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Title: New Labour, New Censorship? Politics, Religion and Internet Filtering in Australia
Contributor(s): Simpson, Brian Hendry  (author)
Publication Date: 2008
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Abstract: One of the first announcements of the new Labor Government in Australia has been the decision to require internet service providers to provide 'clean feeds' of internet content to homes and libraries. This has been justified for the protection of children from pornography and 'inappropriate content'. Filtering at the ISP level is a break from the past where the responsibility lay with parents to install their own filtering software. At one level the move has created a debate about the effectiveness of such an approach. There are claims it posits a technological solution to a problem that can bypass such filters. There have also been claims that it will slow the speed of internet access generally in the nation, as well as impose unreasonable costs on smaller ISPs. Of course, there are also arguments that this represents a new form of censorship only practised in repressive countries and that as customers will have to notify there ISP to opt out of the filter a list of people who, by implication, wish to have access to 'inappropriate' content will be created with the risk that this might be later used against them. To a certain extent these concerns have overshadowed other matters. The policy is a direct copy of that espoused by the Family First Party (a political party associated with the Assemblies of God church). Their sole Senator possesses a crucial vote in a Senate which will be finely balanced after June this year and so one can see the policy announcement as means of gaining favour with that Senator. The larger question then is whether the law that will implement ISP filtering will apply a definition of 'inappropriate content' that also defers to the concerns of the religious Right. This paper looks at the debates so far to evaluate this influence.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Annual Conference, Manchester, United Kingdom, 18th - 20th March, 2008
Conference Details: Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Annual Conference, Manchester, United Kingdom, 18th - 20th March, 2008
Source of Publication: Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference Programme & Abstract Book, p. 91-91
Publisher: Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA)
Place of Publication: Online
Field of Research (FOR): 180119 Law and Society
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 940499 Justice and the Law not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: E3 Extract of Scholarly Conference Publication
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