Australia is half the world away from the UK, and maybe that is why news seems to be reaching it surprisingly slowly these days: while the UK has all but given up on its attempts to introduce "porn block" for its citizens, Australia is pressing ahead with a similar plan.
And given its zeal when it comes to over-regulating the internet with little regard to user privacy, Australia might just succeed. The idea is to introduce age verification to keep minors from online pornography and betting parlors.
The problem with the plan - which was at times described as "one of the worst ideas ever" when the UK was looking for ways to implement it - is that it's near impossible to put to use in any manner that doesn't include drastic measures.
For example, users would have been forced to provide their real-world IDs and credit card details to verify their age. Australia is now breathing new life into the concept, that's been in the making in the UK for over two years and delayed countless times.
A parliamentary committee will be tasked with exploring what benefits such verification would have and how it might help "protect children online". The matter was referred to the committee by the Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator Anne Ruston and Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety, and the Arts, Paul Fletcher.
It's not the first time Australia has taken a leaf out of UK's book when it comes to stifling online freedoms: previously, the country modeled its laws regulating encryption on UK's Investigatory Powers Act, known as "Snooper's Charter," that gives spy agencies more power to conduct online surveillance.
But that's not all the news coming out of Australia and documenting the country sliding ever deeper into a privacy-unfriendly democracy, if that even makes sense. iTnews reports that police in Australia's state of Queensland wants to force telecommunications companies to keep user metadata for no less than seven years - compared to the current two years.
The police even argued that serious criminal cases remain unsolved because they now don't have access to this data for quite as long as they would like to.
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