Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Australia and Internet Censorship

Derek E. Bambauer, Brooklyn Law School, has published "Filtering in Oz: Australia's Foray into Internet Censorship," as Brooklyn Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 125. Here is the abstract.

Australia's decision to implement Internet censorship using technological means creates a natural experiment: the first Western democracy to mandate filtering legislatively, and to retrofit it to a decentralized network architecture. But are the proposed restrictions legitimate? The new restraints derive from the Labor Party's pro-filtering electoral campaign, though coalition government gives minority politicians considerable influence over policy. The country has a well-defined statutory censorship system for on-line and off-line material that may, however, be undercut by relying on foreign and third-party lists of sites to be blocked. While Australia is open about its filtering goals, the government's transparency about what content is to be blocked is poor. Initial tests show that how effective censorship is at filtering prohibited content - and only that content - will vary based on what method the country's ISPs use. Though Australia's decisionmakers are formally accountable to citizens, efforts to silence dissenters, outsourcing of blocking decisions, and filtering's inevitable transfer of power to technicians undercut accountability. The paper argues Australia represents a shift by Western democracies towards legitimating Internet filtering and away from robust consideration of the alternatives available to combat undesirable information.

Download the paper from SSRN here.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/media_law_prof_blog/2009/01/australia-and-i.html

| Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341bfae553ef010536ccb0df970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Australia and Internet Censorship: