Google runs to US over Australian filter

Google runs to US over Australian filter

Summary: Google has confirmed that it has gone to the US State Department, including other parties, to voice its concerns on the filter.

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TOPICS: Censorship, Google
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Google has confirmed that it has gone to the US State Department, including other parties, to voice its concerns on the filter.

"Google is deeply concerned by Australia's plans to introduce a widely scoped, mandatory ISP filtering regime. We have voiced our concerns publicly and with many groups including the US State Department," Google spokesperson Lucinda Barlow told ZDNet.com.au today.

The search giant has not been quiet about its views on the system which it has said has too broad a scope and is "heavy-handed".

In general, censorship has not sat well with the company, which shut down its search engine in China recently after a series of cyber attacks and complaints about censorship. It diverted its Chinese search queries to the Hong Kong Google site.

The US may listen carefully to Google's concerns, given that the US Ambassador Jeff Bleich confirmed last week that the US had been in an "ongoing conversation" with Australia over the filter. The internet had to be free, he said.

"It needs to be free the way we have said skies have to be free, outer space has to be free, the polar caps have to be free, the oceans have to be free. They have to be shared. They're shared resources of all of the people of the world," he said.

Topics: Censorship, Google

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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Talkback

10 comments
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  • I have written to Senator Conroy. The last paragraph - It won't work. It will cost me money. And , you did it.

    The cost of keeping the RC list up-to date will be enormous. Any costs incurred by ISPs will be passed on to consumers. And it will only serve to keep honest people honest. anyone who knows how to use a secure proxy server wil be able to bypass ant ISP based filter. Their only problem will be the slowness caused by the IPS filter added to the slowness causes by the proxy server. And web sites like Twitter, Second Life, Facebook and other social networking sites are RC.
    bobby.g
  • If you are genuinely against this, go to Getup and show your support to make a difference.

    I fundamentally agree with censorship. I think there are some disturbing things out there that so abhorrent they should not be easily accessible (kiddie porn, violent sex acts and so on). However, the "line in the sand" of what is acceptable and what isn't should be transparent so that we, as a society, can form a majority consensus as to where that line should be. The Australian filter is nether transparent so we don't know where the line in the sand is, and are specifically excluded from the debate over where it should be.

    This, and the fact that the current implementation is technically flawed, leaves me as an opponent of the current planned implementation.
    pleitch-38f49
  • I don't understand Senator Conroy's argument that Google and other companies opposed to the filter "don't understand" it. I mean, Google is one of the largest technology companies IN THE WORLD - the idea that they wouldn't understand something so close to their area of expertise is laughable.

    Or perhaps he's saying that Google don't understand the "intent" of the filter. But I say that's fair enough, 'cause I don't understand the intent of it either: it's not going to protect children (who will still be able to see all sorts of "nasties" even with the filter); it's not going to stop sexual predators, who don't even use the WWW to trade in their filth; it's not going to protect "average" Australians, who are highly unlikely to stumble upon any of these websites by accident anyway. What IS is going to do? Looks like just a big fat waste of money to me.
    Dean Harding
  • Filter = Control = Power
    There are no good intentions about this filter, it's all about control. Nobody needs to tell me how to protect my children.
    golimpio
  • "Australian broadband among world's worst"
    mutters foully about Telstra's greed.

    national broadband network will connect optical fiber to 90% of homes
    sweet!

    internet filter trials slow current network down by up to 80% in tests (and not even full scale ones!)
    mutters about taxes.
    ifurn0
  • It seems the grub Conboy is well on the way to making us the laughing stock of the free world. Not that he's likely to take any notice of that, since his admired poster people are the comrades who control everything on the Net in China.
    gnome-8be8a
  • Whilst I am against the filter I am also against Google's stance as they have countless links to objectionable content on their sites and they think that because they are a big company they are above the law. No company is bigger than the system and Google should wake up to themselves. Yahoo and Bing aren't carrying on like ratbags, just Senator Conroy and Google.
    Lord Watchdog
  • I really hope Google & the US can talk some sense into the Australian Government.
    Conroy's stance is downright embarrassing.
    Maybe he doesn't intend the filter to used for political purposes, but he is extremely naive if he thinks future goverments won't use it for exactly that.
    In the future with a different government in power, he will have to explain to his children or grandchildren that he was the architect of the dreadful filter the government of the day is using to deny them access to legitimate websites.
    e.g. a Liberal Govt could block access to Union websites etc etc
    Yoda7
  • This is against freedom of speech and is inherently un-Australian - what is this government trying to do? Micro-manage every one's lives - get stuffed - gooooood on you goooooogle!
    ngukurr2-c5186
  • What makes the government think that a filter like this will work? Within days, probably within hours of the filter going online (if it makes it that far) there'll be videos posted on YouTube about how to bypass the Australian filter. Personally it's a waste of money, time and bandwidth, which could be better used by business's and residential users alike.
    nebuchadnezzer2