The censorhip-mad Australian government has decided that the last thing it wants is to put its bizarre internet censorship plans to the great unwashed before the elections.
The Labour government has two plans on the table which will involve censoring the world wide wibble. The first is a filtering plan which means that Australians will not see anything on the net that the government does not want them to see. The other is a top secret plan to snoop on Australians’ web surfing.
Obviously with an election which is too close to call, the last thing they want is to confirm that they are planning to bring in controls on the internet which even the Chinese have not tried.
Already the filtering plan has been delayed for a year while further consultation takes place. In other words after the election and far enough into the future for it not to be an unpopular election problem.
According to the Aussie press Attorney-General Robert McClelland has backed away from a plan for collecting all Australian users’ web data in case they break the law.
McClelland trotted out the usual lines about how such a law would be good to protect the exploitation of children but seems to have moved away from rushing it into effect. Apparently children do not need to be protected until after the election.
McClelland said that the discussions have focussed not on intruding into someone’s privacy as to the content. They have focussed on the times of the communications and who the communications were between. “Those discussions have occurred as a result of my department seeking the views of providers and ultimately we will seek the view of consumers,” he said.
In short he is saying that “no decision” had been made at a government or policy level about giving the plan approval.
He said that the government hadn’t put any time limits on consultation or implementation and said it was not something “the government is driving”.