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Censorship The Internet Your Rights Online

Australian Internet Filter Enters Trial Phase 232

Posted by samzenpus
from the crikey-you-can't-read-that dept.
blake writes "News.com.au reports "The Government's plan to have internet service providers filter pornography and other internet content deemed inappropriate for children is going full-steam ahead. [...] The trial will evaluate ISP-level internet content filters in a controlled environment while filtering content inappropriate for children." It all sounds in good taste, and we are told that you will be able to opt out at any time, but will putting this filter in place simply give the powers that be the ability to block access to content for their own agendas. Censorship may be necessary, but should it be overseen by Government."
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Australian Internet Filter Enters Trial Phase

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  • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @12:56PM (#22559976) Homepage Journal
    Government is the -last- entity that should oversee any censorship--because it has the most to gain from having such control.
    • by apdyck (1010443)
      Agreed. Most ISPs already offer filtering software on a PC level, so why is there a need to enforce it on an ISP level? Why can we not just allow the parents to take control of their childrens' web viewing? They call them "Parental Controls", not "Government Controls". It all sounds a bit too sneaky for me. Why would they not mandate that all ISPs have to offer filtering software for the end user's PCs, in stead of making the ISP filter on their end?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by KublaiKhan (522918)
        Or even just take the step of making it an opt-IN rather than an opt-OUT service. That alone would make it far less suspicious looking.
        • by Brian Gordon (987471) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:10PM (#22560244)
          Or even leave it up to *gasp* the private sector to provide censorship software. Buying services from a company is the obvious opt-in solution. It doesn't make any sense to have the government provide opt-in services since everyone who's not opting in is helping to pay for it.
          • by hool5400 (257022) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:56PM (#22560910)
            The stupid thing is, they already provide free filtering software to download. The government has paid for it, on our behalf.

            The licence for the filter software cost them $AUD 85M, with only 145000 downloads of the software, and no doubt even less active users. Those that want it, have it. But it seems not many people care.

            Dan Rutter brings some light on the insanity here [blogsome.com].
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by HemmingSay (1136561)
        Apparently the Australian government have already tried this on a PC-level...and it was pretty much viewed as a massive waste of money, the guy from dansdata has an interesting piece on the cost/usage [blogsome.com] but hey, children - somebody won't think...
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cheater512 (783349)
          Actually that was from the previous government.
          This latest move is from the new government.
    • by gnick (1211984)
      Yep - We see government censorship used to oppress folks all over the world every day. "Won't somebody think of the children" is not an acceptable way to get your foot in the door.

      If only someone could come up with a better way to control content like this... Has anyone suggested the possibility of adding a .xxx domain suffix?
      • Has anyone suggested the possibility of adding a .xxx domain suffix?

        yes, but the US government blocked it...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sconeu (64226)
        Has anyone suggested the possibility of adding a .xxx domain suffix?

        IMO, the *real* issue of .xxx is not the one that the us.gov has (OMG, it approve5 pr0n!!!!), but rather, *WHO* decides what "must" go in .xxx.

        You? Me? Bush? The Saudis? The Taliban? What about the ACLU? Or the gov.au, or maybe gov.fr?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gnick (1211984)

          *WHO* decides what "must" go in .xxx.

          We may be straying a bit off-topic here but, IMHO, there's no reason to force anything onto the .xxx domain. Just make it available so that "legitimate" pornographers can opt-in. Then, those who are offended by such content can filter it easily and ignore it. And, it would be easier for concerned parties to focus on sites that remain on the .com side that are acting irresponsibly (failure to do age verification / illegal content / etc.)

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Arccot (1115809)

            *WHO* decides what "must" go in .xxx.

            We may be straying a bit off-topic here but, IMHO, there's no reason to force anything onto the .xxx domain. Just make it available so that "legitimate" pornographers can opt-in. Then, those who are offended by such content can filter it easily and ignore it. And, it would be easier for concerned parties to focus on sites that remain on the .com side that are acting irresponsibly (failure to do age verification / illegal content / etc.)

