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Censorship Your Rights Online

Australian Censorship Legislation 173

danny writes: "Legislation is before the New South Wales (Australia) state parliament that would make it a criminal offense to publish material unsuitable for children online. Other states will be passing similar laws, as this is part of a uniform national approach. So please help us stop this! Note: earlier Federal legislation in Australia covered Internet Service Providers, not end-users. But this law follows that in attempting to directly transfer the film censorship system to the Net - one has to wonder how many of the politicians involved actually use the Net."
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Australian Censorship Legislation

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  • When did Australia start letting children use the internet?
  • Last thing I heard the country was a Democracy. Are the people in favour? If not, then start a protest, try to dealy it until the next election, and vote for the party that doesn't.

    If they are in favour, then let them do what they want.
    • It is an democracy. One of the oldest in the world. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop some idiot from getting elected and passing crazy (and probably unenforcable) legislation.

      Michael
      • And the U.S. is a republic, and it doesn't stop our elected idiots from pandering to the corporations/special interests/whoever will get them re-elected and then passing stupid laws (DMCA).

        The only practical way to insure that the majority of the "people" want a law is to ditch the representative government model and go to one person - one vote and make voting mandatory. And guess what... that isn't practical.

        Kierthos
    • We just had a national vote, and unfortunately, the wrong people won (IMHO). Yes thats right the infamous sen. Alston is still in parliment. This really worries me, polititions are going on at the moment about the issue with refugees affecting our national image. What about something like this? It just proves there are too many people making decisions about things they dont understand.
    • Remember the norwegian boat incident? It seems Aussie attitudes are not as all would have them to be. The support was quite strong for the PM, in that case.

      I wonder if all the crypto-advocacy sites over there would also be considered not-suitable-for-children?

    • As far as I know, it is a republic, not a democracy.

      Like the US, the people have little say except to determine which corrupt slob is going to pass which garbage legislation.

      The idea behind the US republic is that it 'balances' the rights of the people with the 'rights of property', but when the rights of the powerful are protected over the rights of the common person, the powerful get more and more powerful, and the balance is blown.

      In a society where these rights are 'balanced', the idea is that the smart, well-to-do folks basically run things, and the opinion of the common man keeps things from getting totally out of hand. This obviously is not happening here, nor do I believe that the "smart, well-to-do folks" are really capable of keeping in touch with the rest of the world to the point where they could make good decisions for the society as a whole.

      • I *wish* Australia was a republic. It's a constitutional monarchy. A Governor General is appointed by the Queen and has the power to sack the democratically elected Prime Minister at any time. Nice, eh?

        But, like the US (I'm guessing), the two major parties are now so similar that voting hardly seems worth the effort. They both do nothing but pander to opinion polls and right wing radio personalities who manage to tie every problem facing Australia back to single mothers on welfare and those "hordes" of asylum seekers.

        I don't know what we could do about this NSW internet censorship/criminalisation thing, since both major parties will be supporting it. =P
        • The Prime Minister isn't democratically elected. The Prime Minister is elected by the executive branch of the political party he/she is a member of. The executive branch isn't elected either, so no real democracy there either.

          The Governor General does not exactly sack the Prime Minister. The Governor General can dissolve parliament and install a caretaker government for the period until a general election is held. This dissolution can theoretically done at any time, just like the Prime Minister can theoretically ask the Queen to replace the Governor General, but generally it just isn't done. And if the people disagree with the dissolution, they can always return the government.

          Most people never seem to remember to point out that the one time a democratically elected government was dissolved by the Governor General, the opposite party decimated them in the resulting general election. It's not like the sacked government was popular in the electorate.
      • Surely this would make it a Democratic republic. A sysstem whereby representatvies are elected by the population. Government types are not determined by Sid Miers
  • This legislation constitutes material unsuitable for children, what happens if the text of this is put online?

