Aussie websites go black

Hundreds of Aussie websites went black today  in a protest against the government’s plans to censor the internet.

The Greens, Democrats and ISP iiNet were among the organisations that pledged to fade their websites to black and provide visitors with information about the Government’s censorship plans. The blackout will last until Friday.

However it doesn’t have a dingo’s chance in hell in changing the government’s mind. It seems that the Australian government is determined to become a little China in the South Pacific.

It wants to have mandatory internet filtering of a secret blacklist of sites the Government’s censors have determined are “refused classification” (RC). However the list includes sites that the Australian government does not want people to talk about out of fear that talk will disestablish the country or at least get another government elected.

Critics say filter is too broad and that providing the Government with a new censorship power is unnecessary, given that the filters could only ever cover a tiny fraction of the nasty websites on the internet.

The scheme has not even been backed by child welfare groups have said it might give parents a false sense of security.

The blackout was the brainchild of web activist Jeff Waugh and is being supported by online users’ lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA).

Websites taking part in the blackout are mostly smaller websites, ranging from personal web pages to media sites such as newmatilda.com and overclockers.com.au.

However,  as Peter Coroneos, chief executive of the Internet Industry Association, said it would take 200,000 people protesting in the streets in every major capital city for the Government to pay attention. They would probably have to burn a few cars too.

Coroneos was told by the  Department of Broadband that the Government is pushing ahead with plans to implement its internet filter legislation in the autumn session of Parliament.

One of the main problems is that mainstream Australia had not really got a clue what the thing is all about.