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In late 2008, Wikileaks released the secret Internet censorship list for Denmark, together with a press release condemning the practice for lack of public or judicial oversight. Here’s an extract from the press release.
The list has been leaked because cases such as Thailand and Finland demonstrate that once a secret censorship system is established for pornographic content the same system can rapidly expand to cover other material, including political material, at the worst possible moment — when government needs reform.
Two days ago Wikileaks released the secret Internet censorship list for Thailand. Of the 1,203 sites censored this year, all have the internally noted reason of “lese majeste” — criticizing the Royal family. Like Denmark, the Thai censorship system was originally promoted as a mechanism to prevent the flow of child pornography
The press release and the list itself have now been placed into the secret Australian government blacklist of “Prohibited Online Content”.
The content on the blacklist is illegal to publish or link to in Australia, with fines of up to $11,000 a day for contraventions.
Burma, North Korea, China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iran, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Egypt maintain as tight a control on dissent on the internet as they do off line. Australia also deservedly gets a mention (in the rather unfortunately titled sub section, "Countries under surveillance") for its authoritarian efforts to filter all internet content.
Yet the global nature of the internet means that it perhaps makes less sense these days just to point the finger at isolated cases. It's not just a question any more of naming and shaming repressive regimes – western businesses are implicated too. I don't just mean Google and Yahoo for their activities in China, but the software and hardware companies that design the filtering software and infrastructure that makes censorship possible.
Saudi Arabia, for example, blocks undesirable websites with Californian software and the Chinese have Cisco to thank for their routers and switches. As the writer Xeni Jardin has observed, the US is now in the business of exporting censorship. For the first time in history, censorship has become a profitable enterprise, not just a matter of political control.
Originally posted by Nventual
WIKILEAKS is not accessible from Australia anymore.