DailyTech reports about the plans of the Australian and French authorities to restrict Internet use with China-like web filters, both on the grounds of piracy and child protection.
Both the Australian and the French legislation would force ISPs to filter their traffic, a potentially expensive proposition. Some are opposing it on a grounds of its scope. Google, which filters sites that promote child exploitation, criticized the Australian legislation in a blog, characterizing it as too broad. It writes:
At Google we are concerned by the Government's plans to introduce a mandatory filtering regime for Internet Service Providers (ISP) in Australia, the first of its kind amongst western democracies.* Our primary concern is that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide.
Exposing politically controversial topics for public debate is vital for democracy. Homosexuality was a crime in Australia until 1976 in ACT, NSW in 1984 and 1997 in Tasmania. Political and social norms change over time and benefit from intense public scrutiny and debate. The openness of the Internet makes this all the more possible and should be protected.