    Can a law find itself illegal?
    • Similar situation. There was a law the text of which was copyrighted and thus could not be printed or publicly displayed without the owner's approval.

      And ... here it is [slashdot.org]. I can't find any recent news on it so I assume that the rulings in favor of the copyright holder are still in effect.
  • as bad as the french (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @07:28AM (#2578058) Journal
    How are they going to enforce this on the rest of Planet Earth?

    I hate to say this, but it almost sounds like someone's been in the outback a bit too long. I am waiting to see someone try to do the same as the French have done in the Yahoo case.

    • Re:as bad as the US (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Shade, The ( 252176 )
      Like when the US tries to enforce the DMCA on a certain Russian hacker?
      • Dmitry is actually not the best analogy here. Jon Johansen is a much better example, as he was arrested without ever setting foot in the US.
  • Just a little difficult, isn't it?

    How do you define unsuitable for children?

    Will we be sending the storm troops around to the US to bring the rogue publishers back to justice?

    If not, what about Australians who host content overseas?

    How exactly are they going to enforce this?

    Michael
  • by foqn1bo ( 519064 ) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @07:30AM (#2578062)


    Or is it more of an attempt to latch on to something that they can demonize to make voters feel more at ease? I mean seriously, it seems it would be absurd for them to tell us we couldn't say on the street anything that was deemed unsuitable for children. What about swearing in a room with kids? Bad manners perhaps but not a legislative matter at all, most would agree.

    The internet is treated differently because it is a new thing that most politicians don't understand. People have been talking with their mouths for years. But look... "Big internet new and scary. Ugh. The internet is power-mad. She want take moral perogative away from parents." It is a lot easier for people to blame what's new and mysterious (to some anyway). I can't stand it when people go off about kids being exposed to internet porn. Kids have been swiping their parents' stag flicks and magazines for such a long time it may as well have become herreditary tradition. And the pipe bombs? Please. Apparently legislators never went to school (at least not a public one).

    • The sad thing here will be the first person that the government decides to make a test case of. If we are lucky, they will be hosting some child porn - but most of that is being swapped in things like peer to peer networks that will be hard to track down.

      Which leaves some poor sod who will get nailed for publishing something dubious, but probably not that bad.

      Hands up anyone who thinks this will make child porn go away

      Michael.
      • first person that the government decides to make a test case of. If we are lucky, they will be hosting some child porn

        No, actually we will be lucky if the first test case is against a respected medical site. We want crap laws like this struck down and exposed as incredibly BAD laws. If the first test case is a childporn site then a judge may go to extreme lengths trying to uphold a bad law in order to attack the childporn. Setting twisted precident in favor of a bad law makes it harder to fight when it is used against a respected medical website.

        -
    • The FCC pulls a similar scam with regard to fining radio stations for obscenity.

      According to NSW bill, the potential offender has to second guess how some panel would rate the content in question.

      The FCC's decision to fine a radio staion for obscenity is based on the community's reaction after the broadcast. There is no way to find out ahead of time whether you will be fined for broadcasting a particular item.

      I think the issue is that fanatical parents, "religious leaders", and legislators are terrified of any potential for evil thought-provoking entities to gain access to the minds of the children. Free speech in any medium is just about as scary to these people as LSD (same basic result - there is the potential that people will stop believing the BS being shoved down their throats).

  • That's Incredible... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Meffan ( 469304 ) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @07:36AM (#2578073)
    The list of things that the bill covers:


    "[A]dult themes" include: "verbal references to and depictions associated with issues such as suicide, crime, corruption, marital problems, emotional trauma, drug and alcohol dependency, death and serious illness, racism, religious issues".


    And don't just think this is to "get" people who put stuff up any old how, oh no - "[I]f you place material unsuitable for minors on a web page, even on a password protected section of your site and give the password only to your adult friends, you could be prosecuted under criminal law."


    Is this for real? I thought adult content was the only content on the net that made real money?


