Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Your Rights Online

Draconian Censorship Push In South Australia 354

Posted by timothy
from the bowlderization- dept.
Diabolus writes: "Australian IT are reporting that the South Australian Government are about to pass a bill which mandates censorship of the Internet. Discussion of any "adult themed" content online now about to be outlawed - effectively anything worthy of an 18+ rating. Not only do Web pages fall under its scope, but also newsgroups and publicly archived mailing lists. Offshore content is also subject to this legislation if controlled by a South Australian. As a resident of SA, my freedom of speech is about to disappear ..."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Draconian Censorship Push In South Australia

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well Australia doesn't have the same 'freedom of speech' focus that the American constitution does. We also have much stricter laws on guns than the US does also, which IMHO is a very good thing.

    Is this all-out ban on Adult content a bad thing? Possibly, but it -is- consistent with pornography laws throughout the country that prevents strong pornographic material being distributed in most states (barring the country's capital, go figure).

    Australia needs a federal review of it's pornography laws that legalise distribution of pornographic material so that it can be better regulated, and the internet laws need to be consistent with other laws on pornography.

    Some level of control is sensible, inconsistent or overly-strict laws are self-defeating.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I could see how Breast Exam sites might promote criminal behavior, someone might be tempted to commit random exams at a womens swimsuit photo shoot.
  • Just an idea - why not implement a system like that's being used for peer-to-perr file transfer for web data? Take something like freenet, then run your http traffic through it, encrypted. Then, not only is the traffic encrypted, but the location isn't known to the sender or reciever of the information, making it almost impossible to track or censor the information. It's kind of sad that we need to do that, but maybe these kind of draconian actions will force us hackers to come up with something that will protect our freedom in spite of (unjust) laws.

    Combine this with a drive that's got a hard crypto filesystem, and you're sitting pretty. Just get 'em before they have content locks in the firmware! :).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Wasn't Australia the island where the british sent all their criminals and other "anti-social" people to get rid of them ?

    Only after they had to stop sending them to the North American colonies.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The SA police are the most anti-fun, anti-pleasure police in all of Australia. SA residents should take this very seriously indeed!!

    That doesn't surprise me. I saw a documentary once on the roving street gangs they have there. If I were a cop, I'd be pretty tight-assed, too if some guy calling himself Lord Humungus was terrorizing locals with his band of wheeled thugs.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Now it's free speech. Same as in Britain, now well on its way to becoming a police state. No surprise there.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    No, you've got that a little wrong. Let me fix it for you.

    It's tough to keep
    criminals from taking away all your rights when us law-abiding citizens can't stop them shooting us from a distance of half a mile.

    If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. What don't you understand? Outlaws, by definition, don't obey laws...what makes you think gun laws will disarm them? And do you really expect a call to 911 to save you when a madman with a 12-gauge is pounding down your door? The police are only going to clean up after the fact.

    Self-defense, plain and simple. More gov't, more laws, more restrictions to freedom ... they are not the answer.

    -ChristTrekker

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 19, 2001 @11:29PM (#418528)
    You don't actually have a constitutional right to free speech. The best that can be argued is that you have an implied right under common law.

    This implied right to freedom of speech already is limited under various state and federal laws - for example, libel and slander are illegal. In states such as NSW there are anti-vilification laws under which you can be punished if you publish material that could be deemed to incite hatred or violence.

    I know that some of the American libertarian types out there may not like this - but I look at it this way, when speech is as 'free' as it is in the US, it basically becomes meaningless. At least in Australia, because we don't traditionally talk about having a 'right' to 'free speech' as such, it seems that we value using our speech wisely and responsibly _as well as_ valuing the freedom that we do have to speak our minds.

    This is not to say that our governments don't occasionally pass some stupid laws... Hmm... don't you guys have an election this year? If so, make mandatory internet filtering an election issue. Think of it this way, a goodly chunk of the Bible would be filtered/banned! I am sure that those forces that are pushing for such filtering aren't aware that the GoodBook(tm) would also become invisible to kiddies..

  • Konquerer can be any browser you tell it to be. Opera has a similar feature.
  • Blimey, only a few posts in and already this discussion is officially declared dead by Godwin's Law.

    Note that Godwin's Law, like Sturgeon's Law and Moore's Law, are not actually what the named person said. Godwin said that Nazis will be mentioned as a flame war goes on, not that it signifies the death of the argument. Sturgeon said "90% of everything is crud", not "crap" (although in this case, the meaning is retained.) Moore talked about transistor count doubling every 18 months, not processor speed.

    I wonder what Murphy actually said?
  • Lawyers and judges look at intent all the time though. Intent is the only difference between many lesser crimes and their greater counterparts. Manslaughter and murder, for example. What is being created through the hate-crime laws is another level of crime, above our most severe crimes now. Now, if they can come up with enough evidence of your intent to blow up that gay pub because you hate gays, you are guilty of a crime greater than murder one. I'm really on the fence on this one. We already have several possible crimes that you can be convicted of if you kill someone. One part of me says, "Who cares if we have one more?" On the other hand, I'm afraid of how this could be abused (as most laws eventually are). I guess I think that if you can convict someone of murder one, then they'll be punished enough. Anything more than that is overkill (NPI, I live in Texas).

  • We had our gun rights restricted because a lot of us wanted it to be that way. Unlike the United States, we see little need to "bear arms" as individuals - and the history of our country is one of reasonable peace and stability.
    Hmm, just like most people have little need for source code as individuals? I wonder if there's any correlation between the rise in violent crime in the UK since they banned guns, and the relative buginess of Windows vs. FreeBSD...
  • Marijuana is decriminalized and all that.

    Oh. So that's the cause for such laws. Now I see.
    Is smoking dope mandatory for legislative bodies' members or just a traditional habit?

    There's a lot of articles about "smoking dope makes your worse driver/student/whatever". Now we can make a case about "smoking dope makes you stupid legislator" too.
  • This is an obvious piece of karma whoring, everyone here knows that censorship is bad.

    --

  • More information about the South Australian proposals, and some action suggestions, can be found here [efa.org.au].

    Danny.

  • Are you insane?

    As a British subject I don't really have a choice (Until Scotland declares independance and becomes a republic) but you Auzzies *voted* to remain subjects!

  • SpunkJunkie: software blocking access to the holocaust museum because it mentions the Nazis

    Blimey, only a few posts in and already this discussion is officially declared dead by Godwin's Law [nitro.co.za]

    Look, this whole discussion is bollocks.

    Different countries have a right to censor their little patch of the net any which way they like. As techies, we all know it's pointless, but we aren't going to change any minds, so why not just let them get on with it and discover that it's pointless for themselves?

    --

  • I was shocked to learn Canada did exactly the same thing for native americans in the west coast, a couple of days ago in a TV documentary about a wood carver in BC.

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • by MouseR (3264) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @04:05AM (#418539) Homepage
    Yeah well, thats Islam for you, a religion still stuck in the middle ages.

    ...er... christianity is stucked in the antique age ... is it not?

    ' far as I know, the only "modern" religion is Pokemon.

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • Well the essential difference is that Americans generally believe (when they think about it at all, and don't take it for granted) that people have a natural right to free speech, which derives from how people fundementally are. (i.e. deriving from God, nature, universe, whatever)
    The First Amendment doesn't grant that right, as it's already present, but it is a guarantee that the government cannot infringe upon that right.
    By the (imho pretty damn good) standard of natural rights, Aussies have them too; everyone does. It's just a matter of getting the government to respect them, not to grant them at its lesiure.
  • All us geeks and nerds should band together and collectively abolish the word "Internet" from out vocabulary and instead replace it with the words "efficient communication" (or something like that).

    You're deluding yourself about the purity of their motives if you really think that'd make any difference at all.

    -----

  • Oh, you mean like PICS ratings?
    See:
    http://www.w3.org/PICS/
    http://www.rsac.org/
    http://home.netscape.com/comprod/products/commun ic ator/netwatch/
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/Ie/Features/Con te ntAdv/default.asp
  • I know what you mean, Godwin's Law and all that, but censorship is the beginning of a slippery slope; it is indicative of a repressive regime that may, if unchecked, move on to greater excesses. They do, after all, have a poor record with regard to Aboriginal rights, as does the USA re. native Indians and other coloureds, and as do we re. Jews (the Nazis didn't invent anti-semitism, you know, King Edward I was one of the pioneers of that field).
  • Try here: http://www.hithere.com/murphy/origin.htm [hithere.com] although it doesn't actually say. I think it went something like "If something can be done a right way and a wrong way, someone's going to do it the wrong way".
  • Long time exile from Oz here, wondering
    if that is related to SA being the
    first state to get this daft.
  • The point I would like to make is this: I don't own any guns, but if I want to have one I want to be able to buy one.

