Australian Internet Censorship Plans Get Even Crazier

In what seems to be an under-reported twist to the plans for Australia to implement ISP-level “filtering”, comes a plan to ban all forms of tobacco advertising online

“The ever-present cigars mean Mr Reilly could now be in the sights of the federal government, which is expected today to put forward legislation banning all forms of tobacco advertising online.

“This legislation will bring restrictions on tobacco advertising on the internet into line with restrictions in other media,” the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, said.”

As pointed out in this article attacking this latest concept, the whole idea of the filter and the government controlling what is and is not online is just getting stupider and crazier.

Haven’t we been told for months and months and months by Senator Conroy that the filter would be “just about child pornography and other similar material”, and that there would be no scope creep?

Here’s your scope creep folks.

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  • The funny thing about the SMH article is it has caused the Streisand Effect to come in to full swing. @cameronreilly has seen an increase in the search for Perdomo cigars of over 4000% since yesterday morning.

    • Indeed.

      Nobody has ever confused the current government of having any understanding of cause and effect!

  • Isn’t it different, as tobacco advertising would not be filtered out by the filter, it’s an up front ban on that kind of advertising? The advertising will not be allowed to exist in the first place.

    • It is different, but it is also not different. You can ban a particular style of advertising, absolutely, but they can’t control it overseas. If an advertiser takes their hosting overseas, any Australian law to block it becomes ineffective.

      For example, I’m an Australian tobacco company, who gets lumbered with this ban. I start an account with an overseas online advertising agency, and start selling my ads.

      How does an Australian law stop someone from seeing that ad?

      • It’s not really based on an agency, it’s more ad networks, such as Google, which tends to serve ads locally, as it’s more relevant and targeted.

        Also, what has tended to happen is that when one country bans tobacco advertising or introduces new laws regulating it, other countries have soon followed. That’s why (the largely multinational) big tobacco companies fight it so vigorously in any one country. They have a long reach and deep pockets. Is there any such thing as an Australian tobacco company?

        • I take your point.Banning tobacco advertising in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the question is how they enforce it against the fact that the internet is not bounded by international borders.The internet does not stop when you reach the router in front of an overseas cable station.I remember when the tobacco sponsorship of sport in Australia was banned in 1995. Phillip Morris continued to sponsor a team in the then Australian Touring Car Championship under the guise of “Pack Leader”, even though the cars looked almost exactly like their previously “Peter Jackson” liveried cars, and people still knew exactly who was sponsoring them, despite there being no such thing as “Pack Leader” cigarettes.There will always be a way around it, and in the end their filter will be their fallback position.

          • I know, they are always trying to get around it. I remember at one agency I contracted at once they were making an interactive Flash car racing game with tobacco advertising in it. There are always new ways but it is becoming more and more restricted. There’s not much they are able to do now, and smoking rates have been going down.