            Filtering is easy to do now using the PICS system [w3.org]. PICS has many different categories you can filter sites on, from violence to sexually explicit. Why should there be a TLD for porn, and not one for violence, hate speech, or any of a dozen other potentially offensive aspects of speech? The .XXX TLD is a too small band aid to an already solved problem.

            • by CSMatt (1175471)
              Does anyone really use that though? PICS has been in IE since version 4 and it seems that I'm the only one who's ever noticed it.
            • by gnick (1211984)

              Why should there be a TLD for porn, and not one for violence, hate speech, or any of a dozen other potentially offensive aspects of speech?

              Because there's a lot more porn on the web than there is violence, etc. Enough even, IMHO, to justify a separate TLD. I haven't actually surveyed, but my guess is that the internet hosts a lot more porn pages than are described by many of the TLDs in use. (OK, maybe I surveyed a little... But I didn't enjoy it...)

              Also, at least in the US, for some reason porn is considered more offensive than just about anything else. We're pretty desensitized to violence and hate speech, although definitely present,

          • Good thing I got all my porn when I was younger from 'legitimate' sources.

            Someone should tell these kids about Usenet.
    • Wrong reason (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EvilNTUser (573674) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:23PM (#22560474)
      "Government is the -last- entity that should oversee any censorship--because it has the most to gain from having such control."

      No, the government is exactly the entity that should oversee censorship, because it's the only organization that's accountable to the voters. No corporation should ever have the power to censor anything.

      Of course, I don't think even the government should have that power, but voters have always been clueless.
      • by poetmatt (793785)
        Umm, when have you ever heard of the government being held appropriately accountable for anything? I can certainly name people like Karl Rove, Bush, Microsoft, Taliban, Musharraf, things like "Terrorism"...I'm sure they are well held accountable, right? People can't even figure out the right responsible people let alone get the proper ones blamed let alone get them held accountable. Have you ever heard of holding a president accountable in the history of presidents? Nope. Impeach and step down, sure. But wh
        • by keithjr (1091829)
          The answer is there should not be the censorship, that is half the problem.

          You're right in that sense, but for the purposes of precedent, it is important to decide which entities have the power of oversight. Currently, ISPs have been free to regulate themselves, and the telecom companies behind them have been quick to enact unfair and illegal terms of service as a result (read: Comcast). Yes, censorship isn't the answer, but eventually internet communication is going to need to be regulated. That much
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by poetmatt (793785)
            I don't mean this as an attack on you, but I respectfully disagree. The internet is not capable of being regulated, and that is a fact that is scary to people. You cannot stop a global entity anymore than you can find a person within a corporate entity liable for anything. Intangible things are not capable of physical control aspects, from a basic sense. You could see the internet more easily thought of as an "idea". You can't "stop" an idea. Even try, and there are other ways to equivalently provide the sa
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by ozmanjusri (601766)
              What would really set off an enormous fiasco is if a law was passed that was basically "you must follow the intent of the law, not just the letter", but I think no country is ready for such a debate (plus it'd be immeasurably hard to balance).

              Actually, laws like that have been used successfully in Australia for OHS.

              Before the current laws were introduced, workplace safety was based around the same proscriptive model most statute laws still have. Basically, they were a list of things you either had to do

        • by Maclir (33773)

          Umm, when have you ever heard of the government being held appropriately accountable for anything?

          Same country, several months ago. There was a federal election, and the previous government was trounced. The leader of that government lost his own seat (electorate / district). That's the ultimate in accountability - the public rejected what the government had done, didn't agree with them, and booted them out.

          • when Dear Mr J Howard is brought before a criminal case for his lack of duty of care in placing Australian soldiers in a position of defending another nation's political ideology. When he and his colleagues are successfully sued for introducing a industrial relations that left some/many Australian citizens worse off in a period of time when corporations were experiencing a economic boom.

            The only thing he was truly held accountable for is claiming that Australian citizens had never been better off.

