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Censorship

EFA: Censorship In Oz Wastes Taxpayers' Money 98

Posted by timothy
from the yes-the-expurgated-version-please? dept.
antic writes: "In a report by AustralianIT (Net censorship a $2.5m 'waste'), EFA says that after all the fuss about the Australian government censoring the Internet for Australians, and the government spending a substantial amount of money on the effort, only six complaints about local sites were made in the second 6 months of operation. It suggests that the majority of money spent, and investigations carried out, only helps the largely U.S.-based content filtering industry."
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EFA: Censorship In Oz Wastes Taxpayers' Money

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  • Our fine censorship products bring in export
    revenue from other challanged countries!
    Maybe we can sell to china too?

    Then we laugh at their left-wing government,
    but we keep the money. :)

    Go usa!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Austrailia's mandatory filtering laws were a knee-jerk reaction to the moral outrage of a few old grannies in Queensland who've probably never used the internet, and now it comes to light just how ineffective the service is. After all, the people who seem to get the most outraged about this sort of thing are generally the people too incompetant to use a computer, let alone report a website for "prohibited content".

    Why is it Austrailia thinks it has any kind of right to determine what people can and can't see. Are Austrailians really that stupid that they need to have their hands held when venturing out of the Outback? I don't think so somehow. But as long as the Government thinks it knows better than the people it is meant to serve things like this will happen. I mean, there's already been a surge in violent crime since they decided people couldn't be trusted with guns.

    And most ironically of all, they haven't even managed to block these sites! The reason they won't give out the URLs for these sites is people can still access them! Come on, how crap is that? $2.5 million to have six websites reported for dodgy pictures.

    Still, just wait for our government to do it. Noticing the failure of the Austrailian scheme, we'll spend $250 million, and get inundated with every Christian fanatic, KKK bigot and hatemonger submitting their most hated sites to be shut down. Yay.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    the 2.5 million is the bureacracy cost. What about the ISP cost? When I was at Chello (an OZ ISP as well) they were spending a FORTUNE on software to comply with the laws. And of course that is passed on to the consumer.

    $2.5 million is nothing compared to that. Chello alone probably spend 0.5 million
  • I already have, every single proxy I admin has that blocked by default.
  • Feed someone a mental diet of nothing but violence and pornography and you're likely to cause some problems.

    Exactly. Violence & porn are like, I dunno, hamburgers or something. If you eat hamburgers for dinner every day, it won't do your health any good. Especially if they're McDonalds hamburgers. But eating one greasy, fatty hamburger every now and then isn't going to kill you. The worst it'll do it make you feel a bit queasy.

    Much like violence and pr0n [goatse.cx].

  • Not just that, but a direct democracy would quickly become like a big poll (pretty close to what passes for US politics today). There would be a bunch of people who don't care to participate, many who will live just to click 'Submit', and everyone would be easily swayed by any deceptive phrasing of questions or anwers and the immediate political conditions. Think about it, if you had to answer a dozen issues every day, you'd either pick whatever suited you best that morning, or you'd be responsible and not do anything at all because you just can't research every one of them satisfactorily.
  • Yeah, cartoon violence, isn't that the worst one? That's the violence where there are no consequences, if you whack someone on the head, for no reason whatsoever, with a sledgehammer, they'll just go 'yadayadayada', their head will pop back to normal and everything's fine. This type of violence is of course acceptable, because children are very smart and they can tell it's not real, so it doesn't affect them. [sneer]
  • Is that that's only $1.5M in real money :)


    hawk

  • by danny (2658) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @02:33AM (#222425) Homepage
    EFA has a more detailed analysis of the figures [efa.org.au]. We also have an FOI request [efa.org.au] in that attempts to get details of what exactly has been subject to takedown notices.

    My own site has some details of takedown notices and classifications [danny.oz.au].

    Danny.

  • by ajv (4061) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @12:51AM (#222426) Homepage
    Sorry to rain on your parade, dude, but our government is about as left wing as Hitler was. The Liberals (=Tories, Conservatives) privatise everything, they are pro-business, they are anti-environment (due to those scumbags, we're allowed to pollute 8% more than 1990 under Kyoto), and they are paternalistic, monarchistic and non-secular. A fairly unpleasant bunch of right wing loonies causing pain and angst to all fair minded Aussies (such as myself) as they wind the clock back to a mythical 1950's that never was.

    I will be glad when the paternalistic bastards are gone.

  • by Nagash (6945)
    In Canada we have a GST as well. To be honest, I did not notice a major shift in pricing after its introduction. The GST is just bringing out in the open what has been hidden for so long. The only annoying thing is that it got applied to a lot more.

    What's funny is that ever since its introduction, the GST has been hated by the people, but all election promises to get rid of it have faltered for the simple reason that it brings in lots of cash for the government.

    Just a side note, I guess, to give more insight into the GST idea...

    Woz
  • by Goonie (8651)
    All the people I know who work with accounting type stuff think the GST is a good thing because it simplified sales tax immensely.

    That's certainly true, if you were in a business that was involved in sales-tax collection. Most Australian businesses weren't. Secondly, the procedures for filling in the GST forms were unnecessarily complex and required many small businesses to pay accountants a large amount of money to fill them in. Thirdly, it made tax evasion more difficult - a practice many small businesses like to indulge in.

    Go you big red fire engine!

  • True. The nanny impulse exists across the Australian political spectrum, I'm afraid. However, when it comes to Net censorship, Labor has at least recognized the technical impossibility of doing so and has advocated education as a better solution.

    Go you big red fire engine!
  • For the benefit of our international readers:

    The current Australian government is a (highly steady) coalition of two conservative parties, which has been in power since 1996. The other major party is the Labor Party, roughly analogous to the British Labor party, but still retaining tighter links to its labor union history.

    Our parliamentary and party system, again, most closely resembles Britain, in that party discipline is very strong, and votes in the lower house are purely a formality. However, the upper house of parliament is not controlled by a single party, and two small left-wing parties (the Democrats and Greens), a religious right-wing annoyance, and a member of the lunar-nutball right hold the balance of power in that house, meaning that the government has to reach agreement with either the opposition, or some or all of the others, to get legislation through.

    The current Prime Minister is one John Howard, who was aptly described by American travel writer Bill Bryson as "the world's most boring individual". By Australian standards, he is a economic conservative (though due to his current electoral unpopularity he has swung towards popular pork-barelling), and an utter social reactionary.

    For some time, he has tried to play off the unpopularity with rural voters on economic issues (the government has imposed a universal sales tax, which has resulted in higher prices and a great deal of extra accounting overhead for small businesses, who are not happy about it) by, in essence, appealing to their prejudice against drug users, asylum-seekers, homosexuals, the primarily city-based and relatively wealthy advocates of removing the symbolic link to the British monarchy, Aboriginals, and so on. Unfortunately for Mr Howard, the rural and outer-urban constituency appears to be sufficiently annoyed by the economic issues that they will vote Labour or (in relatively small proportions, thankfully) lunar-right regardless, and the inner-urban "elite" are going to also desert his party because of disgust at his social policies as well as economic.

