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Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Panicking politicians and caustic censorship

HT: Nick Booth

I was having issues posting this response to Nick's request [Is the British Government planning a new department of Digital Cleaners?] for 'more detail' on how Culture Secretary Andy Burnham's call for censorship a la TV of YouTube etc. (mainly YouTube) gives me the deja vus.

I lived through the Australian conservative government's equally knee-jerk reaction to a moral panic around these issues in the late nineties.

They, similarly, proposed that the Aussie equivalent of Ofcom become involved and, unlike here, the equivalent of Ofcom salivated at the thought (the power! the power!).

What they ended up instituting was a national filtering system with opt-outs which mirrored what Saudi Arabia and China do. Is this what Andy wants? Or maybe he'd like something like the Thais insisted on, upset as they were at 'derogatory' portrayals of their King on - guess what - YouTube!?

Anyway, if you want to read up on the history of this in Australia, the activists on this in Oz are EFA and the Censorware Project.


  1. Thanks Paul. I've learned something today. I wonder if those who think the internet should be open are only a minority.

    Our attitudes to established freedoms such as habeus corpus suggest that the majority put safety above freedom.

  2. Thanks sweetheart ;]

    re: habeus corpus - I think it's more to do with the Daily Mail editing the government than what British people who use the web actually think.