      • Re:Wrong reason (Score:4, Insightful)

        by magarity (164372) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @02:21PM (#22561248)
        No, the government is exactly the entity that should oversee censorship, because it's the only organization that's accountable to the voters
         
        Think this through: what happens when they censor reports of censorship? Government is the ultimate monopoly more than any mere corporation could ever be. While it is technically possible to switch governments via either enough votes or armed rebellion, the both rely heavily on lack of censorship to effectively get the message out in order to be effective. No, censorship is an insidiously powerfull tool of government. Do not wish they have it.
    • I don't want censored but am aware that it happens already. ISPs decide for themselves what they will allow through.
      At the moment, I have some democratic rights that theoretically affect my government. I have a lot less control over what billion dollar companies do. Governments are swayed by ideas - some good and some not so. Companies are affected by money. They are not, and probably should not be, affected by what makes me happy. Their job is to make the best money for their shareholders.

      One day, w

  • Censorship is never necessary. Ever.

    But fighting it always is.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by KublaiKhan (522918)
      Censorship -within an individual residence- is potentially helpful in certain situations--young children and the like, when the parents want to ensure less chance of unfortunate images showing up and suchlike.

      At any larger scope than a single family, though, yes, it's entirely unnecessary and should be discouraged whenever possible.
      • by N3wsByt3 (758224) <`Newsbyte' `at' `freenethelp.org'> on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @02:19PM (#22561224) Homepage Journal
        This argument is also known as the "OMG! Thinkofthechildren!"-argument.

        I'm always struck by the inherent hypocrisy of it. At the same time, I believe people should be able to raise their kids as they see fit (at least, to a large degree), and the government shouldn't come into the picture anyway.

        I guess the best solution would be to be involved with your children, talk to them about certain things on the internet, and if necessary, show your disapproval of certain things... but leave them SOME choice, even when you have the tendency to block all of it.

        Because, let's be frank: WHO didn't start to get to know about "it" when they still were kids. I remember - in my days when the Net wasn't around - in the school some kid or another brought a Playboy with him, and we were all watching with big eyes what was in it. It's just the way things go; one learns about these things BEFORE one gets 18, and well...we all know how; by watching it 'under the radar' of parents and the like. Why? Heck, because we knew they would 'censor' it if they could - even if they themselves learned it the same way.

        This never-ending cycle of hypocrisy is what bothers me the most. People constantly get in the 'savethechildren'-mode, conveniently forgetting - every damn generation - that they did JUST the same, and it was that way they got to know about it.

        Of course, you have exceptions; like in China, where a married copple of over 20 didn't even know how the basic things. And I'm sure in the ever-more prude USA things are also really getting hysterically absurd in this regard...But the fact is, it's just a normal way of getting to know about it. The 'prudeness'-hysteria (including censorship) is doing more harm than good, sometimes.

        Yes, yes: the net has also some extreme stuff, and a line has to be drawn somewhere. But by some people, that line is drawn pretty damn hypocritical. And the self-appointed 'childsavers' have their field day because of it; exaggerations abound to scare people into thinking the only possible response is censorship. Sometimes to the detriment of a more objective truth. The 'the net is full of porn where our kids just happen to stumble upon and were traumatised by it' is one example of such utter BS. Sure, that can happen, but the truth is, especially for teenagers, for 90%, when they come at 'dirty' sites, it's because they were *looking* for it.

        *gasp*

        Well, yes...in our time, we went looking to get our hands on Playboys and the like, nowadays, they search the net for it. Heck, if the Net had existed back then, I'm pretty sure I would have been trying to peep on those sites too. Is there any dude here (prude USA'ers not counted) that can claim he wouldn't have done the same?

        (ok, I know that such a question begs smart-ass remarks, but the point is; I think we all know the majority of guys would just do the same if they were a kid. Why try to censor something you did (or would have done) the same? Unless one deems himself traumatised by those experiences, it just doesn't make sense to have such a holier-than-thee approach, knowing it's actually not true and hypocrite.)

        I think there are better options than bland censoring or forbidding youngsters to look for 'it'. It never really helps anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Alsee (515537)
        Censorship -within an individual residence

        Isn't that kinda like talking about:
        "Racial, religious, or gender segregation -within an individual residence"?

        If someone does not order a monthly mail subscription to Playboy magazine to their home, I don't think that should really be equated with the word "censorship".
        If someone orders a cable TV subscription, and does not choose to pay for the MilitaryBlood&Gore channel, I don't think that should really be equated with the word "censorship".
        If someone orders
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kestasjk (933987)
      Everyone is referring to the "Australian Government", I feel I have to point out that this is the Australian Labor Government, which was recently elected.

