A couple of good bits of news in relation to Internet and gaming censorship in Australia have dropped over the past day or so.
They don’t mean that there will be no censorship, rather it’s more a case of steps in the right direction to temper the censorship craziness that federal and state governments have been pushing of late.
Firstly, the government has released all 174 submissions on measures to increase accountability and transparency for restricted content – i.e. the stuff that will be censored by mandatory Internet filtering.
The general vibe of the submissions was “no Internet filter, please”. Some submitters did, however, seek to give actual suggestions to the Government. Leading that charge were industry heavyweights, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.
Asher Moses has a good overview of the submissions from Google, Microsoft and Yahoo (amongst others) over at the SMH.
The best bits are included below, but I recommend you read his whole article and the actual Google, Yahoo and Microsoft submissions if you’re keen to get a more detailed understanding of the various positions.
That having been said, below are the key quotes:
Microsoft demanded protection against “arbitrary executive decision making” surrounding content added to the list and noted the potential for banned material to be loaded on to a site without the sanction of the owner of that site.
“Yahoo are entirely supportive of any effort to make the internet a safer place for children, however mandatory filtering of all RC material could block content with a strong social, political and/or educational value,”
“We have a number of other concerns, including that filtering may give a false sense of security to parents, it could damage Australia’s international reputation and it can be easily circumvented,” Google wrote.
As we said last week – it really does seem that there’s starting be some heavyweight support behind the move to get the government to rethink it’s mandatory Internet filtering policy.
Added to this was the good news that South Australian Attorney Genereal Michael Atkinson resigned from the Labour Ministry yesterday after winning his local seat of Croydon despite a 14% swing against him. He’ll still be a member of parliament. His power, however, will be greatly diminished.
Atkinson was the genius behind making it illegal to post anonymous comments online in relation to the State Election he recently participated in and was also responsible for roadblocking the creation of an 18+ classification for games in Australia. The last of these meant that game makers either had to change their content to make it suitable for 15 year olds or be refused permission to sell their games in Australia.
With some luck the craziness of the past year or so in Australia may soon be over.