Report on internet censorship - HND Assignment Help:
Report on internet censorship
Internet censorship in Australian context can be defined as the regulatory regime under which the ACMA (Australian communication and media authority) attempts to control the content over internet and develops a list of overseas websites which would be blocked due to their content in Australia. The list of websites would control over the activities such as the child pornography, sexual violence and legal activities. According to year 2009 report issued by Open Net Initiative (ONI) there was no evidence received for the filtering of websites but ONI was not able to test the filtering for child pornography due to the legal restrictions (Schmidt and Cohen, 2014). Present paper would try to explore debate on requirement for greater amount of censorship in Australia.
Requirement for greater Internet censorship in Australia
Looking into the current status of the internet censorship in Australia both federal and state laws are applicable on the internet censorship. Australian constitution however does not provide any explicit laws regarding freedom of speech for its residents but high court in Australia advocates for the freedom of speech for its citizen which is also respected by the government in the country. Functional judiciary system, political system and independent press are the part of the overall Australian regime for ensuring freedom of speech for its citizen. Government was having no restriction over the usage of internet from the citizen as there were not enough evidence justifying that government was checking emails and chat for the common people.
However, state government in Australia have the sufficient laws and provision which prohibit the transmission of content which is not suitable for the minors. New South Wales has introduced the law in year 2001 which places criminal responsibility on people who are involved into transmission or distribution of the internet content unsuitable for minors. In year 2002, government of New South Wales has decided to amend the laws in country to be framed as per the commonwealth internet censorship laws (Dainotti, 2011). Looking into the examples for the internet censorship in Australian context it has been found out that in year 2000, EFA has tried to obtain the documents related with the filtering of web under freedom of information act but as a result some documents were obtained while many documents were not. In year 2002, communication legislation amendment bill no 1 was passed by Liberal government in order to ensure that child pornography related documents and sites is not accessible by anyone and there is complete restriction on the overseas websites involved in child pornography (King, 2014).
There are several topics which need to be discussed under the present context of greater censorship for the internet and these include rising demand for cyberporn, closer look at obscenity, communication decency act, alternatives to government censorship and advantages & limitations for the internet censorship etc. It is quite clear that pornography has been vigorously marketed in recent time and this has given rise to the increasing demand for the pornography. There are several factors which attract consumers towards cyber porn and this would include enjoying privacy through computer network, to get most arousing pictures through internet, easy storage helps the users to safeguard it from their family members, medical disease such as AIDS has helped to market the modern sex and technological advancement has helped in order to develop the high customer base for such applications. Pornography is one of the major concerns related with the content of internet but this is not the only concern as both private and public groups have raised concern over the content in the internet space (Solon, 2014).
There is major argument from the freedom of speech in case of censorship of the internet as internet in present age is considered as the medium providing access to the free expressions of ideas and thoughts in the open marketplace. Internet is considered as the borderless marketplace and freedom is speech is greatly protected through usage of internet in the private and public domain. Though some part of the internet is used for the activities such as pornography but one of the major usages for the internet is providing the freedom of speech to its users. According to the high court in Australia a particular material would be categorized as obscene in case a common person through application of contemporary community standards establishes that the work appeals to prurient interests, work lacks in serious literacy, art and scientific value and it depicts clear sexually explicit conduct.
Communication decency act limits the usage of internet in order to limit the usage of internet for viewing to the pornographic material. Initial version of this law was issued in order to prohibiting the access of such material to the minor only while later version has been developed in order to prohibit the access given to the all users of internet for such content. These regulations in the cyberspace have shocked many and the users in cyber world consider that the communication decency act prohibits the regulations developed in the first amendment. People in favour of this regulation consider that such acts would be helpful for the society as a whole and would prohibit the usage of internet for wrongful purposed (Lao, 2007). With passage of such acts it was intended that news group such as alt.binaries.erotica would be immediately removed from the cyberspace but even after development of this act such news group have their presence in the cyberspace which showcase the violation of the activities from these groups.