    You namby-pamby we will not take away my rights to own a weapon, I will not give in. I am a free man, born and raised in a country settled by free men who came in with guns and killed most of the free men that were already here killing each other with sticks.

    The point isn't whether guns help defend you against any particular form of attack, or if they're dangerous to have around, or if some people will use them to do horrible things to each other (you forgot to mention in another post that the recent "armed massacres" in Africa were mostly accomplished with clubs and machetes rather than guns)... the point is, are you going to be a free man and take responsibility for trying to make your community a safer place with actual work and communication? Or will you give in to the chickenshits who would trade your freedoms for "safety" under the oh-so-protective wing of legislation?

    The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion.

  • Gosh tarkas, thanks for providing a much better response than I could ever manage. :)

    The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion.

  • by BrookHarty (9119) on Monday February 19, 2001 @11:24PM (#418555) Homepage Journal
    Nobody wanted to see pornography or paedophilia online, but the proposed bill was unworkable, Adelaide internet consultant and educator Brenda Aynsley said.

    Speak for yourself! Wheres the pr0n?


  • And what happens when the government controls culture?
    And what happens when private corporations controls culture?

    --

  • by kimba (12893) on Monday February 19, 2001 @11:06PM (#418564)
    Come move to Western Australia.. our draconian net censorship laws came into effect years ago. Back then they hadn't thought of half the things that they have decided to ban in SA!
  • Good point - what we really need now is the right to reverse-engineer and the right to strong encryption.

    Although I agree with the right to bear arms, I have to point out that the amount of firepower in the hands of private citizens isn't necessarily the determining factor in winning a resistance to a corrupt U.S. government - the citizens of Vietnam did wonders with much simpler equipment, for example. Of course you're going to lose against tanks if you make a stand from an armed compound; but the U.S. government doesn't have a large enough standing army to withstand a widespread guerrilla movement which has popular support. I'm not sure that any size of standing army could effectively control the U.S. against a unified, unhappy populace, but then again it seems to work in China.

    Not that I'm fomenting a revolution, but I see how it could be done. As did Thomas Jefferson, etc.

  • Internet censorship has technical solutions.

    And technical solutions can be legislated against...

    Cheers,

    Tim
  • I say nominal cause the fact is that without serious firepower far in excess of what is allowed into private hands, there's no way that any group of people could seriously mount any sort of resistance against the US military. See Waco.

    Actually, that is pretty much not true. Waco is not a good example, because a small group like that, short of nuclear weapons could never expect to take down a government. On the other hand if there were hundreds of such groups with a common cause against the government, spread across a large area, then the government would have a serious problem. If those groups were able to get widespread popular support, then the government would be in a world of trouble. While an organized military stands a good chance against any small encampment or bunker of people, they tend to have real problems fighting a large scale guerilla war.
    The North Vietnamese were able to beat the US despite being totally outmatched for weapons and equipment, and would have eventually done so even without Russian and/or Chinese support (just as they beat the French largely without significant outside backing).
    The Afghans beat the Soviets similarly, and with very little assistance from us and with much more primitive weapons and what they stole from the Russians.
    During the fall of the Soviet Union, people loyal to Boris Yeltsin used privately owned weapons to defend Yeltsin's compound, and the Soviets didn't have a good record on gun freedom (although it wasn't totally impossible to legally own anything like it is in the UK or Australia).
    The Zapatistas down in central Mexico have been giving the government there fits for years, and they hardly have any backing at all, and they have been doing it in a country with draconian (although like anything in Mexico, poorly enforced) gun control.
    And for an example closer to home, although not so recent... The Confederacy, though ultimately unsuccessful, was able to fight for a long time and inflict significant damage to the Union during the Civil War, and they made extensive use of privately owned arms. And no, I don't believe in slavery...

    One thing you don't seem to take into account... In a guerilla war, the standing army becomes the rebel's supply line, so eventually what the army has, the rebels have. There are hundreds of thousands of military trained citizens in the US, many of whom have guerilla and counter-insurgency training. And for that matter, how easy is it for a standing army to take on people who look, talk and think like themselves? In numbers, if the military were to be used against civilians in this country, desertion would be widespread. How many soldiers if not whole units might change side if they thought that they were defending the constitution and the people against a corrupt government?

    This whole 'the people wouldn't stand a chance against the government' thing comes up every time that gun control is mentioned, and it just doesn't fly.

  • Africa is full of countries where the citizens are well armed and, guess what, it makes for a living hell.>

    I don't think that is what makes those countries a living hell. It is more likely massive scale poverty. Even in African countries with long running civil wars, you are more likely to die of malnutrition or from AIDS or other diseases than you are to be killed with a firearm.

    But why go to Africa when you can go to LA? There are parts of US cities where gun ownership is very high and, guess what, it makes for a living hell.

    California already has much more strict gun control than most of the rest of the country, and it has a worse crime problem than average too. There is no reason to think that more legislation will help. They can't seem to enforce what is already on the books. The same thing seems to hold true elsewhere in the country. The more gun control that is enacted, the more crime. Washington D.C. should be your ideal place to live, as guns are almost completely illegal to own there. Guess what, it has an order of magnitude more murders than does Arlington, VA, which is right across the river, has similar ethnic and economic demographics and where guns are legal. States in the midwest, for example which have little gun control, and a much higher per-capita gun ownership rate have sigificantly lower crime and murder rates than do east and west coast cities with extensive gun control laws.

    The German example is actually a good illustration of where the NRA would like to go

    Actually, that is a blatantly slanderous assertion. The NRA is actually very anti-fascist. Hitler was a big proponent of gun control, especially for Jews. The Nazi position on gun control and the 'pinko' one is basically the same: only the government should have guns. For that matter in the long run, the only difference between fascists and stalinists is the order in which they will remove all of your rights and the rhetoric they will use to try to justify doing it. In the end the average guy gets screwed.

  • The difference in the NRA's intent and the result of their actions is important. I'm sure most members do not understand that what they are doing is leading down the road a fascist state.

    I still don't see any sort of reasonable evidence that anything the NRA is doing is leading towards a fascist state. Things the previous (very anti-NRA) administration were doing (Clipper, key escrow, burning cult members, gutting the bill of rights) certainly seem more in line with 'leading down the road of a fascist state'.

    A fascist state (in post-nazi terms) is one where the strong rule.

    That is far too simplistic a definition to be useful.

    Guns make people stronger, but only in attack. To use the strength a gun gives you requires it's use or the threat to use it (and the threat must be backed up occasionally by actual use). This leads to the fascist position where if you dislike what someone says to you you just shoot them (so much for freedom of speech!), which Hitler actively encouraged amoungst "true ayrans".

    Oh, please. That is about as much of a stretch as it would take to span the grand canyon. Presence of a gun, and the willingness to use it (in self defense, or the defense of others) does not necessarily lead to unrestricted mayhem in the streets as you would lead people to believe. There are several states which have liberalized concealed carry laws (often enacted, as in Florida, in order to eliminate racism in the permit issuance system) and they have actually seen a decrease in violent crime since it has become easier and more fair to get a concealed carry permit.

    Legal gun owners tend to be much more responsible than illegal owners. Most of the violent crime is committed by people with previous felony convictions, who are already prohibited from firearms possession. The government can't stop criminals from importing thousands if not millions of tons of drugs into the country, how can they keep them from getting guns?

    A well run democracy is a far better solution to a society's troubles than arming everyone and hoping they'll all get along.

    A well run democracy isn't incompatible with firearms ownership. The US didn't have any significant problems with that until prohibition (no, the 'wild west' is almost entirely fictional and exaggerated) threw things out of balance. Once prohibition was repealed the gang violence problem dissapated. Things didn't start falling apart again until drug prohibition started becomming a problem. We should learn from history and figure out the 'war on drugs' isn't working, and isn't going to work. It has basically turned into a war on the bill of rights, and it is what is leading the US on the road to fascism, if anything.

  • From an incredibly high base. Look at countries where gun control is enacted and compare the number of fatal shootings. On a per capita basis there are few states in the US which aren't worse than Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles in the 70s.

    I guess I am fortunate enough to live in one of those states, however, I tend to doubt your statistics a little when it comes to total violent crime rates. Or at least just comparing the number of shootings is not the only thing to consider. Having been in the US during the 70s and now, I'd much rather be here than in Northern Ireland, thank you very much. I've never been to Ireland, but I've been to the UK, and I can't say that I felt any more safe there than I do where I live.