    I think I will join most Australians in welcoming Mr Howard's fairly imminent and fairly certain departure (the election must be held by November or so). Unfortunately, the alternative, Labor, doesn't appear particularly inspiring - if a little more clueful on some aspects of IT policy, which is nice.

    Go you big red fire engine!

  • Children should have access to all information.
    Children need to be educated to act in a responsible way with that information though, which is something those in favour of censorship usually prefer not to think about. They are the ones who usually don't have time to talk with their children.

    Teach your children to handle the information instead of hiding it from them, they certainly will have access to that kind of information when they become adults.
  • Either they decided to show how well the filter worked on that website or we slashdotted it.
  • It really helps if you envision the level of spittle-emitting, jack-booted dictatorship on a different axis than the left/right political spectrum. It does seem to be pretty easy at both the far left and far right for things to devolve into totalitarianism, though.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • No. The primary aim of censorship is not to prevent adults from obtaining information, but to prevent children from accessing inappropriate materials.

    That's what you would like to believe, and if that were really the case maybe I wouldn't have so much of a problem with it either. But in fact most people who are in favor of censorship don't care who they are preventing from accessing information - it would be fine with them if no one could get to it. Think about it - if you think pornography is obscene, why would you want your fellow citizens viewing it any more than your children? If you think alternative religions are the work of the devil, why shouldn't you try to protect everyone and not just children from it?

    I agree that the exposure of children to some things must be handled very carefully in an age-appropriate manner, and I would say that a parent is the appropriate person to do that. Whenever citizens get the government to enforce censorship, it always ends up infringing on the rights of adults. I don't think the goal of saving the children is worth the cost of censoring adult access to certain things, especially since we already have parents who are responsible for censoring their children anyway.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • The problem with a full democracy is that it doesn't scale very well beyond the size of a small city-state. When you have the affairs of a whole nation to attend to, you can't poll every citizen on every single issue or we'd never get any real work done. Not to mention the amount of education which would be necessary in order for citizens to objectively assess contentious issues in medicine, law, and technology. Until we have a truly educated and involved citizenry, real democracy isn't going to be an option.

    Representative government is like Linux. It sucks, but everything else sucks worse. What we need are representatives who are more accountable to the citizenry they supposedly serve.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • We're not all "little conservative christians on the outside, sleazy pr0n-surfing degenerates like the rest of us when they think noone's looking."

    In fact, I'd wager that the majority aren't Christians at all, at least in the apparent Bible-thumping paradigm you seem to be alluding to. As for conservatives, that depends on what you call conservative. Last major election **I** saw, it was just about 50-50.

    As to the OTHER image, we save the sleaze for lawyers, politicians, and, of course, executives of Micro$oft... Based on the volume, yeah, I'd say the pr0n-surfing is fairly accurate. But degenerates ?? Hardly. . .

  • . . . .and their differences from nation to nation. Specifically, the USA versus places like Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. What is considered average Conservative politics there is generally fairly liberal by USA standards. Even our Left is fairly moderate by most standards.

    So, by a lot of Yank standards, Australia's Tories are STILL left-wing from the American POV. . .

  • Harradine.

    And it's not strictly a two party system, although it's clearly too close to one.
    --


  • That was timothy's minor edit of my story submission. I wrote that those 6 complaints were about local sites, when the distinction should've been "locally hosted" sites.

    The fact remains - the public did not demand censorship; the coalition brought it upon us in trying to win the GST vote of censorship-loving Harradine. Their plan now wastes our money which could otherwise be spent on far more worthwhile causes.

  • As a matter of fact I do.

    Like I said, I've never seen anything that I'd consider inherently harmful to anyone in and of itself. Feed someone a mental diet of nothing but violence and pornography and you're likely to cause some problems. But violence and pornography within a diet of other things that are positive rather than negative are of little consequence.

    People are afraid of their kids seeing violence and porn because they themselves are disturbed by it, not because it is inherently harmful. Also they have the inaccurate belief that children are "impressionable." A two year old is impressionable because someone that age does not have any real experience to evaluate what they see and hear with. That soon changes. The older a person gets the more what they see is evaluated against a growing bank of past experiences. Because young people think and evaluate what they see, there is nothing that is going to warp someone unless that is the only thing they see. If on the other hand their experiences in life are balanced then a little porn or violence isn't going to do anything at all to their psyche.

    I'm living proof of this. When I was a child and a teenager I worked hard to undermine the censorhip imposed on me by my parents. In fact by the time I was 13 my parents had essentially given up on controlling what I saw or read.

    Today I'm a college graduate working for a major university. There are no bodies in my closet, I have no criminal record, and my sexual tastes are less risque than most. If my sex life was an ice cream flavor it would be vanilla. This dispite having seen plenty of XXX porn on satellite by the time I was 16. As for violence I've seen about as much as anyone else.

    What a kid sees on tv or reads in a book is nowhere near as important as the situation in his or her family. If the father is abusive then worrying about seeing violence on tv is about like worrying about a bruised elbow on someone with a compound fracture of their femur.

    I don't see much point in saying anything more. Ultimately the difference in our views comes down to how we see children. I see them as thinking human beings capable of discerning things. What you see them as I can't say for sure of course, but I know that some people see them as something like walking tape recorders whose every experience is indelibly marked upon their minds. Why people so easily forget what they were like as children I'll never understand. I know I wasn't a tape recorder and I doubt you were either.

    Lee Reynolds
  • As I stated in another post, I believe the 13 year old who killed himself did so in large part because he was sheltered and raised within a context that was at odds with the world he lived in. I've known quite a few people whose parents came here from other countries and all of them were raised as if they were still living in those countries. I think this is what was happening with that poor kid. His world collapsed when he disappointed his parents because he was taught from a young age to always honor and obey his parents, etc. etc. Chances are he really did believe he was going to jail since he wasn't street smart enough to know better. He wasn't street smart because his parents sheltered him from anything that might teach him to be. Thus he ended his life over something that the rest of us would never dream of.

    As for people who didn't turn alright, it wasn't because of anything they saw on TV or on the internet, it was because of the choices they made. There is much senseless debate of environment verses genetics in determining how a person is going to come out and what their life will be like. The truth is that we are not a product of our genes, nor are we a product of our environment. Rather we are a product of how we choose to deal with our genes and our environment. If I am execptional in any way it is in that I know and understand this.

    Lee Reynolds
  • Only if you mean regular as in metamucil
  • "In fact if you think about it enough, you might realise that our choices are defined and limited by our genes and environment which means that our genes and environment do partially define who we are."

    If you thought about it enough, you'd realize that while the range of choices we have are rarely limitless, what is not limited is our ability to make a good choice. This is true for anyone who is responsible for their own actions.

