My latest article at PajamasMedia:
“Australia’s government nannies have officially banned 1,370 websites,” explains Levant, and anyone who links to a blacklisted site can be fined AUS$11,000 a day.
At first, though, the Australian government refused to tell anyone what these websites were, because that would violate its own ban. You’d only find out you’d broken the law after you linked to a banned site.
But, of course, the blacklist was duly leaked and published on a government watchdog site called Wikileaks. So now there are 1,370 banned sites in Australia — plus one: Wikileaks.
“The Australian blacklist wasn’t written by a court,” adds Levant, himself a lawyer. “There was no hearing where evidence was brought that these sites were criminal sites.”
For instance, poker-playing sites are heavily represented on the blacklist, even though such sites aren’t illegal. Most confusing is the inclusion of www.vanborkhorst.nl, a Dutch company that rents forklifts. (Who knows? Perhaps a dimwitted yet dirty-minded Aussie bureaucrat mistook the words “fork” and “poker” for something earthier.)