    If everyone has a gun then every criminal will have a gun with which to be irresponsible. Not a great help.

    Who said anything about everyone. Felons would be excepted, very few people would disagree with that. If a large share of everyone else might be armed at any given time, felons would have to be much more careful with what they did. Besides that if the criminals have guns now, then increasing the number of honest citizens that do is improving the odds. Switzerland for example actually requires firearms possession and training for many of their citizens, and they have a lower violent crime rate than the UK or Australia.

    Yes it is.

    We will have to disagree on this one then.

    The freedom to say what you like without living in fear of being shot is part of having a democracy.

    I say what I like now and I don't fear being shot, and I live in a state with relatively few gun control laws. Many places with strict gun control laws (like the UK or Australia) I would be much more fearful of saying what I like for fear of being jailed, if not shot.
    I don't think that a widely armed populace would lead to people being gunned down in the streets over words, or we'd see it happening already, and we don't. The vast majority of our violent crime is related to the marketing of illegal drugs.

    Guns are not the only weapons but they are among the best.

    Guns are only a tool, and as such they can be used for good or bad.

    Kennedy was shot, Lincoln was shot, Reagan was shot. How much harder would it be to have stabbed them, and how much better would their chances of survival have been?

    Well, Reagan did survive. What would their chances have been if the assassins chose to use suicide bombers? There is no 100% way to avoid political assasinations.

    Arguments will always lead to some violence, it is better to limit the potential of that violence even at the "risk" of making a fanciful future rebellion a bit more fanciful.

    The benefits of firearms ownership outweigh that though, for all of the few people who are shot every year, guns are used by law abiding citizens to prevent crimes many more times. And if you ban guns, then your arguments will revert back to the physically strongest always having the upper hand, so its not really that big of a win.

    Mainly in duration, it was pretty wild but not for very long.

    The wild west has been grossly exaggerated in both duration and intensity. As in other places where there is or have been very little civilization, you would be far more likely to die of disease than from a gunshot in the 'wild west'. The biggest killers in those days were influenza and cholera. Drunk driving these days kills an order of magnitude more people than do gunshot wounds. Deaths due to smoking related illnesses kill far more than that. You don't see me calling for a return of prohibition or a ban on tobacco.

    This is true but are you going to get a gun and go tell congress to sort it out? How long would you last?

    As I've said before, one person can't stand alone against the government.

    Would it make any difference if everyone who thought that way went with you (with guns)?

    Getting that number of people (somewhere around 76 million gun owners in the US according to what I've read) to agree on much of anything would be a challenge. Anything that you could, would provide a force to be reckoned with.

    Do you think the 60's riots would have got faster results if the civil rights protesters had had guns, our would there just have been a lot more dead people?

    There is no question that if the 60's protesters had been armed, then the riots would have been over and resolved much more quickly, one way or the other. There might have been a less death and destruction if the riots hadn't lasted on and off for 5 or 6 years, but that is hard to say. Believe it or not, most people think twice before they arm themselves and go into a situation like that.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @12:37AM (#418579) Homepage

    Still, there remain stupid poiticians in the government there (as well as just about everywhere else in the world, which is not unexpected, since usually one has to be stupid to be a politician). You could try working on expunging the stupid ones, if it is the case that their numbers are low enough to make this practical.

  • by shirro (17185) on Monday February 19, 2001 @11:55PM (#418581) Homepage
    Don't stress folks. I live in SA and I can tell you now that there are no storm troopers out the window.

    SA was amongst the first places in the world to give women a vote, gave rights to aborigines before most other states etc. Marijuana is decriminalized and all that. Good food and wine, lots of motor sports, great climate - could be worse.

    The government here is mostly powerless and these sorts of laws are unenforcable. Anarchy is just around the corner anyway.

    So chill out. People should be more concerned about concentration of media ownership and draconian defamation laws in Australia. Internet censorship has technical solutions.

  • ...and they lost most of their gun rights too a couple years ago...Amazing how those tend to come one right after the other.

    The US still has the right to bear arms. And what's happened there? "Lobbyists" from major corporations and other well-financed organisations providing bribes thinly disguised as "campaign contributions" to get some laws passed and other laws defeated. What do Americans have as a result? The Digital Millenium Copyright Act. UCITA. Communications Decency Act (which got defeated). Anti-spam bills being rejected in committee. Schools and libraries that receive federal funding being required to install censorware or forfeit their funding.

    Not to mention Florida's farcical election result. That made American democracy a worldwide laughingstock because the US lacks a uniform national organisation to administer national elections in a consistent manner.

    So it's clear that the availability of guns has nothing to do with the quality of legislation that's passed or the quality of government. How are they to help? Are we going to see thousands of rednecks with guns storming Congress and forcing Congressmen to pass or defeat laws at gunpoint?

    One thing that many Americans don't understand is that the Port Arthur massacre of 1995 and the Hoddle Street and Queen Street massacres of 1987 are not normal events here in Australia. As a result, the community would rather see tighter and more uniform gun laws than run the risk of more such events. You can still get guns in Australia if you have the appropriate licence. Because you don't need an AK-47 to shoot rabbits and other vermin, you can't buy an AK-47 over the counter anymore. After all, you can't eat a pink mist.

    Students here in Australia go to school without being required to pass through metal detectors. I can walk down to the local shops after dark without fear. Our leaders do not need elaborate security precautions before appearing in public. These are some of the reasons why American visitors to the Olympics were correctly advised that Australia was a safer country to visit than the US.

    --
  • You trust too much: what gurantees that your goverment will not allow it in the future if there is not a legal frame that specificaly stops the goverment to meddle with the minds of the people?

    Simple. Any government that went too far would lose the next election, very likely the election after that, and would lose control in the Senate as well. The threat of such voter backlash is what keeps our governments in line. This can become the case in S.A., because an election is due there sometime in the next 12 to 15 months.

    Conservative politicians are very nervous here in Australia right now. Last weekend, there was a state election in Queensland. The conservatives were hammered so badly that between them, the two major conservative parties in Queensland look like taking only a dozen seats between them in an 89-seat parliament, with minor parties and independents taking about another 10 seats.

    It's worth pointing out that SA has a conservative Government at the moment.

    --
  • You're sixteen, huh? Bad luck. You get to vote at 18, but chances are you'll have to wait until you're 22 or so before you vote at your first state election, because the next state election is due in SA in the next 12 to 15 months, and you may not be of voting age then.

    I think this law will make it onto the Dumb Laws website [dumblaws.com], http://www.dumblaws.com/. In fact, if I was you, I would send an e-mail and nominate this law as soon as it's passed.

    --
  • [rant mode | on]
    Why can't software developers take it upon themselves to integrate a web filter into their browsers as a standard component? If all browsers had a content-screening feature enabled as a default, wouldn't this would keep governments at bay and empower parents who normally find it impossible to monitor everything their children see on the internet?
    Would this solve everthing? Absolutely not, but modifying the vehical for which children and sensitive people view psychologically harmful material is a start.
    [rant mode | off]
  • You see, guns aren't actually necessary for most people.... Oh yes they are. Any day now the Indonesian and Japanese are going to come down through the Top End (assuming of course that aren't eaten by the crocodiles, snakes, spiders,... general nasties that us Aussies have in all of our backyards, fighting for room with the kangaroos, koalas and the BBQ with the shrimp on it), and the only way to stop these invaders is the good old shotgun... Actually, there are those in rural Australia that do believe this to be true, and have secret caches of weapons in case this does occur. I kid you not. This is also the areas where One Nation does well in member support. yeah,...the nationals are sticking up for us enough... we need guns cause the army would save us, and the yanks won't save us.... Just as Bruce Ruskin (?) head of the Victorian RSL....
  • Are you an idiot or just a troll?

    Name one time in the past 300 or so years when the US Government has reversed a decision because some citizens had guns.

    Democracies and democratic republics make decisions based on what's popular to most people, or at least to a vocal minority. They don't care if the people are armed or not, they care about how many votes they get at the next election.

    Do you honestly doubt that if the US government thought it was popular enough they'd find a way to limit people's access to "naughty things"? They'd do it if it seemed to them that enough people supported them. If a small vocal minority disagreed with them, it wouldn't matter much. If that small vocal minority had guns, it woudn't matter much. If that small vocal minority used their guns they would be either arrested or killed.

    Face it, "the right to bear arms" is an anchronism. A small group armed with rifles has about as much chance of affecting political change as an email to the whitehouse.

    If you want to make a difference you need a lot of supporters or a lot of money. A lot of guns will just get you killed.