    There are three kinds of problems in life. The first are things that nothing can be done about. Genetics falls into this catagory. The second are problems that you yourself have created. The choices we make fall into this catagory. The third are problems which we either self-perpetuate or otherwise refuse to deal with. The environment falls into the third catagory.

    There are people of course who will disagree with this. Who will claim that basically we are all victims and who will in fact encourage us to be so. They're called liberals.
  • by leereyno (32197) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @02:40AM (#222444) Homepage Journal
    My point exactly.

    We should be worrying about providing a balanced mental diet for our children so that the occassional greaseburger isn't going to do anything to them overall.

    On the other hand if someone eats nothing but bean sprouts then they're going to turn out pretty messed up as well.
  • by leereyno (32197) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @12:31AM (#222445) Homepage Journal
    I've never been able to understand how it is that anyone would WANT censorship of anything.

    There is no such thing as an idea or a fact that needs to be hidden away from view. If something is a fact then hiding it is not going to change it. If it is an idea then it will stand or fall based upon its merits.

    Therefore the only people who are in favor of censorship are those who fear the truth, or whose own ideas do not stand up to cross examination.

    Most of the censor happy types will drag out the old argument that there are things in this world that are harmful for children to see. Bullshit. I've never seen anything in my life, and I'm about to turn 30, that I ever thought would be inherently harmful for someone of any age to see. Now if you take something, say violence, and feed someone a died of nothing but violence, then yes I can see how that might be harmful to anyone of any age. But seeing violence or sex or you name it within the context of other things so that an overall balance is created is no more harmful to a 14 year old than it is to a 40 year old. The "save the children" argument is a weak argument that the censorship types fall back on because they don't have anything else to stand on.

    Think about it, if censorship was a good idea, would anyone have to resort to a gut-level fear based argument to convince anyone that it was?

    This is why I say that censorhip is a crime. It is a crime because it is a lie that is not just told, it is a lie that is perpetrated upon other people. It is an act of violence against the mind of another.

    The best way to fight censorhip is to refuse to be silenced and to refuse to be censored. There isn't anything anyone can do to you that would be worse than allowing your sources of information to be controlled. Information control is mind control, don't let your mind be controlled.

    Lee Reynolds
  • In Athens people were conscripted into voting. In Tom Holt's 'The Walled Orchard', he says that "Democracy is Compulsary". If you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time you ended up voting. This was done with the use of a large rope dipped in red paint which was used to shepard everyone in the square into 'parliment' building. It was not nessesary for everyone to vote, just a reasonable cross section.

    The lack of education on subjects is normally overcome with the debating process, where people's points contain information incrementally creating understanding.

    Why not have representatives but give a percentage of the vote to the people. What I mean is where the representatives vote, let a portion of that vote be decided directly by citizens. Initially it would have to be a small percentage or none at all, but at least it would be evident if there is large grass roots opposition to a winning position. If nothing else, a useful tool for goverments who spend millions collecting data to find out what exactly people DO want.

    The only way that can normally happen in my country is a referendum. Governments don't do that unless they have a good chance of winning because if they lose, they lose power as well.

    In the more affluent european nations a massive majority of people have internet access (even if it's through public libraries). It would be possible for people to contribute directly towards the decision making process.

    If an Internet based system was implemented, it would have to be open-source of course, especially with the recent IIS incident...

    Voxol
    Who only just got around to seeing Antitrust
  • This is why we need a democracy. Not that sh*tty excuse involving elected representatives. I mean full-blown, everybody votes, democracy. As was done in Athens.

    If you think about it Slashdot is a lot like Ancient Greece. The powerful say their opinions loudly up front. Then everybody argues about it in the audience the same points being made many times over by different people, drowning out any differing opinions. They come to no consensus whatsoever and then they go ahead with what the powerful guy at the front said, 'cos they were too busy talking to hear the points others made.
  • "The SE freeway in Melbourne looks like it was designed in the US or Germany. Great design except the accleration lanes are where the exit ramps should be. Opps. Good thing thouse are almost symetrical."

    Huh? Please explain.

    I live in Melbourne and frequently use the Monash Freeway, and I have also driven on US Freeways - 101 in SF for example - so I am aware of the differences in design. I see nothing wrong in general with the design of exits and entries on this freeway so I would appreciate some expansion on your reasoning.
  • I dare say that that the US has the only content filtering industry - I can not think of a single non-US software company making filtering software (unless you count firewalls and such that is).

    Problem is that rather a lot of US centric stuff makes it out. Catagories related to religion and politics are self evidently junk. (Even in Canada and Mexico, where there isn't an ocean in the way.)
    More to the point how is any US company going to know what is offensive in Australia, slang terms tend to be those which vary most between different language dialects.
  • There's one here in Hong Kong. It has a genuine design to block your access to any site referenced to restricted words like 'sex'.

    Could be difficult to read various languages derived from Latin or for that matter assembly language. (e.g. opcodes for setting index registers.)
  • The problem with a full democracy is that it doesn't scale very well beyond the size of a small city-state. When you have the affairs of a whole nation to attend to, you can't poll every citizen on every single issue or we'd never get any real work done.

    You have exactly the same problem with elected representatives. Either you have too large an assembly or it's impossible for these people to actually do their job in the first place.
  • there is no evidence that seeing sex is any way harmful

    Not only does there not appear to be evidence people have actually tried hard to find such evidence.

    Exposure to real violence is by far the most important factor followed by seeing violence in the news; movies and television programs, which are fantasy, come in a very, very distant third.

    Note that film and TV classification does not even follow level of violence. Many children's cartoons are very violent (and often populated by superbeings which can survive trama without injury.)
  • Acceleration lanes need more room to accelerate while exit lanes only need enough room to get off the main road and break. Many of the interchanges on the se are backwards. email me for more details...
  • Its only money....
    And its a goverment that uses every option to create a new set of standards to promote jobs. Too bad the jobs all end up overseas and the locals pay for it.

    Oz has its very own TV standard that isn't quite like anywhere else in the world. TVs cost 4x what they do in the US, Tiwan, Japan... Its part of the reason why you can count the digital TV's on one hand. At least the US has nearly 100k of them :-)

    The power here is the highest voltage in the world. Its 240V measured the old way. Europe is working on 230V the new way. The new way, I get 280V true RMS here.

    Phones need Austel approval. FCC & CE approval won't cut it here. We need extra protection.

    How about radio devices. A 5 watt device here is not going to interfeer in a different country. But there's special testing that has to be done thats extra over standard FCC and CE testing. The frequency spectrum seems to be a mix of almost UK and almost US stuff but offten swaped. 800mhz vs 900mhz for analog phones 900mhz vs 800mhz for police bands. This was to protect the local radio market but Motorola is still an American company.

    Smoke detectors need special approval. Thats why they were only required last year. They were too expensive for landlords before that.