      The Australian Liberal Government had a different idea on how to stop kids running into unsavory characters; tell them about the risks and what to look out for. There was a widely run and very successful ad campaign, which just gives kids the message "weird old guys will lie to you online, so don't believe everything you're told". Problem: Guys tricking
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by anto (41846)
        The Liberals tried to do the same thing to get Harridene on side - and it was only lobbying from the ISP industry that managed to get them to step back from the edge and 'mandate' filtering for all ISP's via the incredibly ineffective (and massivly tax-payer funded) filter download program.

        I don't think there is much of a difference between any of the parties on this. Can't-you-think-of-the-children (and terror) is an easy sell, massive financial burden on low profit margin ISP's and reduction of network us
        • by ozbird (127571)
          In both cases, it wasn't an easy sell to the majority of voters (who could care less), but to get Senate support from an independent (Harridine) or religious fringe (Family First) members that held/hold the balance of power.

          With any luck the new filter proposal will suffer the obvious fate of the last one: doesn't work, unwanted, pisses off voters, and the (currently silent) majority gets listened too instead of the vocal minority and they back off on such exercises in futility.

          I voted for a "Clever Cou
      • by cammoblammo (774120) <cammoblammo.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @06:18PM (#22565196)

        The Australian Labor Government, shortly after being elected, decided that the impossible task of making the internet pre-school safe was a better solution.

        I hear this, and I've also heard all of Steven Conroy's announcements, but the TFA seems to suggest this has been in the pipeline an awful lot longer. Tenders for companies to provide the filtering system closed in July last year, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority waited until after the election to announce the successful bid.

        I suspect that Helen Coonan would have had a similar announcement to make if the Coalition got up.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by swedd (795861)

          I hear this, and I've also heard all of Steven Conroy's announcements, but the TFA seems to suggest this has been in the pipeline an awful lot longer

          It has been in Labor Party policy for at least the last two years, and was even detailed on their website. Didn't make it into many big public announcements, for obvious reasons.

          I knew about it, despised it, and still voted for Labor (/Greens). As bad as the policy is, the Howard government had much more serious issues in other areas. Lesser of two evils, if you will.

          It is my hope that this system will fail miserably in trials, but I accept the possibility that I may have helped vote in this monstro

    • Generalizations are always false. Including this one.

    • You know, I'm inclined to agree that censorship is never really necessary. But unfortunately, we live in a world where kids out there do need some protection. This filter crap doesn't have a prayer of working well, but something like a .xxx domain for all porn would certainly be a positive step.

      You have to accept that we all have to share these decisions, and many people disagree with you on censorship. Child porn, things like that, really do need to be censored. Kids really can be negatively affected by
  • It's amazing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Loibisch (964797) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:01PM (#22560060)
    It's amazing what potentially very dangerous tech people will tolerate just so they can "protect their kids".
    Never mind that there's a million porn sites, the possibility of encrypted traffic or that there's the possibility that someone might use this to filter government-unfriendly information from your data stream...no, don't mind all that, just think of the children. Everything is fine.
    1. Filter/ban all pornographic sites to "Save the Children"
    2. Put all dastardly political plans/agendas on "porn site"
    3. Profit!!

    All kidding aside, this sounds like an incredibly stupid idea. I have four young kids, and I already have a nice filter installed. It's called me not letting them use the PC without my being within eyesight of the PC.

    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by apdyck (1010443) <aaron...p...dyck@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:08PM (#22560206) Homepage Journal

      I already have a nice filter installed. It's called me not letting them use the PC without my being within eyesight of the PC
      This is the approach that my parents took for many years (we were early adopters of the Internet, and as such parental controls were unheard of). It was remarkably effective. They even kept the computer that had the modem in a room with a locked door, so that we had to get them to unlock the door if we wanted to use the computer. There was another 'public' computer that wasn't online that we could use at any time, but if we needed to go online, it had to be done in the study under the supervision of one or more parent.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        We have 3 computers in the house and 2 children. My computer is in the basement in my "office" (I work from home). I'm the only one who uses this computer. It's a Linux box and I lock it when I leave so I know this for a fact.