    I'm guessing we're not going to be seeing "Genuine Aussie Amatuers" on the net for much longer then. Any Australians out there who can say how likely this bill is to pass? If it happens in one place it could happen in others...


    • And don't just think this is to "get" people who put stuff up any old how, oh no - "[I]f you place material unsuitable for minors on a web page, even on a password protected section of your site and give the password only to your adult friends, you could be prosecuted under criminal law."


      Interesting. What if someone has something dubious on their machine's hard drive and some script kiddie manages to trojan his way in.

      Someone sub7 a judge's pc with a report on a prosecution under this act...
      • Interesting. What if someone has something dubious on their machine's hard drive and some script kiddie manages to trojan his way in.
        I'm betting that any lawyer worth his/her salt could argue in this case that the skript kiddie is the one that did the posting.
    • And don't just think this is to "get" people who put stuff up any old how, oh no - "[I]f you place material unsuitable for minors on a web page, even on a password protected section of your site and give the password only to your adult friends, you could be prosecuted under criminal law."
      s. 45D (2)of the proposed legislation: "It is a defence to a prosecution under this section for the defendant to prove that access to the matter unsuitable for minors was subject to an approved restricted access system at the time the matter was made available or supplied by the defendant."

      Rule 1. Never rely on secondary sources.
      Rule 2. Refer to Rule 1.

      • > "It is a defence to a prosecution under this section for the defendant to prove that
        > access to the matter unsuitable for minors was subject to an approved restricted access
        > system at the time the matter was made available or supplied by the defendant."

        Unfortunately, as I understand it, "a password protected section of your site" is almost certainly not "an approved restricted access system", even if you do indeed give the password only to your adult friends.

        Now, any sane judge who understood the issue would of course not convict you in the above situation, but according to the letter of the law an "approved restricted access system" is as defined by the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 as amended, and you can read the definition here [aba.gov.au].

        In brief, such a system must verify age via a declaration from each person granted access, which must be accompanied either by paper proof of ID and age, or, for electronic applications, by a digitally signed message including credit card details.

        So, technically, if your friends did not provide you with these things, I think you'd still be in violation of the proposed legislation, even if the site was only ever accessed by you and your friends at the old folks' home.

    • WOW! doesn't that describe many versions of the Bible? Are they trying to outlaw religeon?
      • > WOW! doesn't that describe many versions of the Bible? Are they trying to outlaw religeon?

        Well, sounds like it.
        But OTOH I believe many states in the USA outlaw
        books containing Darwinian content from being
        accessed in schools. It seems to me that
        outlawing the results of rational science
        (incidentally by someone committed to a religion)
        is far worse than outlawing a set of religious
        beliefs that may/may not have any basis in
        fact.

        Not that I have any time for censorship
        of any sort. Making actions illegal that
        have harmful effects on others is certainly
        a very good thing. Using publishment of
        depictions of such actions to track down
        criminals and punish them is also a very
        good thing. Countering racism and hate
        arguments with a proper education is a
        responsibility that most nations/states
        seem to be shirking. But restricting what
        people are allowed to say/show is a great
        way of opening up the doors to fascist
        and totalitarian regimes, and does NOTHING
        else that couldn't be better accomplished
        by more civilised means.

        Anyway, who says about this stuff being
        "unsuitable for children" at all. Surely
        with a society that properly supports children
        growing up they'd be able to discover for
        themselves pretty quickly what they actually
        find is inherently wrong and not cop too much
        of a shock. It's not like there's a big
        red line sitting there that you cross and
        suddenly you're an adult not a child, it's
        a process you go through for your whole life...

        - Jamie
        [one Australian who will certainly be arguing
        against this legislation].
  • People outside NSW? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @07:37AM (#2578076)

    Danny, what should people outside NSW do? Presumably writing to someone else's local member probably wouldn't make a difference.

    Should I see my (Victorian) MP now or wait for legislation to be introduced here?