    The SE freeway in Melbourne looks like it was designed in the US or Germany. Great design except the accleration lanes are where the exit ramps should be. Opps. Good thing thouse are almost symetrical. The Island road rule (if you live on an island you drive on the wrong side of the road) bites again. Australia is the largest market for large right hand drive cars in the world with total new car sales typical of a small US city means every body gets to pay more in money, emmisions and safety.

    See what you get when your politions try to help?
  • only six complaints about local sites were made in the second 6 months of operation. It suggests that the majority of money spent, and investigations carried out, only helps the largely U.S.-based content filtering industry

    <devil's advocate>
    Maybe the limit of 6 complaints suggests instead that the blocking software is accomplishing it's tasks... ?? If you're a government agency working on this, and you do this because you're getting complaints from your constituents, wouldn't you consider 6 complaints in the 2nd 6 mos of operations to be a grand success...?
    </devil's advocate>

  • The ABA refused to release details of censored sites, because "in our view to release URLs would be counter to the object of the scheme"

    "...I know a fireman who looks after the fire..."
  • Does that include the bit where the only reason that those ancients could afford to HAVE a democracy is because they had enough slaves to do all the grunt work for them? (Of course, the slaves didn't get to participate in the "democracy".)
  • For all the noble intent the problem was, and is, that such schemes can't work. Ignoring the theoretical issue (it can't be done, communications networks exist to communicate information) and concentrating on the actual - sites just re-locate to a colo site elsewhere - tar up the site, FTP it over, un-tar and go (in the best case), the transfer is the slowest bit, say 100KB/s, that 200MB (or whatever, wild guess) is gone in under an hour, smaller sites go in minutes. DNS could slow em down but they may bave some room to play there - is it illegal to serve DNS?

    The government was told this - CSIRO, who do know their stuff - but the govt. go ahead anyway, to placate some rabib morons who probably didn't even read the reports and wouldn't understand them if they did. Consequence is we blow a chunk of money on essentially nothing (sounds like government doesn't it).

    I suppose it isn't all bad. At least those public servants who got paid to surf porn at work were actually doing their job.

  • What's wrong with being lazy all of a sudden? I have a set of values which does not include chasing round after my fucking kids all the day to try and stop fuckheads like you showing their dicks to them. What about my fucking rights?

    You have the right to not fucking have kids if you are not up to the task of fucking raising them.

    And why the fuck haven't they seen your dick yet? You fucking afraid of the human body and all that goes along with it? You fucking ashamed or something?

    Teach your children before someone else gets a chance to.


    --

  • If it weren't for censorship, Dorothy would have known right away that the Wizard was really a fake, and... er, oh, THAT Oz.
  • I find that only 6 sites were complained against. I'm think that only 6 sites were shutdown after hundereds or thousands of complaints.
  • by ozbird (127571) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @01:50AM (#222462)
    Whether or not the censorship is working is irrelevant if you look at the history behind it. Put simply, the current Oz government needed the support of an independent Senator in the Upper House to pass its policies. In exchange for passing the censorship bill, they got his vote.

    Okay, so it cost $2.5M - what's the going rate for "encouraging" politicians in other countries?

    Internet censorship software: $50
    Yearly ISP dial-in account fees: $360
    Buying a Senator's vote: $2.5M
    Pissing off thousands of voters: Priceless
  • I've never been able to understand how it is that anyone would WANT censorship of anything.
    Well I do. I cannot stand advertisements. Every time I hear a football stadium named after a huge corporation, every time I saw an ad for a local business in my high school, everytime I hear any PR fluff (be it Windows, Linux, whatever) I just want them to SHUT THE HELL UP! If I want to buy a car from you I'll find you, if I want to look at your product I want FACTS. If censorship removed all the PR crap from this world then believe me there wont be many people piping up for their right to spew their crap on the rest of the world.
  • by sighmon (133599) <ebay@NosPam.simon.barlow.name> on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @01:13AM (#222464) Homepage

    Timothy's writeup does not make the facts clear regarding the number of complaints made, he states:

    only six complaints about local sites were made in the second 6 months of operation.

    It should be made clear that there were 290 complaints made but only six were found to be hosted locally. The relevant paragraph states:

    "Although 290 complaints were received during the six months, only 139 were found to relate to prohibited content and, of these, only six were found to be hosted locally."

    There should be a clear distinction between complaints made and those acted upon.

  • by Sabriel (134364) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @03:36AM (#222465)
    An aussie here. Yeah, g'day. :p

    6 or 290, it's still a farce. The govt's own statistics reckon about six million aussie adults used the internet May 1999 to May 2000. That's just adults, so you could add a few more for children, but anyway - even if each and every complaint of the 290 was by a different person, it means less than 0.0049% (yeah, that's two zeroes in there after the decimal point) of aussie users bothered to get off their bums and complain to the government about something they didn't like on the internet.

    Now I know we aussies are a laid-back bunch, but two-and-a-half million dollars just for that?! Our road system can't cope with our population, the GST we had to have has ripped through our economy like a case of diarrhoea, retired federal pollies are snorting their 69% superannuation while joe average citizen gets 8% if he's lucky, (blah whinge grumble), and the government spends two-and-a-half million dollars so a committee can tell the police there are six naughty aussie sites they should, er, take a look at...

    Flaming expensive bunch of complaints.

  • Jonathan, I'm glad you posted your comment. It's interesting that it too somehow got to -1 (troll), even though it was posted on May 17, days after this article has moved off slashdot's main page. I don't believe your comment [slashdot.org] is a troll, though it would have been better had you not posted anonymously... assuming it really is you.

    It wasn't my intention to "get in the middle" of this ugly dispute, nor did I intend to re-ignite a flame war... I just read Seth's rant and wondered two things:

    • Is the story true? It was obviously written with the passion of a flame-war and it seems unlikely that Mike Sims (or anyone) would intentionally take down a website like that. The overall tone of Seth's writing is so strongly antagonistic that it almost automatically discredits itself, or alternately anyone reading it would at least wonder if Seth or others did something to really offend Mike. I disagree that a sysadmin should never take a site down, but refusing to provide an archive of the materials seems pretty bad in my mind.
    • Are all slashdot comments about Michael Sims's involvment with censorware.org automatically moderated to -1, which is effectively censorship? At first this seems almost unbelievable... but this thread has changed my view of slashdot's moderation system. I'm still not ready to leap to the conclusing that Mike is censoring unfavorable posts about himself, but my overall opinion of the likelyhood of censorship right here on slashdot has gone from "impossible" to "hmmm...."
    Dear moderator (assuming you're not actually a slashdot editor), if you're about to click off-topic or troll, please take a moment to ask yourself if it might actually be a good idea to let some questions about the integrity of slashdot's moderation system to be allowed to see the light of day, instead of grouped together with the likes of first post, goat-whatever, name calling, etc.