        My wife's computer is in the family room simply because we don't have any where else to put it. The kids computer is also in the family room.

        I'm not saying that I will never allow my kids to have an internet-accessible computer in their bedroom. But for that to become a reality I will
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:03PM (#22560094) Homepage Journal
    makes it even worse. It should be opt-in. How many people will be too embarrassed, or too shy to call up and opt-out or not want their name recorded as a potential Pr0n lover..... If parents want the service, they should be able to call and opt-in, but don't make the default mode censorship.
    • by hool5400 (257022)
      I can imagine standing in front of the man having to explain why i needed unfiltered access.

      It will become something lawyers use to slur people. They will make allusions that the people that need dirtynet access must be looking at something criminal, and suggest maybe these people are terrorists or child molesters. The luddite judge will eat that shit up. That's the way it works these days.
    • makes it even worse. It should be opt-in. How many people will be too embarrassed, or too shy to call up and opt-out or not want their name recorded as a potential Pr0n lover..... If parents want the service, they should be able to call and opt-in, but don't make the default mode censorship.

      I was not going to reply because the general gist of such discussions tends to be: if you support censorship, then you're a moron, and if you don't then you're the enlightened person.
      This comment however summarised what

      • I'll address this post first; How many ISP do you think will hire more staff to "take the calls"? Or do you think the dude in the video shop looking at the X rated movies will be embarrassed?

        The dude in the X-rated video store doesn't have to give his name to get the x-rated video, he doesn't have to have it recorded, and furthermore, the clerk working at the X-rated video store is hardly in a position to get judgmental. People don't like even the idea of being judged, and by forcing them to come out an
  • Censorship may be necessary, but should it be overseen by Government.

    Wow, I love Australia. But as an American, the two points made in that single sentence evoke knee-jerk revulsion in me!

  • The leap from censoring pr0n to censoring unpopular beliefs and the opposition's political views is disturbingly short...
    • by 77Punker (673758)
      The belief that there's nothing wrong with watching porn is an unpopular political view, at least here in North Carolina. Try being a pot-smoking atheist that watches porn in a place that's so religious. People tell me my life will amount to nothing because I smoke pot, that I'll never have a relationship with a woman because I watch porn, and that I'm a terrible person because I don't believe in God.

      Of course, they're all quite wrong. I'm about to have my BS in Computer Science, earned in a four year times
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by zsouthboy (1136757)
        I'm also getting married to the woman who is my best friend in June.

        What about the other 11 months? Is she someone else's best friend then?
    • The belief that porn is good is unpopular (among certain people). The belief that freedom of speech is more important then stopping kids from seeing boobies is UNPOPULAR!

      There is NO leap to make. Censoring porn IS the leap.

      Why do you think REAL freedom advocates leapt to the defence of Larry Flint when attempts were made to censor him and his works? Because they want Hustler? No, because the fight for freedom is lost if you allow censorship ANYWHERE.

      If you believe in free speech then you MUST defend my d

  • Opt-out? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thondermonst (613766) <thondermonstNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:05PM (#22560144)
    So you have to opt-out? Great, so once in place, the Austalian Governement will have a list of all people who want to watch porn.
    • by bky1701 (979071)
      That sounds incredibly useful...

      It would be comical if the list got leaked, though.
      • It could be politically damaging, not comical, if a politician wound up on the "unfiltered Internet" list. The politician might just be a freedom-loving individual who never personally visits XXX sites, but would like for the decision to be up to him and not the government, but it could still be spun by an opposing candidate as something horrible.

        "Candidate X loves visiting porn sites day and night. Meanwhile, Candidate Y supports filters to protect our children from awful, porn loving monsters. Who do y
        • Re:Opt-out? (Score:4, Funny)

          by Zarhan (415465) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:46PM (#22560778)
          I'm not an aussie but I understood that their new Prime Minister (Kevin Rudd) started to gain support in polls over Howard AFTER it was leaked that he had gone to a strip club in Washington visit. Apparently the general image had been that the guy is absolutely boring bean counter, but after the news broke people were saying "Wow, that guy actually has a life....I could vote for him".