  • by biz2024 (30628) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @05:03AM (#418610)
    I don't know what you people are getting so mad about. I think having sensors on the internet would be a great idea! I mean if a router goes down or something is wrong the "sensors" would indicate it just like a car and then....

    Hey! Wait a minute... It's "censor", not "sensor"?

    WELL THAT'S JUST FU*CKING ..........<BSSSSSSST>

    <<Connection blocked by South Australia Gov.>>
    <<Resume your pleasurable internet experience!>>
  • 300 years???

    The declaration of independence was drafted in 1776. The constitution, the charter which incorporated the US government, was drafted in 1788 and ratified a few years later.

    2001
    -1788
    ------
    213

    Do the math.

    Prior to this the america was governed under the articles of confederation. Prior to this each colony was an independent entity subject to british rule.

    As for the rest, it is not small vocal groups that gives the second amendment teeth, it is LARGE vocal groups, aka the american people as a whole. Firearms are a guarantee against tyrrany because they put real power into the hands of each citizen of this country. If someone or some group were to come along and try to disenfranchise the people, they wouldn't get too far before bullets would start flying. I'll take a civil war to defend freedom over peace at the cost of my freedom any day of the week.

    Lee Reynolds
  • This has to be one of the most stupid ideas I've ever heard. Just how many people are taking up arms against the US Government over the DeCSS or Napster issues? What would happen if someone decided to organize an armed overthrow of the government?

    I'll tell you - they would last about 5 seconds. In fact, why don't you take your gun into the court room, or to the white house and see what happens? Bet you don't change the law.

    Saying that the first amendment was put in place to facilitate armed overthrow of the elected government is daft. It was put there (if you read your American history) as a safeguard against foreign invasion in a time when communication was somewhat less rapid than it is today.

    Personally I like having the right to expect someone else in the street not to be armed in Australia, and I fail to understand why Americans continually deny themselves that right. Of course, you may indeed choose whatever rights you like - that's the point of democracy and I'll help defend democracy even if I don't believe in the specifics of each nation's laws. I just like having the right to cut someone off in traffic accidentally and not have to worry as much about being shot. I like that. If you've never lived here for any length of time then you have no right, and no perspective to criticise our FREE choice to not arm our citizens.
  • Is there a chance of your legislators pulling their heads out of their arses, if all the ISPs in South Australia simply shut off their routers for a day, or a week, or however long it takes to make the point?

    You could always claim that you simply can't operate in the current legal climate.

    -jcr
  • What SA did (arguably) was to refrain from infringing on the rights of the aborigines sooner than the rest of the country, but please don't make the mistake of believing that your rights are given by your country.

    Rights are not a gift of the state.

    -jcr
  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @03:37AM (#418623) Journal

    You said that the right to bear arms doesn't *exist* in other countries. I'd say that the right exists everywhere, the question is which countries do or do not prohibit their government from infringing on that right. The constitution of the USA specifically enjoins our government from trying to take away our means to defend ourselves, but they keep on trying.

    The constitution doesn't *grant* any rights at all. It is merely a statement of our *intention* to preserve our rights, which are intrinsic to free people.

    The right to bear arms is one's right to self-defense, whether from criminals, governments (I know, same thing), or even wild animals.

    -jcr
  • You don't actually have a constitutional right to free speech. The best that can be argued is that you have an implied right under common law.

    There was a supreme court decision about ten years ago which set the precedent that the use of the word "democracy" in the Australian constitution implied right to freedom of speech, as it pertains to government and politics. (That is, you have the right to comment about the the government, laws and politics in general.)

    I therefore intend to comment about these new laws in the strongest "MA 15+ (strong coarse language)" rated terms. :-)

  • Oh, here's the problem:

    The federal law treats all internet content as film, and requires material to be rated by the Office of Film and Literature Classification accordingly...

    They refuse to see the internet as a new medium. In fact, look at the name of that government department: the office of film and literature. Sounds kind of like they did the same thing with film a few decades ago.

    The main problem as I see it is that the internet, more than either film or literature, breaks down the producer/consumer wall - for a low low cost, we can all be both producers AND consumers of web content. Which makes it almost more like one big phone call, rather than one big film.

    But the thing is, I don't want to use that metaphor, either. The internet is something new, and should be recognized as such. As Dr. Lessig said at BayFF earlier this month, the whole point of the internet is that it's smart at the ends and dumb in the middle; the protocols can be used for anything that people think to do with them, unlike the phone, where it's centrally switched and you do exactly what they say with it, or film, where the barrier to entry is so high that it's just not practical to make your own movies.

    The internet gives people the capability to figure out new ways to use it, ways that never would have worked with older media. Central control would only ruin this, and this censorship plan would pretty much necessitate central control. It may be too late for southern australia, but everyone else should be ringing up your congresspeople or MPs right now to tell them what you think and help them understand the real issues at hand.

  • by ghmh (73679) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @01:48AM (#418641)
    ....but when are govts. going to realise they cannot censor the Internet...

    I don't think there's any easy way to avoid this sort of happening ever, its where democracy fails at its grandest. Even in Australia politicians are... well, politicians. You vote for the one you think is going to do the least damage and all you can do after that is hope.

    (ie. One of the annoying potential side effects of voting for people who you agree with on A, B, C, D and E doesn't mean they're going to agree with your opinion on point F, and in fact may do exactly the opposite. (Not that I know anything about SA's state politics)).

    IMHO, There should be some sort of common sense check before these inane laws are passed. Like:

    • Who's going to enforce this legislation?
    • Can they do it? If not, is it easy to bring them up to speed?
    • Is it easy enough / clear cut enough to enforce?
    • Is it cost justified? (Or will attempting to enforce it cost the taxpayers heaps?)

    This proposed change (and many others) obviously fail to meet the above criteria (at least according to me), and this is before we even get to the censorship issue!

    Considering (common sense != politics) so the only (not particularly good) option is to move to a different state more in alignment with your views, which in turn concentrates people of the same type (eg. Very pro gun vs pro religion states in the US, for all I know they might both be the case in some states).

    Vaguely related fact: The capital of South Australia (Adelaide) is known as the 'city of churches' as it has more per capita than any of the other Australian states / territories. (Fortunately in my case I'm from Sydney).

    More ironic fact: The most 'liberal' state / territory in Australia in terms of censorship etc. is actually the one the capital (Canberra, not Sydney) is in. - The ACT (or Australian Capital Territory). This is the state that you can order your pr0n from, and has the least restraining drug penalties, least censorship etc. etc. Of course, this is where the majority of the politicians work and hang out a lot of the time. Coincidence? I think not....

  • This is true, but it has to be viewed in the context of the times. The 50's was a time in which people were less cynical of government than today, and hence were more willing to believe that civil servants were to be trusted unquestioningly.

    For their part, the government agencies genuinely believed that aboriginal babies were better off taken from their village surroundings and put with white families. This was based on the facts that education, healthcare and opportunities were better elsewhere.

    Of course, I am not condoning this practice in any way, just presenting their justification for it, until it was abandoned in the late 60's.

  • Being only sixteen, you wouldn't have known at first hand that SA used to astonish the rest of Australia with its enlightened outlook. The first state of Australia to give women the vote. The first state in Australia to have a nudist beach. The first state to permit a wide range of behaviours which were illegal at the time in other states. The first to decriminalise marijuana for personal use.

    But during the last 10 years, we have turned into the ``Wowser State''. We're the kind of place that is pitied by our neightbours now. I think that when the economy of a State goes downhill, the creative and enlightened people leave, and only the people without the skills required to emmigrate are left. So you end up with things going further and further downhill. In both Australia and the USA, the most wealthy States are the most tolerant, more or less. SA is becoming poorer and poorer now. So I see no hope in sight.

  • Woo, so kiddie porn is only considered certificate X over there? I thought almost everywhere else it was outright banned!

    (P.S. Don't rush to correct, I know it's not true, but just poor wording)
  • "i defy you to go find a web page that contains all my thoughts"

    Are you a Republican? There are pages about that. Are you of Spanish decent? There are pages about that. Are you into gay midget porn? Well there are pages about that too. Same for the guy next to you or your grandmother (mine loves to cook recipies I download for her from Martha Stewart).

    My point was the punchline, as best as I could express it at 3AM in the morning. All governments by nature want to control thought. They can't, but they can try by using censorship which may vary from government to government.

    On one end of the spectrum you have some Middle Eastern countries where connections to the Internet are banned. Those countries don't want their citizens thinking about the Western lifestyle...so they censor it all.

    Moving down the spectrum you have countries like China that only allow connections to the China-approved Internet. China doesn't want its citizens thinking of Taiwan as a separate country or Falun Gong as a peaceful group...so any site not depicting Taiwan as a spoiled child and Falun Gong as a hideous cult are censored.