    Likewise, dear reader, if this comment reaches -1, take a moment to ask yourself how likely that is, being posted a full four days after the article was on slashdot's main page. I post to slashdot maybe 2-3 times a week, and my earlier post was the second time I have ever been moderated down (the other was intended as a joke that I thought might be funny at the time, but it wasn't). I've been at the karma cap for a long time, and this post will start at +2, so it you see it at -1, that means it was three times moderated down, four days after the article was on the main page.

    This thread has certainly raised some questions in my mind about slashdot's moderation and the possibility of abuse by slashdot staff. There's certainly not nearly enough evidence to reach a well reasoned conclusion the speech is being supressed/censored here, but I think asking the question is a valuable expression of free speech.

  • It's quite obvious that censorship of the Internet does not work for a variety of reasons:

    1. Ideological: It removes the right of the people to decide what they can and can't see. This goes against every idea of a free, democratic society which, among other things, allows the populace a free media. Now practically every mainstream newspaper and television station is owned by either Rupert Murdoch or Kerry Packer. Channel 10 is also commercially owned, which leaves only SBS and the ABC, which has been subject to repeated funding cuts and accusations of bias simply because the government doesn't like what it's saying. Both Murdoch and Packer have enconomic interests in controlling the news (e.g. HDTV spectrum selloff), so one of your last options (besides small-time publications like The Big Issue) for a free media is the Internet. Now the government wishes to control that, too. It wishes to "protect" the public from the dangerous and "prohibited" content that might corrupt us or our children. So basically, any information that does not conform to an amorphous and undefined set of parameters is considered "prohibited" and must be taken down.

    2. Technical: Because the Internet is a global communications medium, then given the right conditions information can be accessed from anywhere on the planet. That's right, Mr Brian "Pornophobia" Harradine (the politician who screwed the people big-time by making this a condition of the introduction of the GST), anywhere. And it's incredibly easy to transfer content from one web server to another. So if, for example, you find a web site that hosts "prohibited" content (a term which has remained undefined) and report it then the "take-down" order is issued. Big deal. The content of that web site can be transferred to another web server and the site can be up again in a number of hours. The program also holds ISPs responsible for hosting this content, which puts an unreasonable expectation on the service provider to filter their content 24/7, further degrading the quality of service.

    3. Economic: The economics of this decision are simple. If the rules governing the conduct of businesses in a given country are too strict, then they'll simply take their very large amounts of money and jobs and go elsewhere. Likewise, a company is less likely to host its website in Australia if it runs the risk of being taken down by a few minor complaints. This means that less businesses will be willing to invest in Australia, which means that the government is missing out on revenue that they would be getting if they simply removed this legislation and this program. It's a complete waste of money, since over $2.5 million has been invested for practically no effect.

    Whatever way you look at it, sooner or later the madness has to stop. So what do you do about it? Make your views known at election time. Vote for the party based on its long-term goals, not one that's willing to screw the country for short-term gain and the vote of some old-fashioned politicians who have no idea how the world really works. If you don't like what the Liberals are doing, then it's simple. Vote them out. Something has to be done before this goes too far.

    Self Bias Resistor
    "No one expects the Spanish Inquisition." - Monty Python

  • Slashdot censors EVERYTHING on a site when Slashdotted!

  • but only about stuff that is either (a) not prohibited content or (b) not hosted locally. Preferably the former. C'mon, you can completely trash this farce, with just a little effort! The censors have to investigate everything. The more time they spend investigating bogus complaints, the less time they'll have to find anything real. Get those statistics up to ~3000 complaints, ~100 of which are prohibited content and 3are hosted locally, and then maybe you'll see some action.
  • It's too bad the economic argument even had to be brought up...
    ___
  • The primary aim of censorship is not to prevent adults from obtaining information, but to prevent children from accessing inappropriate materials.

    That's certainly the most commonly stated aim. The problem with this formulation is that if you let the censorial types get away with a little bit of their bullshit in the name of protecting children, then the definition of 'children' will eventually expand until it includes *you*.

    Stated another way: Yes, J. Random Moralist wants to keep me, an adult, from accessing materials that *he* finds inappropriate. Have you ever met one of those people? They're generally convinced that (insert deity here) is on their side, and they'll use scare tactics, false statistics, and unreasonable fears about unlikely harm to children to support their position.
    ---------

  • I find that only 6 sites were complained against. I'm think that only 6 sites were shutdown after hundereds or thousands of complaints.
    From the article: 290 complaints were made. 139 were found to be involve prohibited content (which indicates the intelligence of the people making complaints). Only 6 of those site were hosted in Australia. The EFF speculate (they only have access to a summary report, not the complaints themselves) that all 6 cases involved newsgroup content.
  • Sorry to rain on your parade, dude, but our government is about as left wing as Hitler was.

    Well, according to some (including Adolf himself) Mr. Hitler was indeed left-wing. Extreme left at that. I believe he referred to himself as a "national-socialist" or however you'd translate that...

  • by egjertse (197141) <slashdot.futt@org> on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @12:53AM (#222474) Homepage
    It suggests that the majority of money spent, and investigations carried out, only helps the largely U.S.-based content filtering industry.

    I dare say that that the US has the only content filtering industry - I can not think of a single non-US software company making filtering software (unless you count firewalls and such that is). I may be wrong. In fact, I usually am, but it's amazing how far you can get with ignorance and prejudice. Nuff said.

    Couple that with US also having the worlds largest porn industry, and you more or less sum up americans: perfect little conservative christians on the outside, sleazy pr0n-surfing degenerates like the rest of us when they think noone's looking.

    Bearing that in mind, I'm not at all surprised that grassroots response to the aussie pr0n filters weren't all they'd hoped for. Heck, If I found this huge pr0n site that'd slipped through the filters, I'd start downloading like hell - not report it to the government. I mean, come on!

    Then again, It could be just me. Usually is.

    Sigh.

  • That's because the traditional spectrum has been maintained as a means of limiting the debate -- if you can keep people thinking only "left" and "right", then they'll never look "up" or "down", thus maintaining a two-party system.

    Libertarian ideas, as an example, are almost unthinkable to many voters, simply because they can't place them on that line and that's too weird. Libertarians must be crypto-authoritarians, or closet communists, or something. (There must be other parties in the same boat -- anybody have other examples?)

    As for your pic of Hitler at a Communist rally -- are you sure about that? Could it have been a diplomatic event during the Non-Agression Pact period? I'm no historian, but a Bolshevik Hitler would surprise me a great deal.

  • Well, I guess some people just need to find things out the hard way.

    Duh, don't they realize that Slashdot is always right?

    Kurdt
  • That is complete and utter bollocks.

    "As I stated in another post, I believe the 13 year old who killed himself did so in large part because he was sheltered and raised within a context that was at odds with the world he lived in. I've known quite a few people whose parents came here from other countries and all of them were raised as if they were still living in those countries. I think this is what was happening with that poor kid. His world collapsed when he disappointed his parents because he was taught from a young age to always honor and obey his parents, etc. etc. Chances are he really did believe he was going to jail since he wasn't street smart enough to know better."