          Mind you, this is COMPLETELY based on a random faction in media on the other side of the world..
      • Don't you mean, "when it gets leaked".
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Harin_Teb (1005123)
      wouldn't it be shorter to just list all the people who don't?
  • The trial will evaluate ISP-level internet content filters in a controlled environment while filtering content inappropriate for children, Enex said.

    So this is only a trial test, with a field test to follow, but what entity is deciding what is inappropriate. Obviously pr0n would be blocked, but what else would be blanketed? Sites that are deemed inappropriate in order to save the children which could have no bearing whatsoever in terms of being inappropriate. Plus in order to opt out you have to contact you

    • So this is only a trial test, with a field test to follow, but what entity is deciding what is inappropriate. Obviously pr0n would be blocked....

      Obviously? What is porn exactly? You give me the guidelines of what is and what is not porn and I'll show you porn just outside of your guidelines. And, with enough money and enough lawyers I can get any pics I want declared non-porographic.

      • by esocid (946821)
        That's further proof to my point. Who gets to decide what is classified as blockable?
  • Start Small (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bky1701 (979071) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:08PM (#22560196) Homepage
    Sure, now it's optional and only in Australia. Soon it'll be in the UK, and then the US. After a while, they'll find some way to make it mandatory... I foresee something to the effect of "Kids could use your computer, and we must protect kids from the evil intertubes", and good luck to you if you speak up. "What, you want to hurt children? What kind of monster are you? Pervert!"

    Hopefully I am overreacting, but I don't think I am.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "Sure, now it's optional and only in Australia. Soon it'll be in the UK, and then the US."

      Just like communism ?

      Ok, I'm not saying don't be concerned. I'm not saying don't write your representatives to tell them just how opposed you are to the US following Australia's lead. But the US was so terrified that communism was going to spread through the pacific and hit Hawaii and then the continental US that they went to war in Vietnam to stop it from spreading.

      Keep things in the realm of reality, please. There's
    • Sure, now it's optional and only in Australia. Soon it'll be in the UK, and then the US.

      Good God! Clearly it's time for action. I'm going to immediately start downloading as much precious internet pr0n as I can, before the guv-mint cuts off the supply.

    • by edmicman (830206)
      As alarming and disappointing this is, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that porn will *never* be blocked on the Internet in a mandate by the US government. There may be a lot of "think of the children" people yelling, but there's a whole heck of a lot more people who like their smut. The US essentially invented the Internet, as well as the porn industries that built up most of the commercial side of it. It's not going anywhere.
  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:22PM (#22560452)
    In addition to the normal mode of filtering out adult content, I hope the filters can be configured to only allow it as well. I recommend the filter modes be labeled "Suck" and "Blow" respectively.
  • Simpler solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @01:23PM (#22560460) Homepage
    In those households where parents actually give a rat's posterior about raising their kids, protect them from being prosecuted for child abuse for spanking or whipping their kids with a belt for consuming pornography and such.

    If parents can't punish their kids worse than yelling at them or taking away their computer for breaking the family rules on not watching porn, how can you expect parents to keep their kids under control?

    When my wife was in high school, she did a study for a class. She went around and asked the girls she knew if they had been spanked or otherwise physically disciplined when they broke the rules growing up. Those who had, the majority of them were the well-adjusted, decent girls. The rest fit many negative stereotypes...

    There was an ironic article about outlawing such discipline in California. The state representative said that she'd never support such discipline because she would never spank her cat because some ill-informed vet told her it would do no good. Heh. I grew up with cats, and can tell you that if you spank them when they break the rules, they tend to behave well like any other pet. The reason we have most of these parenting issues is because many families treat their kids the way that they would treat a cat based on common behavior toward cats.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by JesseMcDonald (536341)

      Forget the "child abuse" label. Hitting someone is assault, whether the person you're hitting is an adult or a child, and regardless of whether the child is yours or someone else's. It should be treated as such.

