The looming prospect of internet censorship in Australia just gets more and more disturbing.
From APC Mag: Now Conroy wants Google to filter YouTube in Australia
In the latest twist over his controversial Web filtering scheme, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has expressed admiration for what he termed as Google’s role in suppressing controversial Web content in countries like China, Thailand, and elsewhere – and confirmed he is trying to use similar filtering to prevent Australians from viewing offensive content via Google-owned YouTube.
Calling the company “probably the world’s leading deep packet filterer, unbeknownst to most people,” Conroy told a Senate Estimates committee that he was discussing the possibility of getting Google to filter refused-classification materials from its YouTube video sharing site. “They have experience in blocking material in other countries at the behest of governments, including China, Thailand and a number of other countries,” he added.
Google, however, is having none of it, denying both Conroy’s claims about deep-packet filtering and suggestions it would voluntarily filter RC content. “We don’t believe the comparisons between how China filters the Internet, and how Australia is looking at it, are relevant,” Google Australia head of policy Iarla Flynn told APCmag.com. […]
In his latest comments, however, Conroy acknowledged that extending an ISP-level content filter to cover YouTube content would have performance implications – which explains why he is hoping Google will voluntarily do the job for him. Google’s has well-known bias in favour of freedom of expression, including its recent ultimatum to the Chinese government, saying that it would no longer filter web results there and would rather pull out of China altogether.
Edited February 11th:
Google Australia’s head of policy, Iarla Flynn, said the company had a bias in favour of freedom of expression in everything it did and Conroy’s comparisons between how Australia and China deal with access to information were not “helpful or relevant”.
Google has recently threatened to pull out of China, partly due to continuing requests for it to censor material.
“YouTube has clear policies about what content is not allowed, for example hate speech and pornography, and we enforce these, but we can’t give any assurances that we would voluntarily remove all Refused Classification content from YouTube,” Flynn said.
“The scope of RC is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information. RC includes the grey realms of material instructing in any crime from [painting] graffiti to politically controversial crimes such as euthanasia, and exposing these topics to public debate is vital for democracy.”