Today is National Australia Day, a yearly event that sees pubs fill up with Australians standing at empty bars and wondering why there is no one there to serve them.
Coinciding with this year's event is the plan to switch off the internet as a protest against government plans to, er, switch off the internet. On their web page, confusingly set up to spread the word, the organisers of Internet Blackout Day, write, "The Federal Government is pushing forward with a plan to force Internet Service Providers to censor the internet for all Australians. This plan will waste millions of dollars and won't make anyone safer."
"We stand to join a small club of countries which impose centralised Internet censorship such as China, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The secret blacklist may be limited to 'Refused Classification' content for now, but what might a future Australian Government choose to block?"
Anyone interested in joining the protests is asked to blackout their photo on social networking and other sites, while organisations and other groups have been urged to black out their web sites.
But, rather than totally switch off sites webmasters are asked to add a piece of code to the page that will significantly darken it. It will also add a banner for the blackout week, in order to further spread the campaign.
With increasing state enforced censorship of the web and resulting protests happening across the globe, 2010 has the potential to become a watershed year for the internet. The fallout from the hacking of Google and other firms' systems by Chinese ne'erdowells is set to roll on for months and was recently escalated by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks.
Back home, meanwhile, the controversial Clause 17 of the Digitial Economy bill has already drawn fierce criticism from all quarters, not least the ISPs who have branded it unworkable and the privacy protestors who see deep packet inspection as an affront to their civil liberties.
The desperate actions of governments to limit internet freedom of choice are unlikely to last forever, but the battles being fought over the coming year could prove to mark a decisive moment in the evolution of the web.
The Aussie campaign starts today and lasts for a week.
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