    I guess I could write to the NSW Attorney General and thank them for killing the local internet industry in favour of other states...

    • Contacting your local member is good. If politicians realise there's community concern about this issue - and not just "community concern about pornography" - then they may speak up in the party room discussions (where decisions are often actually made, before things ever go public).

      This is meant to be "uniform national legislation" and it's even further advanced in South Australia, so my guess is that it will be coming to Victoria and Queensland and West Australia and Tasmania in the not too distant future.

      Danny.

  • Can we stop terrorism by censoring the net? Will the youth stop becoming criminal if we censor the net? I'm sure all of you knows exactly what I mean.

    The problem isn't the net, it's parents, lack of father figure, drugs, gangs, etc, etc. And it can't be solved by censorship. I have ideas of how to solve these things, but that is way beyond this topic at hand.

    So, could anyone connected to slashdot make some sort of "poll" where all the _registered_ users of slashdot can vote on what they think of this, and then send that to all newspapers in Australia? It might not be the Rambo solution, but at least it could be something. What do you think?

    /J
  • Maybe america will get a taste of its own medicine. We arrested a Russian programmer for violating the DMCA here, maybe we just need an American web site owner to get arrested in Australia.

    or not, I believe it's kind of hard to get people patriotic about the arrest of a nerd or porn-site owner. oh well.
  • This is seriously whacked:

    ..."adult themes" include: "verbal references to and depictions associated with issues such as suicide, crime, corruption, marital problems, emotional trauma, drug and alcohol dependency, death and serious illness, racism, religious issues"

    So someone could be gien troubole for making Dr King's speeches availible online? Medical sites? Support group sites/discussion boards? News sites? Slashdot troll posts?! What's left to put online?!

    I hope they can't use extradition, or have laws like America is passing - set foot on our soil for violaiting our laws and you're under arrest! Oh, and you're not a citizen, so you have no rights! Eek! There go any travel plans I had to go see the Great Barrier Reef.
  • This is just going to piss people off. Kids will find "unsuitable content" on sites hosted in other parts of the world. Ever hear of the USA? Norway? Holland? Japan?

    Unless Australia tries to play USA and impose these regulations on the rest of the world it is just a waste of time.
    • The funny part of all this is, that a lot of violence and porn: a big target for censorship of the youngsters, is ditributed by Aus teenagers, to other Aus teenagers via their websites and at schools. Do they think they can eradicate human nature that is seen as 'ugly' by politicians?

      Read '1984' by George Orwell to see what wonderful things overcensorsgip does for us...
  • Is the internet full of only tele-tubbies.... slowly sucking the brains out of every living soul.

    Oh Man, I am now in hell!
  • However, they have signed on board the [austlii.edu.au]
    International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that everyone has the right of freedom of expression (artile 19). The proposed law seems to seriously hinder that right as a non-unanimous decision of a bunch of minority-view cencors can deem you guilty and slap a nice $5,500 fine on you.

    Again, I wonder the relavance to the location of the server. This is not clear under the proposed law. Could anyone be guilty anywere? Will I receive a $5,500 "bill" from the NSW government concerning my website? Or will I just be arrested whenever I visit Australia?
    • Read a little further in Article 19....

      Article 19
      1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
      2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall
      include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all
      kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the
      form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
      3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article
      carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be
      subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided
      by law and are necessary:


      (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

      (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre
      public), or of public health or morals.


      3.b appears to be a loophole which can be used to permit arbitrary censorship in the name of morals.
  • I knew those Aussies would come up with a way to get rid of that Goatsex guy.
    ;)
  • by moksliukas ( 301561 ) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @08:28AM (#2578128)
    This might be troll/offtopic, whatever, but while reading this, a very weird and interesting thought struck me...

    Why is it neccessary to suit the internet for children needs? Was the internet designed to be used only for children so we have to ban anything that is not children appropriate?

