop that process from getting worse? Look at what happens today in China?
Have we as a species progressed from the time of Juvenal (63 -130) when he uttered those famous lines "Quis custodiet ipsos! Custodes? (Who is to guard the guards themselves?)

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