    And so on until you get to the other end of the spectrum, countries like the US, Europe, Australia. However those governments also have an agenda. They don't want their citizens thinking about porn, drugs, violence and bombs. They would like nothing better than to censor them. And gradually they are moving in that direction, with repeated attempts at CDA, the new rider against drug information sites, and the way the media always depicts any bomb-maker as being taught by the Internet.

    And so on. Controlling the Internet, which is basically millions of people talking about something they think about, is as futile as controlling human thought. We will never be rid of ________ (fill in with racism, child pornography, gaybashing, whatever is the current outrage) on the Internet. There will always be someone who is thinking about ________ and as long as he/she can find others that also think about ________ there will always be some ________ out there on the Internet. The only way to truly get rid of ________ is for people to stop thinking about it.

    - JoeShmoe
  • by JoeShmoe (90109) <askjoeshmoe@hotmail.com> on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @12:30AM (#418658)
    Anything that people could possibly have thought of is going to be expressed on a website somewhere. Therefore, a better way to picture the Internet is the sum of all human thought.

    So basically this topic is:

    "Australian IT are reporting that the South Australian Government are about to pass a bill which mandates censorship of thoughts."

    And hasn't that been the secret goal of every governement since time began?

    - JoeShmoe

  • by cynthetik (97316) on Monday February 19, 2001 @11:19PM (#418671)
    This is basically a reaction by a Goverment scared of big swings to the opposition in other state elections and the emerging strength of a nationalistic bunch of rednecks called One Nation. For the conservative branch of Australian politics, the ironically named Liberal party, this is an effort to appear pro-family. It's an easy target and with no freedoms built into our constitution (Australians are crown subjects, not citizens) there is little recourse such as an American citizen would have access to.
    The only good thing I can think of is that it is highly unlikely that the authorities will prosecute except in politically expedient cases.
    sigh
  • The problem is that there's quite a difference between having fairly primitive firearms and having none at all. I think we in the U.S. are dangerously close to having none at all, except for old-fashioned shotguns for sport hunting--I doubt a militia equipped with shotguns, even when sawed off, would be very effective against an army equipped with automatic weapons--the reload time alone, well...

    The reason I think it's dangerously close to being that way is that there are so many creeping measures to close down every loophole so that the government knows where each and every legally owned firearm is. Once you know what guns are whee, it becomes awfully easy to come and collect them en masse the moment a ban comes into effect. Thee's quite a bit of support for banning certain firearms, so that if it suddenly became illegal to own semi automatics, the FBI and ATF could come round quickly and seize any such firearm not voluntarily turned in--recall that they know where they are thanks to gun registration. Then on o the next type, after a while. Not to mention ammunition--they've already outlawed certain types of armor-piercing bullets; outlawing certain types of ammunition could be somewhat efectively used to render some kinds of firearms largely useless. I wouldn't assume that these things couldn't happen, simply because a majority of the American people seem to be currently in a safety-at-all-costs mode, giving up freedom after freedom largely voluntarily. At this point, very little would surprise me about what a passive, complacent, sheepish public would surrender to the government.


  • We had our gun rights restricted because a lot of us wanted it to be that way. Unlike the United States, we see little need to "bear arms" as individuals - and the history of our country is one of reasonable peace and stability.
  • by boldra (121319) on Monday February 19, 2001 @11:40PM (#418690) Homepage
    Sit down and have a hard think about it.

    I migrated from Australia to Switzerland last year because of these laws. I had already moved my website to LA ( on dreamhost [dreamhost.com] ) but the real reason wasn't my personal web site.

    The harder the various Australian Governments push these absurd laws the futher behind the Australian IT industry is going to be. And when IT gets behind, the rest of the economy will follow.

    Added bonus: salaries in Zurich are about 5x Sydney.
  • That isn't Christianity - it might be how Christianity has been perverted by some of the 'churches'. Sex is supposed to be something you only do with your spouse but it is also supposed to be joyful - which is much nicer than mere fun!

    Not trying to start a flame war, just curious - What is the scriptural reference for this attitude? (I'm assuming it has one if this is the truth thats been twisted by churches). I ask, because while this is a basic Jewish idea I have heard, the only NT reference to sex that I know of is Paul, who IIRC actually considered even marital sex a sin. The only way to really be with god was to be celibate, but for those who were not capable of celibacy, sex within marriage was a "lesser evil" for channelling your sinful urges.

    I have not read the entire NT however, and if there is a contridicting verse I'm missing, I'd love to know.

    Kahuna Burger.

  • by KahunaBurger (123991) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @07:19AM (#418692)
    For example: Canada is not bereft of free-speech advocates, but they have actually been told by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council: "In Canada, we respect freedom of speech, but do not worship it."

    I know, it made me want to move to Canada. (sensible attitudes, *swoon*!)

    Look at "hate crime" legislation. Guess what that is? Pretty soon, you say the wrong joke or believe in the wrong thing or say the wrong thing and you will be fined and put in jail.

    yep, thats right, thats what its all about.... Oops! thats not what any of those laws are about! In fact its jst a strawman of anti hate crime types (and not even the smart ones at that.)

    For example, right-wing anti-homosexuality laws (Which Alan Turing was a victim of). These laws tried to physically force people to not be homosexual. They failed and were very destructive. However, we have swung the other way and now have left-wing "hate crime laws" and "tolerance" initiatives. They are just as bad.

    really? Would you like to explain how not being allowed to harrass a fellow student in college, or not being allowed to discriminate in hiring, or being held to a higher standard for drawing a swastika on a church sign than putting a kilroy on a alley wall are all "just as bad" as being jailed or involuntarily committed for your sexual oreintation? I'd be thrilled to know.

    If you want to fight for free speech, start with fighting against things like trying to force the Boy Scouts to accept athiests and homosexuals---even if you think they should. Because you never know if you might be the next target of some government official or special interest group who does not like the way you think.

    hmmm... you know, if I thought that I could be supported by the government from a congressional charter down to explorer scout troops getting the time of police and fire fighters, but I could still claim a lot of BS "small private groups"* tosh, I think the government SHOULD dislike how I'm thinking. And if you think telling the scouts to either play by one set of rules (private group not given extra perks by the government everywhere you look) or the other (publicly supported group that doesn't discriminate) is a free speech issue, you're even loonier than most of the libertarians arround here.

    * The "oh we have to respect the beliefs of the tiny troops who meet in homes and churches" BS was proven a lie when the main (centrally run, authoritarian) scout council revoked the charters of some of those small local troops who decided they were OK with gay volunteers. So I guess it doesn't have a damn thing to do with individual rights of association at all, does it?

    Kahuna Burger

  • by keshet (135766) on Monday February 19, 2001 @11:34PM (#418702)
    ...and this is how it ends [kashat.net].
  • IANAL but suspect that both the SouthAustralian law and the Swedish law could be challenged as a violation of international human rights conventions. One convention that might be applicable is the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights [un.org]. Article 19 of this Declaration reads as follows.
    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
    For Sweden, there is also the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms [coe.int], article 10 of which reads as follows.
    Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

    The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
    There are obvious escapes there for the Swedish government, but the European Court of Human Rights [coe.int] has been pretty strong in protecting people.

    _______________________________________
    Don't blame Windows--if you were a Microsoft operating system, you'd have problems too.

  • > As a resident of SA, my freedom of speech is about to disappear ...

    Maybe it is me, but you seem more concerned by the disparition of your freedom to free porn...

    (Which, I think, is the real issue. Porn is a mega-business, and internet threatens it [for instance: news://alt.binaries.erotica.picture.*]. Law are getting passed so they can save the business model of soft-porn. You didn't loose any freedom, mostly because you did not had any to start with)

    Cheers,

    --fred
  • Regardless of the aim of the "founders," it's pretty clear that today, the only abrogation of rights that would cause US citizens to take up arms en masse against the government...is the banning of their right to bear arms.

    As a result, the original aim has been totailly perverted. Rather than guns being used to keep the government in check, maintaining the nominal right to bear arms is used by the gov't as a sop to pacify the citizenry into acceptance of more insidious and modern forms of dictatorship like DMCA.

    (I say nominal cause the fact is that without serious firepower far in excess of what is allowed into private hands, there's no way that any group of people could seriously mount any sort of resistance against the US military. See Waco.)

    I don't believe this perverse method of public pacification has a historical analogue in Oz.
  • Apart from assuming that you meant the second amentment in your third para, I couldn't agree more.