    Do you realise that every single sentance up to here is a supposition and/or personal belief? With all these great suppositions and possibilities how can you draw the following conclusion? ... "He wasn't street smart because his parents sheltered him from anything that might teach him to be."

    Well following the format of your argument... here's an alternative version. (Disclaimer - I absolutely DO NOT believe the following scenario is factual or possible.)

    "I believe the 13 year old who killed himself did so in large part because he was mentally abused by the American Shool system. I've known quite a few children who have suffered the same kind of abuse from shools. I know many situations where the punishment was far to severe for the offense. I think this is what happened with that poor kid. This poor kid lived in a calm environment and was suddenly verbally and mentally abused by the teachers. Chances are he really did believe he was going to jail since he wasn't a regular offender. As a first time offender his punishment should have been lighter.To conclude: the american education system killed him."

    Oh and by the way - what is this shit? --

    The truth is that we are not a product of our genes, nor are we a product of our environment. Rather we are a product of how we choose to deal with our genes and our environment.

    That is not the truth. That is your belief. The truth is that you have provided no evidence whatsoever for your belief. In fact if you think about it enough, you might realise that our choices are defined and limited by our genes and environment which means that our genes and environment do partially define who we are.

    I thought you comment about copyright very interesting but this is just plain shoddy crap.

    Yours regretfully, P14cid0


    Pinky: "What are we going to do tomorrow night Brain?"
  • by AirSupply (210301)
    It's astounding the number of complaints you hear about the GST (Goods and Services Tax, being the "universal sales tax" mentioned by the previous poster). All the people I know who work with accounting type stuff think the GST is a good thing because it simplified sales tax immensely. It was just that the sales tax system the GST replaced was a wholesale sales tax that was totally invisible to the average consumer. And bear in mind that John Howard got voted in on a GST platform.

    On the other hand, Richard Allston, the Minister for Technological Stuff, has got to go.

  • That would be worth about $1.295 million U.S., at today's rate [news.com.au]. At least somebody's getting some employment out of this. Kind of like Lawyers Find Profit in Dot-Com Disasters [ecommercetimes.com].

    The single most dangerous thing you can do in politics is shut off information from people who don't agree with you. - Molly Ivins
  • I agree entirely. We should censor something, why not start there?

    Hey Look #vortex, I got us on /. Wooo!!

    Wooo!

    Look Mum, I'm on /. Woo Hooo!!!!!
  • Shouldn't this be left up to the parents? Isn't it absurd to force other parents and non-parents alike to pay for someone else's ideal of morality?

    Absolutely. I mean, hey - when I was growing up I saw pr0n from about the age of 12 onwards. I've managed to make it to 35, and don't think I've turned out too badly.

    As far as censoring what my child sees (he's 10), I pretty much don't bother - education is far better than censorship! If it's a TV show that he doesn't like (perhaps it scares him?) then he knows he can walk away - or hit one of the magic buttons ("off" or "switch channels"...) if it's just him watching TV.

    The same goes for internet access: his PC has a link to the net (gotta love cable modems!). I'll admit that I kept an eye on what he does, so I was sure he was getting the stuff he was looking for. Guess what? 95+% of his time on the net is on sites related to TV channels - usually Fox Kids or Cartoon Network. The rest of the time is search engines or reference sites, looking up info for school.

    I know he's seen nudity, but he's ignored it. It doesn't seem to be something that he's desperately interested in (for now! :-)), so I figure he's OK on the 'net. Sure, I've told him to ask before he gives out info (like an email address), but so far I haven't said "no".

    Shouldn't adults be allowed to have "unhindered access" to "these materials"? Or is free speech and freedom of expression expendable so that parents can be lazy?

    I guess the bottom line is this: I agree completely that it should be the responsibility of parents to protect and guide their own children. I certainly don't think a government has any right to tell me what I can look at, and I don't think they have the right to say what my son can look at either!

  • Well, that was their plan, but the guy's term ended before he could vote (for the GST).

    Dang, his name is on the tip of my fingers. Quite a forgetable little shit from Tasmania. Drove a fucked up car, and had some really warped morals. Damn independants stuffing up our lovable two part system.

  • Hey, if the Aussie gov'mint wants to keep throwing money at U.S. based corps that write the filtering software, I got no problem with it. (I'd have less of a problem if I worked for one of those corps, but...)

    This just strikes me as yet another waste of time, space and money by a goverment. It isn't the first time, it won't be the last, and there will be others when the politicos don't understand the tech they are trying to regulate.

    Kierthos
  • Considering that most "kids" in a house with Internet access know more about computers then dear old mom and dad, it's usually a moot point.

    "Oh look, dad installed some filter software! I only know 42 ways around that!"

    I started looking at porn when I was 12, and I turned out just fine. Now if you're excuse me, I have to go shave my palms.

    Kierthos
  • Check me on this, but how are you supposed to get revenue out of censorship anyway? The whole speed limit/ticket thing I can see (I've gotten enough warnings and such for that kind of thing), but how are you supposed to get money out of restricting web sites? Charge for the hit that didn't happen?

    Kierthos
  • With all kinds of information coming at them, kids hardly get the time to be kids any more. Instead, they are seen as small adults. Tv commercials directed at kids, people like you who think kids have a right to see all there is. Heck, that sad story about that 13 year old yesterday is an example of a kid no being able to fully act as an adult. Just let them have a few years of having a relatively undisturbed life, they'll have plenty of years as an adult to see all they would ever want.

    Btw, as a college graduate working for a major university, you should be aware that you are not 100% mr joe average. If your life turned out all right, good for you, but please don't assume that everyone will turn out in the same way.

  • There is actually a whole class of censorship which in my oppinion is far more ominous. That is the 'unintentional' censorship which is the direct result of the coming together of media outlets and publishing houses. Although the internet provides access to austensibly a wide variety of information, it is already becoming restrictive in it's diseminated content

    Please bear with me while I rant a moment:

    With deregulation of the comunications industry, media outlets have been allowed to merge and grow so large that in some areas they are one of the only sources of information in certain markets. For example, when students these days want to leard about WWII, they watch the history hannel, or A&E, rather than go to a library, where there are varied works by different authors discussing different aspects of the topic. Today, people are relying on television, and there is no variety in the information presented there. A&E and ther History Channel are owned by the same company, snd will generally promote material with the slant the management of that company might have. This may not be intentional censorship but it has the same effect.

    Well, you might say, the internet provides information in vast quantities to millions of users... Maybe, maybe not. If I do primary source research and produce a scolarly work, I have two choices. I can have it printed in a scolarly journal, or publish it on the internet. IF I publish it on the net, I then need to publicize it's existance. How do I do that? well, rencently search engines have begun to charge several hundred doollars in order to include new sites in their indexes. They claim that non-business content will eventually be indexed (I think the estimate at excite was 8 weeks to index new non-business content) but I havn't seen it happen.

