Australia’s Proposed Internet Blacklist Stirs Controversy

By: Daniel Kopf

A media firestorm erupted last week after the leak of a proposed internet blacklist by the Australian government. The blacklist would block access to the sites Internet Service Providers or ISP’s, rendering the sites inaccessible by Australian citizens. The blacklist includes over 2,400 websites, mostly consisting of sites such as child pornography and online gambling.

The controversy surrounding the list centered on the inclusion of seemingly innocent sites such as a dentist’s website, and a pet care website. Many critics also accused the list of being politically skewed. According to Time.com, sites advocating legal euthanasia, Satanism and Christianity were also on the list.

The news of the proposed blacklist was leaked by the website Wikileaks.org. The list is the product of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the governmental body that regulates all Australian media.

Australia's Prime Minister of Communication Stephen Conroy

Australia's Prime Minister of Communication Stephen Conroy

The ACMA is overseen by Australia’s Prime Minister of Communication Stephen Conroy, who has maintained that the leak will not stop the government from implanting the proposed blacklist.

Despite the proposed blacklist taking place in a country almost 10,000 miles away the consequences of a government proposed blacklist has startled some Marist Students.

“A blacklist is against anyone’s rights if someone’s site is blocked because someone in an administration doesn’t like a particular political issue, they are infringing on our freedom of speech,” Marist sophomore Cynthia Dagenais said.

Other Marist students feel the blacklist protects people from the dangers of the internet. It would be great if the sites could be blocked because that way people would not be exposed to different things,” Marist sophomore Laura Osberg said.

The proposed blacklist also raises questions about Marist’s non-restrictive internet policy.

“For a college, anything that is illegal or any downloadable content should be blocked,” Marist junior Bobby Reyes said.

Some students at Marist do agree with the Marist’s decision not to block access to any website including the website juicycampus.com which was a main point of controversy last semester.

“I don’t think Marist should block these websites because it appears as if there is a hidden agenda. Marist can’t tell us that euthanasia is completely wrong, or that we can’t see sites on Satanism, etc.If you block one site, other sites might be blocked too,” Dagenais said.

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