    What bloody use the NRA nutters think their guns would be against tanks and fighter-bombers is beyond me. What is clear is that if you give citizens guns they start killing each other, not overthowing the government. And when a really rotten government takes power it's frequently with the aid of lots of well-armed civilians who think they're going to get a slice of the pie for helping.

    I assume the original poster has never heard of Africa where huge sections of the population are armed. Doesn't seem like Utopia to me.

    TWW

  • It's tough to keep your fellow civilians from taking away all your rights when you can't stop them shooting you from a distance of half a mile.

    Thanks for reminding me that it's time to close the NRA down before someone gets kille...oh, too late.

    TWW

  • If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. What don't you understand?

    What I don't understand is what help tautology is to anyone. Are you saying that murder should be legal because otherwise only murderers will unlawfully kill people? It's just as true as what you said about guns, and as useful.

    Gun deaths in the US are huge. The argument that this is becuase there aren't enough idiots wandering around with weapons is not convincing.

    -ChristTrekker

    I'd just point out, if you are serious about your handle, that you can't be a Christian and hold your views on gun control; you're only allowed to tick one of those particular boxes.

    By the way, you didn't explain why having a gun stops someone up a clock tower blowing your head off.

    TWW

  • Freedom always has limits. In many ways a society can be defined by what limits it sets on freedom. The freedom to bear arms is no more a basic freedom than the freedom to have sex with children, and both were considered fine by the framers of the consitution (using the modern definition of child). It so happens that the second freedom has been eroded since that time but so what? Society has changed.

    The loss of the right to bear arms is as valid for removal as the right to have sex with children and as valid for defense as the right to equality of treatment. Since all "rights" are made up by people, all are ripe to be reconsidered from time to time. I happen to think that the damage caused by the second amendment far outweighs any good it does. You can argue the issue but simply pointing to the constitution and saying "230 years ago there was a society that thought this was good and that's an end to it" is not a rational argument.

    As to Africa, I wasn't talking about the well-publicised massacres but the general destabilising effect of widespread gun ownership on the various societies of that continent. But, to stick with the massacres, what tends to happen is that any "dangerous" targets are attacked with guns and then, to save money, "soft" targets get the club/machete treatment. In slightly better off parts of Africa, where the cost of bullets is not as important, the gun is used almost exclusivly, as in the recent example where the staff and pupils of a boarding school where killed in Algeria.

    Presumably, you don't own any large stocks of the smallpox virus, do you think you should have the right to?

    TWW

  • The NRA is actually very anti-fascist.

    the only difference between fascists and stalinists is the order in which they will remove all of your rights and the rhetoric they will use

    The Stalinists were very anti-fascist but, as you say, it made little difference to their victims.

    The difference in the NRA's intent and the result of their actions is important. I'm sure most members do not understand that what they are doing is leading down the road a fascist state.

    A fascist state (in post-nazi terms) is one where the strong rule. Guns make people stronger, but only in attack. To use the strength a gun gives you requires it's use or the threat to use it (and the threat must be backed up occasionally by actual use). This leads to the fascist position where if you dislike what someone says to you you just shoot them (so much for freedom of speech!), which Hitler actively encouraged amoungst "true ayrans".

    A well run democracy is a far better solution to a society's troubles than arming everyone and hoping they'll all get along.

    TWW

  • That is far too simplistic a definition to be useful.

    No, it is the core concept of Hitler's administration. There are examples of Hitler actually advising people who wrote to him for advice where he explicitly states that this is the guiding principle at work. It may not be fascist in the way the Romans would have understood it, but that's why I said "post-natzi".

    There are several states which have liberalized concealed carry laws (often enacted, as in Florida, in order to eliminate racism in the permit issuance system) and they have actually seen a decrease in violent crime since it has become easier and more fair to get a concealed carry permit.

    From an incredibly high base. Look at countries where gun control is enacted and compare the number of fatal shootings. On a per capita basis there are few states in the US which aren't worse than Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles in the 70s.

    Legal gun owners tend to be much more responsible than illegal owners.

    If everyone has a gun then every criminal will have a gun with which to be irresponsible. Not a great help.

    A well run democracy isn't incompatible with firearms ownership.

    Yes it is. The freedom to say what you like without living in fear of being shot is part of having a democracy. Guns are not the only weapons but they are among the best. Kennedy was shot, Lincoln was shot, Reagan was shot. How much harder would it be to have stabbed them, and how much better would their chances of survival have been?

    Arguments will always lead to some violence, it is better to limit the potential of that violence even at the "risk" of making a fanciful future rebellion a bit more fanciful.

    the 'wild west' is almost entirely fictional and exaggerated

    Mainly in duration, it was pretty wild but not for very long.

    We should learn from history and figure out the 'war on drugs' isn't working, and isn't going to work.

    This is true but are you going to get a gun and go tell congress to sort it out? How long would you last? Would it make any difference if everyone who thought that way went with you (with guns)? Do you think the 60's riots would have got faster results if the civil rights protesters had had guns, our would there just have been a lot more dead people?

    TWW

  • All over the world, stories like this are creeping out. Here in the UK, although not censorship, the RIP bill certainly impinges on your privacy. In Southern Australia, it appear to be actual censorship.... Why oh why is this happening. Is it the current generation in power at the moment. They grew up before the computer revolution and are now faced with a BIG unknown as regards the internet etc etc... or is it something else... time to get thinking...what can you do to help avoid this sort of thing, who can you annoy, who is your govenmental representative... I think this is not the last of this sort of thing we will hear about
  • .. when you live in one of the most right-wing countries in the world (politically)? I don't know why, but even though Aussies are generally quite laid back, their political views are so right wing in my experience that I almost want to vomit.

    Where'd you get that idea? Our politicians don't make overt displays of religious ferver. We have public health care, publicly funded university loans, national welfare institutions, etc, in short, a lot of things Americans have sacrificed to a combination of neo-liberal and right-wing ideology. The fact that by historical accident we don't have a bill of rights (we're working on that, though), and that we believe that voting is a civic responsibility doesn't make us Nazis.

    Oh yeah, and in case you hadn't noticed, you live in a Democracy. In fact, it's the law that you have to vote. If you don't like it, lobby Parliament and vote them out next time.
    We're generally not in the habit of making our voting choices on a single issue. We tend to consider a party's/candidate's entire policy platform when it comes to filling in a ballot. Anyway, the Liberal government in SA is in serious trouble already; this is probably just an appeal to the deeply conservative part of its base in the face of their desertion to the nationalistic One Nation (an extremist party who's biggest claim to fame is its quite obviously racist policies, but is riding the current wave of sentiment against economic rationalism and globalization).

    Oh yeah, and most opinion polls indicate that most Australians have a big problem with censorship generally. We do have a beef with racial villification, incitement to violence, etc.

  • You might want to consider emailing the following government ministers, departments and other officals.

    richard.alston@dcita.gov.au, W.Truss.MP@aph.gov.au, W.Tuckey.MP@aph.gov.au, senator.troeth@aph.gov.au, senator.ellison@aph.gov.au, Peter.McGauran.MP@aph.gov.au, senator.campbell@aph.gov.au, Peter.Reith.MP@aph.gov.au, Bruce.Scott.MP@aph.gov.au, B.Nelson.MP@aph.gov.au, D.Kemp.MP@aph.gov.au, T.Worth.MP@aph.gov.au, Tony.Abbott.MP@aph.gov.au, Mal.Brough.MP@aph.gov.au, Ian.Macfarlane.MP@aph.gov.au, S.Stone.MP@aph.gov.au, Larry.Anthony.MP@aph.gov.au, John.Fahey.MP@aph.gov.au, senator.abetz@aph.gov.au, P.Slipper.MP@aph.gov.au, A.Downer.MP@aph.gov.au, Mark.Vaile.MP@aph.gov.au, Michael.Wooldridge.MP@aph.gov.au, Bronwyn.Bishop.MP@aph.gov.au, senator.tambling@aph.gov.au, senator.minchin@aph.gov.au, Jackie.Kelly.MP@aph.gov.au, Warren.Entsch.MP@aph.gov.au, senator.heffernan@aph.gov.au, John.Anderson.MP@aph.gov.au, senator.ian.macdonald@aph.gov.au, senator.boswell@aph.gov.au, senator.rod.kemp@aph.gov.au, Joe.Hockey.MP@aph.gov.au

  • Good with computahs? Like to hunt for pohrn on the Intahnet?

    The South Australia Boobie Patrol needs you!

    Legislation of this type usually wraps itself in the idea of "protecting children." But this law surely is just an attempt to get a patronage job for some Australian Senator's porn-hungry nephew.

