As technology has evolved over the past few decades, many businesses and individuals rely on the internet. In order for communication to remain free and open, it’s essential for everyone to have equal access to the internet.
In 2008, Australian politicians devised a plan to censor all internet access in their country, through a central firewall. While an Australian internet filter probably won’t become reality until 2013, people across Australia and other parts of the world are protesting the impact this decision will have on free speech. Companies such as Netfleet and Private Fleet are opposed to such moves
The Australian internet filter was originally designed as an opt-out censorship system, designed to help protect children from pornography and other pornographic content. The Australian filter has changed to incorporate a non opt-out policy, which will prevent unfettered internet access across the Australian content. The Australian government hopes that a permanent internet filter will help stop the spread of illegal content, such as child pornography and terrorist communications.
While Australia believes that censoring the internet will help prevent its citizens from possessing illegal content, many countries with internet censorship have loopholes that allow free access to the internet including online forums.
China is one of the largest countries in the modern world, and attempts to maintain control of its people through censorship. Many forms of media in China are censored, from newspapers and blogs, to radio and television. China operates one of the world’s most extensive internet filters, commonly called The Great Firewall of China. This internet filter is used by authorities to help prevent the spread of subversive content that could put the government in a bad light.
Many bloggers and internet users have complained about the Great Firewall. It often slows down internet access, causes website timeouts, and can censor benign information. Many users are able to circumvent the filter through the use of VPNs, virtual private networks. A VPN allows an internet user to create a ‘tunnel’ between their computer and a server in a foreign country. The Great Firewall of China doesn’t prevent a VPN connection from being created between 2 computers – this is an essential part of how the modern internet works. The foreign server downloads websites, and sends them through a VPN tunnel to internet users in China.
While Australia hopes that an internet filter will help protect its citizens, it will only inconvenience those who have an innocent use for it. Terrorists and child pornographers will still be able to circumvent the filter, and they won’t be prevented from doing anything illegal. To find out more click here.