    Banning content that is not appropriate for children would be very difficult to police (I'd say impossible, but who am I to know?). Would it be just simpler to ban children using the internet without the aid of the guardian or parent. Sort of shift the whole issue to the other side. I know some countries have a law that states that children can't be on the street at night alone without parent or guardian. And that makes mush more effective and easier than just plainly making streets at night kid-safe.

    Just a thought.

    • Unfortunately, all it would take would be one zealot reporting your site to get you fried.

      I know tons of freaky parents that don't have anything better to do during the day than cause trouble for other people. These are the folks that are going to be surfing the Net looking for content that they don't find appropriate for their children. Never mind that it takes them eight hours searching links that are buried at depth four on a site to find content they don't like that their children would never see anyway.
    • Kids ( 18) don't get hurt by the Internet; they don't get hurt when they see the F-word, when they see graphic descriptions of violence, and they don't get hurt when they see porn. That's why your analogy is incorrect...kids out on the street can actually get hurt (depending on the neighborhood) or cause crime, while kids on the Internet are safe.

      While I'm against it, parents do have a choice of whether or not to monitor their own kids. However, banning ALL kids from using the Internet unattended would be terrible. Why?

      First, as you say, the Internet wasn't made to be used only by kids. Likewise, it wasn't made just to be used by adults. Kids have contributed content and server resources, too!

      Second, you keep implying that kids are somehow hurt by the Internet. Not true -- the only studies which claim that are religious ones, usually who believe porn is the root of all evil.

      I understand that these new laws make it hard for adults to use the Internet, but wouldn't it be better just to fight them instead of take away the Internet from all kids (never mind how THAT would work...how can you make sure that no kids will access the Internet, in every country?)? This is a horrible law -- agreed -- but the way to make the world better isn't to deal with it and block kids from the Internet, it's to fight it.

      Most importantly, however, how will our children become productive members of our society if they are blocked from any "adult" discussion until they're 18?
    • "I know some countries have a law that states that children can't be on the street at night alone without parent or guardian. And that makes mush more effective and easier than just plainly making streets at night kid-safe. "

      First I have to say that most of your posting is rather reasonable, and I may even misunderstand you... but the situation you discribe in my quote is HORRIBLE.
      So there are actually laws that really limit the freedom of parents and children, just for the sake of protecting the children.
      Making sure the child is home early, is the parents job, not the government. I realize that some people spend way too little time with their children, but passing the child care over to the public in this way is horrible. It sounds almost like a real police state or dictatorship. What countires are using this kind of laws.. because using the worlds dictatorships as an example of how things could be done, is not exactly what I would do.

      Children have to actively search for naughty content to find it (in most cases). Banning the opposite example (that is, banning active advertising for naughty content without some sort of age-verification) is fine by me, but banning the actual content, or banning children from using the Internet is just plain wrong. There are plenty of good uses of it. That said, I think parents should monitor their childrens usage of the Internet, and schools or libraries should try to monitor the situation, but there is a huge difference from actual laws and healthy self-regulation.
      • Well, the country I'm talking about is the country I'm living in and that is Lithuania. It's not a dictatorship or anything. These kind of laws do not apply at the state level, they are only issued at the municipal level, so in the city I live in (Kaunas) there used to be a law that prohibits children under the age of 14 to be on the street alone after 11PM. If the police sees that, the parent gets fined. I don't really know if they are still using this,m but this was in effect a few years ago. I don't know if anyone was fined, but the legislation existed.
  • Holy fuck (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @08:28AM (#2578129) Homepage

    Now I can't go to Australia, or I'll be arrested... for using the subject line "Holy fuck".

    Before you accuse me of crying wolf, I'd better point out that "Holy fuck" is dangerous not because of the "fuck", but because of the "Holy". "Religious issues" are one of the criteria that the NSW Office of Film and Literature Classification uses to decide what is "adult content".