    We have ecentially turned over the 'library card catalogs of the internet' over to corporations who's goal is to make a proffit. This is an interesting choice to say the least. These companies make no commitment to index any particular content, or to index new content within a particular period... introducing the potential to have valuable scolarly work lost amidst the noise of the internet. It's nice to have more information, but it introduces the possibility that truly valuable information is lost in the frey.

    Also, there is the possibility that information stored on the internet will disappear after sponsorship of that information disappears. In order for information to appear on the internet, someone needs to pay for the bandwidth and arrange for hosting of the material. What if Galileo or Aristottle has published their works onthe internet? Their ideas weren't widely recognized or accepted until after they died, and as soon as they died, the their sponsorship of the material would disappear. This raises the question, what happens to truly valuable information which is not recognized as such until years after the death of the originator of that information? Does it simply disappear off the net? Information nowadays is not nearly as static as it once was.

    While not blatently censorship, these issues should be of great concern to all, and because thay are not blatently censorship, they don't raist the ire and heated discussions that blatent cencosrhip does. For that reason, this non-blatent cencorship is even more dangerous than the more obvious types.

    --CTH

    --
  • Keep it QUITE! With the current state of the "technology industry", the LAST thing we want to do is to decrease incoming revenue and increase unemployeed nerds!

    I already need to beat hungry dot-com'ers off with a stick just to keep my CURRENT job.

    (cough) Um... Astrialia, ahem... you must protect your young from dirty pictures! Your very lives depend on it!
  • No. The primary aim of censorship is not to prevent adults from obtaining information, but to prevent children from accessing inappropriate materials.

    Shouldn't this be left up to the parents? Isn't it absurd to force other parents and non-parents alike to pay for someone else's ideal of morality?

    Perhaps you think children should have unhindered access to these materials?
    Shouldn't adults be allowed to have "unhindered access" to "these materials"? Or is free speech and freedom of expression expendable so that parents can be lazy?

    -jhon
  • I would question that analogy. There's a big difference between highway speed limits and censorship.

    A few examples:

    Highway speed limits cost very little extra in the form of taxes

    censorship not only forces a foreign and quite often different value system on citizens, but it also forces them to pay for it.

    censorship is among the more pricey of legislations.

    -jhon
  • I think I may not have made my point clearly. You can't get revenue out of censorship. At least not without making the world 1984 scary.

    Censorship would cost huges sums of money which would come from the public in the form of taxes or higher costs for services (like higher ISP charges so they can afford to keep their "filters" (read though police) up to date).

    -jhon
  • by Jhon (241832) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @01:26AM (#222492) Homepage Journal
    How much do you think a speed limit sign costs? How many signs do you think there are?
    In California, About $5 a sign, plus an additional $10 on average to replace that sign when necessary. There's a speed limit sign every 5 miles, or when the limit changes. That cost is offset by the revenue generated by traffic tickets. This revenue also covers the cost of enforcing the law.


    Censorship has never and will never produce the revenue necessary to cover it's costs -- not even a fraction of it. That would and has come from the pockets of Joe Public.

    -jhon
  • I can not think of a single non-US software company making filtering software

    There's one here in Hong Kong. It has a genuine design to block your access to any site referenced to restricted words like 'sex'. i.e. you can't even access educational reports [ed.gov.hk] which has a reference to 'sex'.
    My girlfriend complained to me about it. Well, I figured it also have anti-uninstallation design that it won't go away unless you wipe your harddisk clean and reinstall. Next day I pasted a label on her monitor "Never ever install anything comes with ISP's CD, even it's free. Thank you for your cooperation.".
  • Could be difficult to read various languages derived from Latin or for that matter assembly language. (e.g. opcodes for setting index registers.)
    So I said it's 'genuine design'. ;)
    and they don't care you having Latin sex. :D
  • the only people who are in favor of censorship are those who fear the truth, or whose own ideas do not stand up to cross examination.

    No. The primary aim of censorship is not to prevent adults from obtaining information, but to prevent children from accessing inappropriate materials.

    Many people who support censorship believe that it is a crime to expose children to violence and pornography.

    Perhaps you think children should have unhindered access to these materials?

    Dancin Santa
  • They must be doing a really great job, having only 6 complaints to field. The censorship agency is able to keep things pretty tightly controlled, it seems.

    It's a little like my elephant repellent. There ain't no elephants around here, are there? Heh heh heh.

    Dancin Santa
  • if someone eats nothing but bean sprouts then they're going to turn out pretty messed up as well

    Quite the contrary. You'd expect that they'd be pretty regular.

    Dancin Santa
  • Well I do. I cannot stand advertisements.

    So what you're saying is that because you can't stand ads they should be censored so that I, too, won't receive them (you can't censor the name of a stadium for only a part of the audiance).

    So you're actually saying that I may not receive ads for stuff that actually interests me. For sadly, the only entity that's able to correctly judge what I'm interested in and what not is me. Also, if I start a company and offer something new and innovative, noone will buy it, because noone will know. I didn't advertise it (or it was censored by you) and normal people don't read magazines that deal in new ways to wipe your behind (in case I want to sell innovative toilet-paper).

    You see, even your example for something that could be censored because it's a nuisance (advertisements) is actually ridiculous, limiting other people's liberties, developement of products and society (you'll never be te same once your behind has been wiped my way! ;-).

  • I read your reply 3 times.

    I'm still not sure what you were trying to say.

    1) Censorship is bad and it's not working. It should be stopped, but not because it's not working but because it's intrinsically bad.

    2) We may laugh at australian censor-ware blocking a huge 6 sites. But while we do, we can rest assured that the people who installed the system and at whom we're laughing are developing something new, something better. Maybe even somehting automatic.

  • by phooka.de (302970) on Tuesday May 15, 2001 @01:20AM (#222500)
    Based on the thinking displayed here we should also give up on the war on drugs, too? After all, it plainly isn't working so let's just let all the kids go out and kill themselves by smoking crack.

    Actually that's not the point. It shouldn't be abolished because it's not working, it should be abolished because it's a threat to civil rights and liberties.

    It may be laughed at because it's not working, though. However, if you think about it a bit longer, laughing at it seems quite a stupid thing to do. So fine, version 1.0 didn't work. What do you think "they" will do while we're busy laughing our butts off? Right, prepare for version 1.1 or 2.0, and then they will be the ones laughing at us. Or rather at you, since I'm in Europe and still uncensored, who knows for how long.

  • Anonymous Coward??

    That name sounds about right. Get back to me when you have become man enaugh to sign your user-name to your insults and I might take your infantile comments a little seriously.
  • Actually Adolf used to be a communist, I have seen a photo of him at a Bolshevik meeting wearing a red armband. Why people call the nazis right wing is beyond me. That description does not quite fit they borrowed from extreme right and left and hated the social demorcrats, liberals and other center parties. Nazism is a strange political hybrid that does not quite fit anywhere in the traditional spectrum.
  • No. The primary aim of censorship is not to prevent adults from obtaining information, but to prevent children from accessing inappropriate materials. Many people who support censorship believe that it is a crime to expose children to violence and pornography. Perhaps you think children should have unhindered access to these materials?

