For long Australia has been the one of the world leaders in adoption of Internet and its usage. But, so is it infamous for being the worst offenders in bad Internet policy. It has a track record to rival even America’s unprecedented indifference to Internet’s importance.
Australia is a pioneer in implementing crappy Internet rules. It brought a content based national firewall in 1993. Today, it insists on the laws of the Australian legislature wining the laws of mathematics, while taking on a role as the global leader in exporting mass surveillance.
Government of Australia holds a bad repute of cowardice and gratifying one of the most reactionary, fearful elements in the electorate such as discriminating against gay people or banning free speech for civil servants or running offshore concentration camps in which private contractors get to rape and abuse the inmates.
Soon, Australia’s dependence on the Internet and its official indifference to the gravitas of Internet regulation are going to collide. University of Sydney’s reports show that Australian population is much smarter than its leaders in terms of Internet. They have excellent intuition about risks of government, workplace and commercial surveillance. Moreover, they are concerned about importance of freedom of speech and online privacy; they even check the power of ISPs to warp net neutrality into network discrimination.
And there is more to come as this phenomenon is going only up. Australians are going to experience the bad outcomes from bad Internet policies. As a consequence, Australians demand more and more of them will want sensible and principled Internet rules.
These are the recommended amendments for the Internet policies.
- The first fear of Australians is breach of privacy of the Internet by corporations. About half of the respondents were concerned about government’s invasion in their privacy. The government and companies have to work on this in order to make the online environment trustworthy.
- The government of Australia should consider adopting recommendations from the recent Australian Law Reform Commission and Australian Productivity Commission inquiries. This will give more power to the Australians over their data and enforceable legal rights in privacy.
- Another concern is use of data, and some use of data analytics by advertisers are beyond the pale –especially in electoral sphere. Online platforms should consider these concerns and fix them.
- Another major problem is digital privacy rights while at work in Australians. Policies about employment relations need to protect the workers from prospective or current employers accessing the private social media data.
- Australians are also prepared to trade-off some privacy between and other interest. But current policy collects the data using My Health Record or a Digital ID program. Australians are not much comfortable with it.
- New forms of work are introduced in Australia because of gig economy, which is driven by online platforms. Australians want to see this precarious work better get regulated with proper employment policies.