Those of you who are thinking about places to move after Palin wins in 2012 might want to cross the home of the Lord of the Rings, Bondi Beach and Tuscany from your list if you want to keep reading Balloon Juice.
Over in Frodo’s back yard, New Zealand has just implemented net censorship. Last month, without telling anyone, two of the country’s Internet providers (ISPs) started using a government filter. It supposedly only screens out depictions of child sexual abuse, and it’s “voluntary”, though the ISPs volunteer, not individual users. By the way, New Zealand also has a government position called The Chief Censor, and the current one, who is openly gay, has been accused of promoting a gay agenda by not banning some films.
Meanwhile, in Australia, the ruling Labor party (center-left
conservative, of course) wants to create a mandatory “great firewall” that would make ISPs take down any R or X-rated content hosted at sites without adult verification in Australia, and block it from sites hosted outside Australia. Trials of the firewall haven’t gone well, and Labor has lost the votes for it in the Australian Senate, but it’s still a live issue in Australia’s politics.
Finally, a court in Italy recently convicted three Google employees and gave them a 6 month suspended sentence because YouTube hosted a video of a developmentally disabled kid being bullied.
It’s interesting to note that these three major incursions on Internet freedom by “good countries” have taken place with little notice in the mainstream US press, while China’s censorship policy is hashed over in painful detail.