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Google, Yahoo object to proposed Internet censorship in Australia

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Censorship by China grabbed the headlines for weeks. But what of restrictions on Internet freedom elsewhere in the world?

Case in point: The latest country in the news for attempting to block objectionable content is Australia.The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Google, Yahoo and others have criticized government plans to force Internet service providers to make certain content inaccessible.

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Australia plans legislation this year that will blacklist certain sites. Google has gone on record saying the scope of the filtering is too broad, that it would slow down Internet access, could easily be circumvented and would give parents a false sense of safety.

Yahoo had similar objections, fearing the proposed legislation ‘could block content with a strong social, political and/or educational value.’

Google is battling censorship in China and Australia. But what about in other countries where, for differing political or cultural reasons, censorship takes place, asked business professor Christopher Tang. He points out that Google operates in other countries that monitor and screen the Web.

“Even the U.S. government monitors the Web, but it does it quietly. In China, the authorities do it more overtly. It’s a different culture,” Tang said.

Oded Shenkar, a professor of business management at Ohio State University and the author of “The Chinese Century,” said the Chinese controversy may shine a brighter light on Internet censorship.

“What’s going to happen in other markets that are not completely free?” Shenkar said. “Where exactly do you draw the line?”

-- Jessica Guynn


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