Internet bound by national borders: Analyst

Goverments have a right to filter, says analyst

The Internet does not have its own sovereignty, and governments have a right to filter online content, according to China Digital Strategist, Kaiser Kuo.

In a response to a question on the sovereignty of the Internet on ABC’s Q&A program last night, the outspoken online blogger said it is bound by the nation-state in which servers reside.

“There is no question that these ideas that the Internet is above the pretty fray of nation-states is nonsense,” Kuo said.

“Governments certainly have a right to filter the Internet, but will they do it rightly? 99 per cent of the time, they do it wrongly.

“Specific culturally determined freedoms when exercised poorly can cause suffering. The absence of [filtering in India], anything that imputes [Hindu Nationalist Party Shiv Sena] may cause violence on the streets.”

Kuo said the US 1789 Bill of Rights does not apply for the Internet.

“Information used to be carried by horse and cart… or by ship. Education was the possession of a few men… now 404 million Chinese use the Internet,” he said.

He objected to comments that he supported Internet content filtering, and said “it is sad to see a sovereignty so stepped in liberal tradition taking the choice away from people, teachers and into the hands of government”.

Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Conner, said the Federal Minister aims to provide “as much access to material as possible” adding that some material is “so extreme that you wouldn’t want to access it”.

Panellists on the show which delved into Australia's controversial Internet content filter, including Access Now executive director, Brett Solomon, and blogger Helen Razer said the government should drop its plans, claiming the technology is “unworkable”.

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