      On the other hand, the parents should have some leverage as well. I propose that they not be legally obligated to provide shelter or care; any child that habitually breaks the rules can find its own food and shelter. To protect against overuse, relax the rules giving preferential treatment to biolo

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cptdondo (59460)
      So when you're old and your kids are taking care of you, should they beat you when you don something they don't like?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by apathy maybe (922212)
      So you have no problem with a man beating their wife?

      Saying that it is OK to whack a kid, is on par with saying that it is OK to whack a women (or a man). "But she/he/it didn't do what I told them to do..." Bullshit, domestic violence, of any kind, should not be tolerated.

      If your partner just happens to over-cook your dinner, whipping them with a belt is A-OK?
      After, it is simple "cause and effect".

      What happens if your partner simply forgets to get the mail, or perhaps forgot to get the milk when shopping. I
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rakishi (759894)
        Ah yes the lovely straw man argument. Let me follow up on it: since you consider children the same as adults I guess they'll be fine if we just dump them out on the street. If you disagree then you're a hypocrite, since I'm simply using the same logic as you are using. After all you're not required to support a dead beat relative so why should you be forced to support a dead beat child, either they work or they don't eat.

        Anyway, children are not adults and they don't think quite as adults. Sometimes you nee
        • by apathy maybe (922212) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @02:58PM (#22561866) Homepage Journal
          I never said I considered children to be the same as adults.

          I said that hitting children was domestic violence which is never acceptable, and I said that children should be able to watch porn if they want to.

          As to work, children are legally not allowed to work are they... They are forced to go to school, a place which most of them find boring, the teachers are often useless, and the other pupils sometimes vicious.
          I'll direct you to a great essay on the subject of what children should or not be allowed to do.
          http://peacefire.org/info/why.shtml [peacefire.org]

          Yes, it's true that teenagers don't pay a lot of taxes and are usually freeloading off their parents. But that's not because teenagers are lazy or dumb, it's because they're forced to work all day in school for free. If you took a bus driver's license away and made him study Biology and American History for 10 hours a day, he'd have to move back in with his parents too.


          As for hitting them to get the point across...
          What point? That they shouldn't watch porn? Why shouldn't they watch porn? Because it is sinful? What is sin and why is it bad? Because the bible said so? Why should I pay any heed to a book that is full of contradictions? Because you told me to and you will hit me if I don't... Great way to get your point across Dad.

          Parents who use violence against kids are lazy parents and bad parents. They are lazy because they don't want to explain to their children why they should or shouldn't do something. They are bad parents because they are in effect teaching their children that violence is an acceptable substitute for rational dialogue.

          Well, violence is not an acceptable substitute for rational and logical discussion, and it should not be a way of enforcing values and morals on children.
    • You beat your cat. Well sure it will behave "better" from then on, the cat is too scared to do anything lest it gets noticed and gets another trashing. You are not raising a well adjusted normal cat, you are raising a scaredy cat who "behaves" in order to avoid punishment.

      Same with people, I lived in places where discipline in the family was enforced and yes those kids on the surface seemed well behaved, but they grow up NOT as mature responsible adults but as people who are deadly afraid to be found out.

    • I grew up with cats, and can tell you that if you spank them when they break the rules, they tend to behave well like any other pet.

      I had a cat that used to bite, so one day I bit it back. It learned it's lesson...which is just as well, because I learned that a mouth full of cat fur is most unpleasant.
  • But it has already started, the last time I saw this it was going to be opt-in, now it's opt-out, how much further? That's the question.
  • There will be a List, you can count on it. It will be The List of people who Opt Out from Decency. And when your name gets on this list, you can count on it coming out very publicly at the worst and most opportune moment -- as when you run for office against the entrenched incumbent.

    "And my less-than-esteemed opponent has OPTED OUT from decency filtering on his Internet connection. And he has TEENAGED CHILDREN in his house. Would you really want to ELECT SUCH A MAN to replace good old reliable me?"

    Y

    • Why do most politicians seem to be cut from Robespierre's cloth, rather than somebody like Voltaire?
    • And when your name gets on this list, you can count on it coming out very publicly at the worst and most opportune moment -- as when you run for office against the entrenched incumbent.

      The press would be all over it, but the only thing I can imagine the Australian electorate thinking when they hear a politician looks at porn is: "Top bloke!"