One of the issues arising with the internet freedom is increasing concern for the parents regarding access to the pornographic material to their children as large numbers of children are connected with internet for the educational purposes. Children safety at the internet is of high importance and it needs to be ensured that children do not get access to the pornographic and sexually explicit material which can have wrong impact on their mind. After starting the rating scale for movies and developing a chip for the television in order to censor the material of television it would be important for the stakeholders to consider about censorship of internet content. Many people consider that the usage of sexually explicit content by children is also due to the non supervision from their parents. In case there is proper supervision from the parents such activities can be stopped and government would not be required to take measures for censoring content over internet.
Parents and teachers are the primary stakeholders who can get involved with the students and access to the internet can be monitored for the students or children in order to avoid any access to them for the sexually explicit content. In addition to the efforts made by teachers and parents for avoiding their children and students from accessing the porn material several steps can be taken which would prove the alternative for the measures adopted by the government. Information providers of the internet can become a part of the voluntary rating system wherein they can give voluntary rating to the content offered by them on internet. Best plan in this field is adopted by PICS as issued by World Wide Web consortium (W3). In this system of volunteer rating organizations providing information on website can rate their own content so that parents and teachers can filter such site for usage from their children. Internet filtering system Inc (IFSI) is in the process to develop a system which would promote the PICS system for developing self rating for the content provided by the particular website.
Origin based filtering method can be adopted by the teachers and parents in order to block particular group of websites which are promoting the sexually explicit material e.g. Surf watch is an example of the website which can block the group of websites based on the input information provided to the particular software (Sutton and Timm, 2011). Another approach for blocking the sexually explicit content is the blockage through keywords as there are several keywords based on which sexually explicit material can be blocked from a particular website. For example, Net Nanny is an existing product which can be used in order to block websites based on the particular keywords selected for the area of content. Subscription from the online websites can be taken in order to track the material which is being accessed through the particular computer system for example pridogy was one of the internet based service for monitoring the content of internet used by users (Glanville, 2008).
Prosecution of child pornographers would give an important message in society for not involving into such activities so that internet does not need to be censored for such activities and benefits of internet can be done for the welfare of society. There are sufficient laws formed for avoiding child pornography but it is important that such laws needs to be executed well so that child pornographers does not have courage to involve into such activities. Guidance and discussion with the students and children regarding ill impacts of accessing sexually explicit content material should be done and best support should be extended in order to protect them against such sexually explicit material (Chadwick, 2009).
It is important to assess the benefits and limitations of internet censorship so that appropriate decision can be taken by the government authorities in order to censor the content distributed through internet. Looking into the benefits of censorship for the internet prevention of adult content, prevention of illegal activities, identification of theft and spam avoidance etc can be considered. Avoiding children to access the adult content is one of the main aims of the censorship of internet and this would help in building positive character and good habits among the children. Illegal activities related with the copyright of the content would be another major benefit which can be obtained through censorship of internet wherein downloads of music, movies and other properties would be an important consideration. Censorship laws developed in context to internet content would ensure identification of the theft hence censorship laws can be considered as the primary security laws (Julia, 2014). Spamming is one of the common problems on internet and it continues to create problem for the common users over internet for taking important information from the computer systems of the people. Internet censorship laws can be considered as an important step in order to protect users from spam.
Internet censorship would restrict the freedom of expression for the users over internet and such regulations not only curtail the expression but also create the dampening effect for the users over internet. Users would not be able to assess the useful information available on various sites due to censorship of internet which would reduce the awareness and decision making capability of the users. Censorship of the internet would create too much control for the government wherein administrative work from government would increase and users would experience high degree of control.
Present essay talks about requirement of internet censorship in context to Australia. Present essay has discussed various issues associated with the internet censorship such as the laws governing internet censorship in Australia, rising demand for pornography, communication decency act, alternative to government measurement and assessment for the advantages & disadvantages of the censoring the internet. It has been evaluated that internet censorship would be an important step in order to avoid the children pornography and other illegal activities but this would create problem for the various internet users and government. Overall internet censorship need to be developed with confined rules and regulations.
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