Protesting Internet Filtering in Australia

The OTW has been working with Australian fans and lawyers – including founding board member Cathy Cupitt – to submit comments protesting Australia’s attempts to censor the Internet. Under the plan, Australia’s two largest ISPs, Telstra and Optus (along with two smaller ISPs, itExtreme and Webshield) would create a secret list of blacklisted sites without any review or accountability.

As Cupitt notes in her comment, fan sites can be “particularly vulnerable to inappropriate filtering, classification, and censorship.” Cupitt’s comment also notes that fanfiction, for example, represents “a reinvigorated and growing art scene, bringing new ideas to explorations of important topics such as ability, gender and race,” and that the kind of discourse and interaction that happens on fan sites is valuable. Legal academic Kim Weatherall also discusses the special risks filtering poses to fans and to sites hosting user-submitted content in her comment. The commission is posting comments publicly here.