    Or perhaps it is a merchandising play. Imagine the gross revenues for "Official South Australia Porn Inspector" T-shirts. It boggles the mind.

    Hey South Australia, take a look at this [ridiculopathy.com]

  • As far as a common sense check for legislation goes... In the US, Congress can go ahead and pass any censorship law they want (and have done so in at least one instance.) It is up to the Supreme Court to nullify it if it is unconstitutional -- politicians may realize full well that a bill will not pass constitutional muster, but they vote for it anyway to score political points with their constituents. In a system in which legislators will vote for a bill which is clearly unconstitutional, a "common sense" check is superfluous...

    On the other hand, bills which are not intended primarily as political gestures undergo common sense checks as a matter of course... Or perhaps I just have too much faith in the political process. In any case I'm just glad we have the First Amendment...

  • One issue here is that the WWW is NOT the internet. This misuse of language is getting dangerous now, as otherwise, censoring might stay more confined.

    I think that people concerned to keep the internet operable as a medium for ideas exchange should start to redefine the internet, by subsets of the internet, with a different base of dns servers, and every subset should require everyone that attach to it to sign a license: a license in which they agree that all content they release onto it becomes public domain (and that they have the rights to all material they release), a license where everyone agrees to deep crosslinking, a license where people state that they are old enough to view censored material, and maybe even a license where people state that the computer on this network may be hacked by anyone. Licenses would be orthogonal, you don't have to sign it - unless you want to be part of that network.

  • Seeing as people are as usual flying off the handle and making statements without basis in fact, but merely derived from their own stereotypical opinions (an accusation fairly similar to that often aimed at the legislators), it's worthwhile pointing out a few facts about the article:

    There is no mention of software. There is no mention of filtering. There is no mention of thought control. There is no mention of enforcement by ISPs.

    A lot of the posts are along the lines of, "Automatic filtering is impossible. Those idiots don't understand the technology." While going purely on the facts in the linked article, a fair reply to this would be, "There's no mention of filtering, and ISPs, carriers and hosts are specifically not targeted by the new laws - that's stated in black and white. You idiots can't even read - where do you get off insulting our lack of understanding!" Besides, it's seems clear to me that technology does not have as great effect on principles and law as tech-heads might think. Just because you've found a method whereby you won't be caught doesn't make it legal or ethical.

    It's also worth mentioning that freedom of speech is not a right that Australians have, or for that matter anyone outside of the US (and of the evidence of the average bland, conservative mainstream output of the American media, it could be argued that they drastically fail to appreciate the principle anyway).

    People are blindly assuming that the definition of what is obscene is going to be automatically decided by some algorithm somewhere. Well, maybe it is, but it's not stated anywhere. And the fact that ISPs and hosts will not be held responsible tends to suggest that this in unlikely to be the case. Australia has always struck me as pretty reasonable about such things - it will be the courts who decide what is and isn't obscene, which is the way it has always been.

    Sorry for being a reactionary conservative prick, but I think that there is such a thing as obscene material, and would not have a particularly high opinion of anyone that thought pictures of, say, an 8 year old orphan being forced to have anal sex should be defended on some pathetic "free speech" principle. I'm willing to bet that was not what the writers of the US Constitution had in mind.

    On the premise that some material should therefore be made illegal, how do you stop it? You say, and I agree, that filtering software doesn't work. But if someone is proven to have posted such material, then they should be convicted. In principle at least, this can be passed into law. Further more, such proof is a very different matter to automatic and fail safe filtering.

    It remains consistent and practical to acknowledge the fact that the Internet/cyberspace changes the rules, therefore posting to host on the internet can just as easily be treated as an export situation. Anyone within the territory concerned therefore posts at their own risk - they are clearly breaking the law. Tax havens and permanent exiles have been around for centuries, so it really isn't anything new for people to move somewhere that their acts are not liable to prosecution.

    There are points to worry about in the article - there is no clear definition of what is "permissable" material. For example, pornography Playboy/Playgirl style is to my mind difficult to criticise, in the sense that it's above board, and the abuses (there must be some) are likely to be no worse than you might get in some sweat shop with an abusive boss - i.e. individual people might get prosecuted but you can't ban pictures of naked people. Those cases involving genuine abuse are more questionable, and the you've got child porn which is completely unacceptable. So there are lines to be drawn, especially when the law as it seems to be outlined in the article then throws even more things under the "banned" label, such as this post for discussing such material.

    But if you're only argument is mindless bleatings of "thought control" and "you just don't understand the technology" you're not going to get anywhere. You only appear hysterical and illogical - and remarkably biased. Going by the theory, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem," then by failing to make relevant arguments you're as much to blame as the people that pass the law.

  • The colonies already had an army at the time they united to form a union.

    And were getting their colonial asses whooped on by the Redcoats. It took several semi-organised armies (read: militias) to really pick it up. Watch The Patriot.

    Someone else on this thread also said something about not wanting J. Random Mad Millionaire have an arsenal of nuclear weapons (or just one, for that matter). Who knows when a missile would come out of Redmond, WA and hit Transmeta?

    So, getting back on topic, who determines what is "adult-oriented"? If I used the word "fuck" in this post, would it be "adult-oriented" and therefore not be seen in South Australia? Will the following line be censored?

    "FUCK THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT!"

    (Let's hope I don't have to go to Adelaide et. al. anytime soon. :)


    Thus sprach DrQu+xum.
  • And to think one of my long term goals was to move to Australia....

    And the thing of it is, it's still very subjective. One cop might find something objectionable that, say his partner might not. And what are the guidelines? Oh sure, XXX-rated pr0n is obviously "unsuitable" for minors, but what about web pages on breast cancer (which is always brought up during comments on web filters), or web pages on gun safety? Would those "incite criminal activity" and thus by outlawed?

    Good grief... what some politicians will do to "protect the young".

    Kierthos
  • I'm tempted to get a whole load of dead-tree pr0n and post it via Snail Mail to the backers of this bill. Do you reckon they'd try to close down post offices if they knew that the oh-so-innocent postal system was being used that way? Maybe they'd try and introduce a law to check all mail passing through SA.

    Or maybe politicians should just let us get on with our lives without treating us like children who have to be protected from the big, bad world outside.

  • by Codeala (235477) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @12:00AM (#418810)
    The federal law treats all internet content as film, and requires material to be rated by the Office of Film and Literature Classification accordingly.

    Sometime you have to wonder... do they actually know what the Internet is? Can someone tell me if South Australia is actually some kind of giant cave? There isn't enough censors on earth to go rate all the "interenet content" out there. Would it kill them to call it the Office of Internet, Film and Literature Classification since the Internet is such a menace.

    Objectionable material includes items classifiable as X or RC, such as child pornography, and sites instructing in or inciting criminal activity," he said.

    Child porn? Okay, I don't remember this kind of stuff NOT being mentioned everytime someone want to censor something. How about a site that teaches people to double park? And some other dumb laws [dumblaws.com]!



    ====
  • They can always just outlaw everything that has to do with anything that might confuse the filters... And at this rate I am sure its next.


    Fight censors!
  • And when you try, will you be killed for treason?


    Fight censors!
  • by perdida (251676) <thethreatproject AT yahoo DOT com> on Monday February 19, 2001 @11:08PM (#418827) Homepage Journal
    young, committed men and women with a dream of leading the future of internet technology!

    Skills: Strong stomach, being able to "recognize pornography when one sees it," penchant for censorship.

    Seriously, aussies, if your friend says he or she is taking the Censor job, cut them off and then h4x0r them.

    and no, this cannot be done with nanny-ware, we have seen in many other stories how this software is so inaccurate that it would not withstand any substantial constitutional test in any country.

  • Speak for yourself! Wheres the pr0n?

    Agreed. When the hell did the other half of the country become irrelevant?

    --
    All men are great
    before declaring war

  • by mikethegeek (257172) <blair AT NOwcmifm DOT comSPAM> on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @06:19AM (#418830) Homepage
    "What bloody use the NRA nutters think their guns would be against tanks and fighter-bombers is beyond me"

    Good point. However, I must point out that if there was ever a serious revolt against the increaingly Imperial Government, for violating the Constitution (such as outlawing free speech), it's highly unlikely that enough of the US military would obey orders to fire on civillians to be able to act as a cohesive unit. A lot of those tanks and planes would fight on the side of the rebels.

    You have to know the difference between police and the military. The police are trained to, and in everyday life, attack and kill US civillians.

