Kennesaw State University

Internet Filtering in Australia

censorship1When one thinks of a government filtering internet content, he/she quickly thinks of China. The communist country has been the source of numerous studies that have shown its resolute determination to block websites that discuss human rights, border issues, and even social networking. According to Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society:

• Iran, China, and Saudi Arabia not only filter a wide range of topics, but also block a large amount of content related to those topics;
• South Korea’s filtering efforts are very narrow in scope, but heavily censor one topic, North Korea;
• Countries engaged in substantial politically-motivated filtering include: Burma, China, Iran, Syria, Tunisia, and Vietnam;
• Saudi Arabia, Iran, Tunisia, and Yemen engage in substantial social content filtering;
• Burma, China, Iran, Pakistan and South Korea have the most encompassing national security filtering, targeting the websites related to border disputes, separatists, and extremists;

What is interesting, however, is that a surprising new country can now be added to the list.   Australia conducted trials earlier this year to test a filtering program that would block selected URL’s. Led by Senator Conroy, the goal of the program is to block sites that are considered sexually inappropriate.   He says some internet content is simply not suitable in a civilized society.

“It is important that all Australians, particularly young children, are protected from this material…The Government believes that parents want assistance to reduce the risk of children being exposed to such material.”

The government said Tuesday that it will introduce the legislation next year. Critics say it will not prevent determined users from sharing such content, and could lead to unwarranted censorship by overzealous officials.

Many will remember an incident last year when six UK ISP’s blocked Wikipedia altogether.  The reason for the entire website being added to a blacklist is this page, an article on Virgin Killer, a 1976 heavy-metal album by the German rock band Scorpions.  The cover art, with a history of controversy since its release, was deemed inappropriate by the British Internet Watch Foundation.

This comes on the foot heels of President Barack Obama’s talk last month in Shanghai in which he criticized internet censorship.

The future of Social Media in 2010

Content measurement, relevance and quality are the key to the coming year.  There will be a surge in companies adopting social media platforms and demanding ROI.  Look for new geo-tagging applications to help people find each other on the move with their mobile devices. Read Write Web predicts 10 changes for 2010.   

Want to know more? Come to SoCon10.

Social Network Nightmares

Miley Cyrus is the queen of social network nightmares.  The provocative photos that she posted on her myspace went viral, causing a stir around the world.  And recently here in Atlanta, a teacher was fired for posting photos of herself on Facebook simply holding alcoholic beverages. With 87% of Americans now using a social networking site, perhaps we should learn from these stories to self-censor.

CareerBuilder’s latest survey found that 45% of employers are using social media to look for potential employees.  An additional 11% are using these sites to perform background checks.

So, should there be a separation between our personal and professional lives or do these social networking sites provide an invaluable tool for employers to screen potential employees so that they can ensure their brand is protected from Cyrus-like drama?  I caught up with a few folks to find out.

Obama has “never used Twitter”

6a00d8341c630a53ef012875ababdc970c-300wiDo you follow President Obama on Twitter? No, you don’t. The President admitted on Sunday, speaking to a young audience in Shanghai, that he has never used Twitter.

“I have never used Twitter, but I’m an advocate of technology and not restricting Internet access,” Obama said during the town hall. “My thumbs are too clumsy to type in things on the phone.”

Obama was elected largely due to his creative and innovative internet campaign that leveraged YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts to reach millions of voters. According to a NYtimes article, these accounts have been taken over by the Democratic National Committee.