Australia to ban certain websites

The federal government of Australia is considering banning its citizens from viewing a list of 10,000 websites that it deems objectionable. Specifically, the the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said that the list of banned websites will include:

sites containing child sexual abuse imagery, bestiality, sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

Now, I’m all for getting rid of child pornography.  But banning a list of 10,000 websites will not do a thing to stop the child pornography industry.  People in Australia who want to view it will still do so, either using proxy servers or visiting any of the multitude of websites that aren’t on the banned list.  It is really just a stunt, aimed to convince people that their government is trying to do something to prevent child pornography without actually doing anything.  Instead of trying to really address the situation, by prosecuting those who create, distribute, or view child pornography, their merely assuaging their own guilt and scoring political points while doing so.  Whipping up a list with some websites on it and blocking them is easy; actually doing something about the problem of child pornography in the world is very hard, requiring the cooperation of the entire world, and apparently not something the Australian government wants to do.

It also sets a dangerous precedent. An older list, obtained by Wikileaks and containing 2,000 websites, included such things as “the websites of a dentist from Queensland, a pet-care facility in Queensland, and a site belonging to a school cafeteria consultant.” Not only does this blocklist carry the risk of accidentally banning perfectly legitimate sites, but it could also lead to the government banning other sites in the public’s interest.  It is a slippery slope to full on censorship, and not one we want to get even close to.

Final master’s paper

I’m finally finished with my master’s paper!  The title ended up being “‘Finding What, You Know?’: A Content Analysis of the Websites of Archival Repositories for Markers of Archival Intelligence.”  Here’s the abstract if anyone wants to read it; it will be available online from the SILS website sometime over the summer.  I’ll link to it when it is available.

This study is a content analysis that investigates whether the user education resources available on the websites of archival repositories reflect an understanding of Archival Intelligence. This was done by analyzing the websites of thirty archival repositories, selected from the list of the member institutions of the Association of Research Libraries. The findings of the study indicate that the websites of most archival repositories do not reflect an understanding of Archival Intelligence. The study also suggests that archival repositories are not currently taking advantage of the Internet as a medium for user education, which is necessary in a time where the only interaction many users have with an archival repository is through its website.

I’ve also attached it to this post, if anyone wants to read it.  I’m also going to maybe start posting here again more often, but I’ve said that before.

“Finding What, You Know?”: A Content Analysis of the Websites of Archival Repositories for Markers of Archival Intelligence

Update: Now updated with actual working link to my paper.