    So you are pissed because you can't plant your kid in front of a PC or a TV and skip all that Raising and building the little guys/girls character bit?

    I live in a country where we see the same violent movies as in the US we have acess to the same internetpornography. I will freely admit to having been exposed to pornography at 13 and I can not say it made me a pervert it mostly just made me interested in women. I have been exposed to Hollywood gore movies and I have yet to take a submachinegun into a supermarket and kill 30 people. And it is not like I could not get my hands on a gun, I own one. I was tought by my parents to have respect for guns and to solve my problems with other methods than violence. I am not a decent human being today because I was sheilded from pornography and violent movies as a child. I am abele to deal with these things because I was tought Right From Wrong by my parents. It is their upbringing that made me able to live around Porn, Gore movies and guns without turning into a drooling pervert chainsaw killer. If you want to raise a child you are going to have to accept the fact that there are big bad things in the world and your child will be better off if you teach it how to deal with them rather than sheilding your child from reality.

    Sheilding your child from reality will only leave it more vulnerable to things it has not been tought to deal with. Your child is going to be influenced more by what your teach it than by what it sees on TV and the Internet. And it is what YOU teach it, your upbringing that will decide how well it deals with what it sees.
  • While there is a small amount of evidence that movie violence can have a negative influence on children, there is no evidence that seeing sex is any way harmful and the very notion that it could harm them is itself depraved; and let's not forget that the lunatics who put forward this notion also believe that nudity is somehow harmful to children (clearly they must be born immune to their own nudity). Exposure to real violence is by far the most important factor followed by seeing violence in the news; movies and television programs, which are fantasy, come in a very, very distant third. Of course it is easier for politicians to point fingers at movies than it is to carry out the long term work required to remove exposure to real violence.
  • Well, do you ship Overseas? If yes, pliz I need 3 of them boxes 1 for my mom's AOL 1 for my brother Pac Man 2000 Myself, I will link this to my Dual PIII 1Gig and start a Quake Server 8)
  • I've seen this evil nonsense perpetrated elsewhere, and as a matter of urgency I say again that the Australian crime rate is bumping along where it always has - at a level that can only be dreamed of by the metropolitan dwellers of the USA. The gun buy-back was the most positive action taken by the present government. If they had pursued a similarly ethical course in their other policies, they wouldn't be in the bind they're in.
  • Naziism was kind of a 'New Age' movement. They thought of themselves as the truly modern people. They rose to power in part because the Nazi movement grasped the power of modernism (modern means of mass communications and control) and used technology effectively. There was also an 'Occult' side to the Nazi movement which sometimes gets mention, though usually out of the mainstream.

    The Nazis thought they were transcending history, bringing on a new age of man. Similarly, Communists make this kind of claim. I wouldn't say they are the same thing, though.
  • Huge rise in crime?
    Sure crime is becoming a problem in western sydney, but not having guns makes no difference. Hardly anyone owned guns before anyway, so nobody could stop someone with a gun before.

    What about the DECREASE in suicide? as people can't find guns, they have to take other methods to kill themselves, and whilst thinking how to do that change their minds.

    Rob
  • It's when I see nievety like this that a smile really spreads across my face.

    You people know the truth, it's impossible to censor the internet. So, when I and my cronies decide to try doing just that, we already know it's not going to work.

    WE DID THIS SO THAT GRANDMA SIXPACK WOULD THINK WE WERE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT ALL THE NASTIES WE'VE TOLD HER ARE ON THE NET.

    Did the opposition set up anything like this? No.
    Did we know that this massive waste of money would somehow surface in the media? Yes.
    Does it concern us that the public erroniously thinks we are putting massive resouces towards fixing a problem in society? Not at all.

    In short, guys. Either acknowledge that this can't work, or sound surprised when it doesn't, but don't do both.

    All your p0rn are now belong to me!
    Sen. Hon. Richard K R Alston
  • I think not.

    "Unless a people remain educated and informed, it is idle to expect the continuace of civil liberty, or the capacity for self-government."
    -Texas Declaration of independence

    Athenian democracy was based on the premise that the public body is the agent best able to determine what will best serve it, i.e. 'I know what's best for me.' In contrast, the founders of American democracy were convinced that the public body would elect competent agents to exercise governmental authority for their good, i.e. 'YOU know what's best for me.'
    There is an exceptional myth going about that American government is a 'true' democracy. Bunk. America is a Republic consisting of democratically elected officials (in most cases).
    The percieved failure of american government to carry out the will of the people is not relevant to the intentions of those who drafted the Constitution. What was relevant to them is that the elected officials take action that furthers the public good, which they do not do either consistently or often. The reason for this is that neither the officials nor the voters who elect them have continued in the practice of discretion, good judgement, and personal and civil virtue.
  • Slashdot is a clever and practicable example of Free Speech and independent thought, but is dismally inadequate as a governing system, because it's ALWAYS the same group of people who decides what gets done. Same editors, same reviewers, same webmaster... until someone dies and some other unspecified person, by some unspecified means, replaces them. Where's your fine governmental system then?!
  • Only six complaints were filed, according to antic, the writer of the article. So probably six individuals complained about one site each, and they were all different. Considering the proportion of six complaints to many million internet users in Australia, either; the system works brilliantly, meaning the Australian government has thoroughly searched out all of the "objectionable" content (whatever the hell THAT means), or nobody cares what someone else is doing on the internet, which would make the attempt to block or censor content a dismal failure due to lack of individual participation.
    Which sounds more like the modern mindset?
    What do you see American users doing?, Conscientously forming advocacy groups and making intelligent demands on the authorities, lawmakers, and the software industry?, or going off on knee-jerk reactions to the aforementioned "objectionable" content (again, WHATEVER the hell that means!)? My answer is, about 5% of the former, and 95% of the latter.
  • Ok, so only 6 RELEVANT complaints were filed. That is, only six complaints were filed that pertained to australia-based servers or service providers. Therefore, out of 139 instances of objectionable content, only 6 could be dealt with inside the authority of the project. I call that a DISMAL FAILURE.
  • A Labor Government may not be any better with internet censorship, in fact they may be even worse. The Labor Party consists of many factions including socialist factions. For those who have been to university, we can associate socialists with those who refer everything as being "sexist, racsist or homophobe". Internet censorship at the moment is only a highly expensive Net Nanny that has poorly attempted to filter out smutty porn sites. If Labor were in government, I would be very afraid of where the censorship would lead to. Regardless of where your opinion lies in regards to "smut" censorship, the last thing we want is for this law to be abused and turned into political censorship.

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