      Well, half of the electorate, anyway...
    • Absolutely, and as the politician responsible for this fiasco is already equating people who want to opt out to Kiddie-fiddlers it's a very short step down a slippery slope.
      Are they going to publish a list of the banned sites so we can see what they're "protecting" us from? Because I'm sure no government would want to shut down "The Pirate Bay" or "Amnesty International" or a blog site critical to the government. Nosiree. That'll NEVER be a problem.
  • by nasor (690345) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @02:27PM (#22561338)
    Has anyone ever actually demonstrated that looking at porn is harmful to children/teens? Everyone seems to be taking it as a forgone conclusion, but I've never seen any scientific evidence in a psychology journal. If looking at porn is really as dangerous as many people like to believe, it should be very easy to demonstrate the harm - but so far as I know, nobody has ever done that.

    And no, I don't consider "It gives people unrealistic ideas about sex" to be actual harm. Romance movies probably do vastly more harm to developing adolescents by giving them unrealistic expectations of what real romantic relationships are like. Having a grossly distorted "Hollywood" view of romance is probably going to be substantially more problematic to a teenager/young adult than being disappointed that your girlfriend doesn't want to do something kinky that you saw in a porn movie.

    It seems like the government should have to produce some evidence that it's actual dangerous before they ban/censor it.
    • Having seen my son raised on a diet of his mother's milk for his first six months, I'm especially perplexed at the idea that the sight of bared female breasts is harmful to children. I have to assume that prudes only feed their kids formula.
  • My Significant other and I have discussed it, I think I'm going to go get myself fixed. I hate children. I didn't like being a child, children are nothing but trouble, and children are destroying my Internet, and I will not, I repeat, NOT have kids.
  • by moeinvt (851793) on Tuesday February 26, 2008 @02:37PM (#22561508)
    The article states that they want to filter pornography AND . . .

    "OTHER INTERNET CONTENT DEEMED INAPPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN"

    It's never really about pornography, it's always about that "other bad stuff", like dissident political opinions.

    So, who's in charge of deciding what is and is not appropriate for children? Think of ALL the content that certain people and organizations have wanted to ban at various times and you'll get the idea of why censorship is fundamentally incompatible with freedom. Think of Christians wanting to protect the children from Charles Darwin and "political correctness" extremists wanting to ban Mark Twain.
  • I mean, spam could potentially be advertising viagra or porn. They're going to hop right on that and filter out spam, right?
  • Censorship may be necessary,

    Censorship is necessary only in totalitarian regimes.

    but should it be overseen by Government.

    That's how a totalitarian regime operates, actually.
  • How dare you one up us here in the United States on inflicting government on your own citizenry?

    I've about had it with these uppity countries like Britain with their spycams outdoing us on the George Orwell front.

    Well I'm telling.

    I'm calling Ed Meese.
  • I heard that in Soviet Russia... (scratches head), wait... how exactly would it work in Soviet Russia?
  • "The risks to Australian youth are primarily those associated with Web 2.0 services - potential contact by sexual predators, cyber-bullying by peers and misuse of personal information," ACMA said.


    And just how the fsck is an ISP http filter going to prevent any of that?
  • This effort on the part of the Aussies makes about as much sense as current legislative efforts by the Utah State government [slashdot.org], and will most likely fall on it's face even harder. Big waste of Australian taxpayer money.
  • Almost nobody wanted the downloadable filter which the Howard government spent so much to make available for free.

    If you don't want to run a free filter program on your computer, what makes the Government think you want the ISP to filter for you?

  • Censorship may be necessary, but should it be overseen by Government.

    Er, excuse me... while everyone seems to be commenting on the second half of this sentence, I'm concerned about the premise stated in the first clause before the conjunction: "Censorship may be necessary."

    Why? What possible legitimate purpose could censorship possibly serve? People will find ways to work around information embargoes, and frankly, I'm hard pressed to find any legitimate reason to censor anything, no matter how offensive t

  • What is this guy smoking? Censorship is NEVER necessary.

"You don't go out and kick a mad dog. If you have a mad dog with rabies, you take a gun and shoot him." -- Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, about Muammar Kadhafy

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