    The military, on the other hand, are SWORN to uphold the Constitution, and to obey lawful orders. Any soldier, from the lowest private to the highest General are held accountable for obeying LAWFUL orders It is their responsibility to know what is lawful and what is not. Being ordered to attack civillians who are in the process of throwing out government officials who have used their office to supress the Constitution would be unlawful. Doubtless many would obey, but enough would refuse to obey to make using the military useless.

    Rifles and pistols are perfectly adequate against "SWAT" team government police stormtroopers. Compared to real soldiers, even the elite police officers are stumbling buffons, as they are only taught how to fight when outgunning and outnumbering the enemy 100-1.

    This is one reason why the pro-government types are always against private ownership of weapons. Because with a disarmed population, the government can rule by decree without any fear of reprisal. This is what is happening Down Under... They gave up their guns, and now the government is taking away their other liberties.

    Just as all government power ultimately flows from a gun (violate any regulation, no matter how slight, and eventually government agents with guns will come to get you), the only threat to keep the government honest flows from a gun.

  • Other distiguihsed mebers are Singapore, China, Sauid Arabia and a score of other countries where the goverment knows waht is better for you.

    Congrats.

  • Sorry for being a reactionary conservative prick, but I think that there is such a thing as obscene material,

    Please define "obscene material".

    And what if your definition is too wide for my taste?

    Or to narrow?

    Why should I accept your defintion?

    Or why should you accept mine?

    For many fundamentalistic societies women in miniskirst are obscene, if a fundamentalist minded party wins the election in Australia or the US, should pictures of women in miniskirt be banned ?(I know, they would ban "worst" stuff first, but I hope I explain myself)

    Should a Communist party win an election, then should they decide what is good for the people?

    Don't you understand that defending "obscenity" with todays benign rulers is to give carte-blanche to the would be tyrants of the future?

    and would not have a particularly high opinion of anyone that thought pictures of, say, an 8 year old orphan being forced to have anal sex should be defended on some pathetic "free speech" principle.

    That is an extreme case, but still such material should not be banned on the basis of "obscenity" or even worst "morality". It should be deemed to be evidence of abuse, and as such any person in posession of such material should be held responsible for witholding criminal evidence. But that person should not be declared a criminal because he is "obscene" or "immoral", obscenity is a term that changes from individual to individual, from time to time, and from country to country. Obscenity is a relative concept, and as such it is the worst candidate to make a fair law.

    I'm willing to bet that was not what the writers of the US Constitution had in mind.

    Whatever the US founding bunch had in mind, the circumstances of today's World demand different actions. Where it was appropriate to grant everybody arms to defend themselves in the middle of nowhere it becomes nonsense where at any given time you are sorrounded by people with a gun in a innercity area.

    Where mild provisions for free speech were made, now it is necesary a radical upholding of free speech no matter what. You are either free or not free to say what you think. There is not such a thing as half freedom of speech.

    People today have to make their own laws using the experience of 225 years of more human experience than that the US founding people could not even see coming. The US founding people solved the problems of their time, and are very useful as a reference, but they were not gods, and as the humans they were, they commited mistakes and could not see the future.

    Had the US founders known about the Internet, the global village, apartheid, Nazism, Communism, 1984, schoolchildren killed by schoolmates, proxy servers in some Asian countries and so on, perhaps they would had gone even further than you might think in the defense of free speech.

  • When living in Europe during the gulf war^H^H^Hpolice action, I happened to watch a "democratic" chess match on the BBC.

    The game played against a grandmaster. People would call in and vote on what move to make next. Would all those people thinking put together an awesome chess match that would easily defeat a grandmaster, my goodness, all those brains working?

    Or would they put together an embarassment of bad move after bad move? The assistant, moving on behalf of "the people", also a grandmaster, got one veto to prevent a particularly bad move. He could have used about twenty vetos.

    Needless to say, it could have gone better for "the people."

    Now consider politics, where most of the "bad moves" involve increased power for the government and decreased freedom for people. How much worse would have been the chess game with some charismatic idiot arguing vehemently for even worse moves, more power for the government, all in the name of helping "the people"?

    The tool of the politician is rhetoric, outright deception, and the acquisition of power. "In the name of the people, to help the people" is not a goal, just a rhetorical device to take freedom from the people.
  • by Brian_Ellenberger (308720) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @05:18AM (#418849)
    > - but I look at it this way, when speech is > as 'free' as it is in the US, it basically > becomes meaningless.

    Not to us Americans! I think Americans would be surprised to hear what the rest of the world thinks about free speech.

    For example: Canada is not bereft of free-speech advocates, but they have actually been told by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council: "In Canada, we respect freedom of speech, but do not worship it." from http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0031/hentoff.sh tml

    I've been following the Canada for a while now because as a born-again Christian they are scaring the heck out of me. Their equivalent of the FCC regularly bans any programming that does not meet their "standards". Their government is trying to revoke the rights of Christian universities that teach beliefs which are against what they government wants people to believe. See http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/008/7.19. html

    This stuff is pushing into the United States. Look at "hate crime" legislation. Guess what that is? Pretty soon, you say the wrong joke or believe in the wrong thing or say the wrong thing and you will be fined and put in jail.

    The problem is people who force their beliefs on other people through the law. For example, right-wing anti-homosexuality laws (Which Alan Turing was a victim of). These laws tried to physically force people to not be homosexual. They failed and were very destructive. However, we have swung the other way and now have left-wing "hate crime laws" and "tolerance" initiatives. They are just as bad. If you want to fight for free speech, start with fighting against things like trying to force the Boy Scouts to accept athiests and homosexuals---even if you think they should. Because you never know if you might be the next target of some government official or special interest group who does not like the way you think

  • by Spunk Junkie (310106) on Monday February 19, 2001 @11:14PM (#418850)
    This is moronic. I know I'm preaching to the choir here on the slash, but when are govts. going to realise they cannot censor the Internet. I mean the only sensible way is to have someone examine every single packet. This reminds me of... Damn... Can't remember the name now, but it was one of these stupid filtering products and it was filtering out information on breasts because it was considered obscene. Only thing was it was censoring sites relating to breast cancer. There was also another case of software blocking access to the holocaust museum because it mentions the Nazi's. WTF?

    Australia always seemed to me like a sane country.

    There is no sensible way to implement this, but since when did sensible enter into what a government does...

    My condolences to all those effected by this stupidity:(

  • The problem is people who force their beliefs on other people through the law.

    Isn't all law based on peoples' beliefs? Doesn't that problem occur for all laws, to some extent, because no belief is universal?

  • It always amuses me that the 'pro-family' types are really anti-sex (regardless of any moronic platitudes to the contrary) - I'm curious, how did they make their families?

    Will this censorship include blocking dangerous religious material, like the bible? People worry about movies and books that they claim (without any proof of course) incite general and sexual violence, yet we know very well that this one book has been and continues to be directly responsible for discrimination, violence and oppression throughout the world.
  • Apathy is "their" greatest weapon here. Outside of Slashdot readers and people naturally disposed to be concerned about their privacy, how many people do you think are going to care? It's very easy to argue that what could be censored is "harmful" - pornograhy; offensive langugage; whatever else. And a lot of people (particularly those who don't use the internet) are going to buy that argument, despite how it would very quickly lead to an internet non-representative of our culture and society.

    And what happens when the government controls culture?
  • by shd99004 (317968) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @12:23AM (#418868) Homepage
    ...are governments doing their best to control media. This time it is the Internet. Here in Sweden we actually have a law commonly known as PUL, and among other things, it forbids us to publish any information about any person without his/her consent, on a webpage. This has some nice side effects, such as it is now impossible for people to publish their opinions on politics and politicians online, for example. Although, I doubt it is a side effect. I think they all know what they are doing. Eventually, every country in the European Union will have to have such a law.

    But, we get the society we deserve.
    Just too bad that *everyone* gets something that *others* deserve, too.

  • by stev-nx (317984) on Tuesday February 20, 2001 @02:16AM (#418871) Homepage
    I live in South Australia, and hadn't heard about any of this legislation until I read the Australian today. However, I find the whole thing pretty amusing. I'm sixteen. I can walk (or drive) to any newsagent or petrol (gas!) station, and buy as many R rated magazines as I want, without being asked for proof of age. I can do the same at any 'Adult Book Store' (tm), but this time with X rated material.

    I can buy magazines full of guns and knives and other 'offensive weapons'. I can buy newsletters produced by far-left political groups. I can buy pro-abortion and pro-euthenasia newsletters. All offensive to some people.

    I can publish these items on paper if I wish. But heaven forbid if i publish or view them on the internet!

    Sound crazy? It is, and this is just one of the many crazy legislations and laws my Government has made - enough to convince me to leave South Australia.

panic: can't find /

Working...