The government is introducing a new rule that could force some Australians to make the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of net neutrality.
The rules, which were introduced this month, apply to all types of Internet service providers and all types or sites which access the Internet, regardless of what country they are based in.
The rule says all Internet content should be treated equally and there should be no difference between a site like Netflix and a site such as Spotify.
“The Federal Government believes that the Internet is a valuable public service that must be protected for all Australians, including Australians overseas,” the government said in a statement.
“This rule, which is aimed at protecting Australians from discrimination, interference and other harms, will help ensure that the Government remains an open and transparent regulator.”
The new rules apply to Australians who have been “registered with the Australian Government under the Telecommunications Act 1999”.
They apply to services provided by ISPs including iiNet, Optus, Telstra, Optic and Vodafone.
“The Government will ensure that any person who provides or provides access to an Internet service provider’s (ISP’s) website is treated equally by all ISPs,” the Government said.
“In particular, ISPs will have to comply with the obligations of the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Act 2003.”
All Australian internet users, regardless who they are, must be treated the same by all providers and any service provider should be required to provide an equal level of services.
“The government has not made a formal announcement on the new rules.
But the Federal Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, has said that the rules will allow Australians to access any content they want online.”
Australians have access to the internet without any limitations and without any interference,” he said.
And he has said the rules are not intended to be an “unreasonable” restriction.
The new rule has been welcomed by many internet users who believe that blocking access to certain websites would be an invasion of their privacy.
Many Australians have voiced their concerns on Twitter, and in comments sections of Australian newspapers.
For example, one user wrote: “It’s hard to see the harm here, the internet would be a much safer place if ISPs were obliged to provide equal access to all content.”