    This is a Bill aimed not just at porn, but at any discussion of adult matters in any forum, even one which tries to exclude children. Here's a non-exhaustive list. I've highlighted one word which I find particularly interesting:

    • "verbal references to and depictions associated with issues such as suicide, crime, corruption, marital problems, emotional trauma, drug and alcohol dependency, death and serious illness, racism, religious issues".

    There's a pretty piece of legislation. Post an article suggesting that the legislators are corrupt, and get locked up purely on that basis. Unthinkable? Time will tell.

  • ...where our Supreme Court recently upheld (by declining to review a lower court decision) our right to display Nazi paraphernalia online where French people might access it, despite France's law against this.

    Maybe when the Australian government realizes how stupid this makes them look, they'll reconsider. Meanwhile, this will just increase traffic along the sub-ocean cables between Australia and free nations.

  • by bug1 ( 96678 ) on Saturday November 17, 2001 @09:05AM (#2578165)
    So if suicide is an adult theme, then it would have to be illegal to talk about suicide prevention.

    So the following site would be illegal in NSW

    http://www.reachout.asn.au/home.jsp
    • "So if suicide is an adult theme, then it would have to be illegal to talk about suicide prevention."

      If you'd actually read the article, you'd know that the "adult themes" comment is in the context of material that a majority of members of the Office of Film and Literature Classification deems to deserve an R rating. A suicide prevention website generally isn't R-rated material, unless it's doing something like showing graphic depictions of suicides in an effort to scare kids out of it. A very brief perusal site you referenced (and failed to hyperlink) didn't turn up an R-rated material.

      I hate this bill as much as the next guy, but inventing arguing against what the bill isn't only serves to dilute credibility.

      • A suicide prevention website generally isn't R-rated material

        Normally, no. But within the letter of the law, it is. It deals with an adult topic and can be in a visual or purely written form. That's all the OFLC needs to deem it rated R and therefore unsuitable to minors. Granted, there's a chance no one is going to use it to that extreme, but it's insane to take that kind of bet. This is the sort of law that everyone breaks and makes it very easy for governments to get rid of "enemies of the state".
    • Remember how much trouble AOL had with their auto-cencorship sw that left breast cancer support groups finding all sorts of creative ways to talk seriously about breast cancer without ever using the word 'breast'?
  • Australia has lately been the leader in such crap. Then it trickles down thru England and finally to Canada and the U.S., whereafter the EU jumps on the bandwagon too. Or at least that's how it's been working out for the past year or two, now that I think about it.

    The day will come when the only words safe to utter are A, AN, and THE.

    No, I take that back. Some moron will object because he doesn't like being called "a/an" (generic), he wants to be "the" (one and only). Another moron will object to being singled out by "the". Best just keep our mouths shut.

    Enough duct tape silences anyone.
    • Not Canada, unless the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Telecommunications Commission) reverses their previous decision [wired.com] not to regulate the Internet. Existing laws and regulations were considered good enough (regarding kiddie porn and the like) without having to create new laws.

      What scares me is that this "hands off" decision was made by beaurocrats, not politicians. :)

      • We pointed the politicians at the Canadian decision when the Federal legislation came around two years ago, but they don't seem to care that no one else (no Western democracy, anyway) has chosen this path.

        Danny.

  • "[A]dult themes" include: "verbal references to and depictions associated with issues such as suicide, crime, corruption..."

    Well, the crime and corruption bit rules out any reference to most governments in this world .

    And "racism, religious issues" rules out any reference to the Australian Immigration Policy, doesn't it?
  • Australian politicians are always coming up with these draconian net policies, but crying it up like this is going to spread all over the place is jumping the gun a bit.
    In the US, there is this whacky swingers club called the Supreme Court that has this crazy job of deciding whether federal laws should limit or even define obscenity and over and over and over they've said that no they don't go that way. It's left to the States. So, then you have a patchwork of State laws. That's the way the Supreme Court intends it to stay and if you doubt it, you just don't know shit.
    I did my Master's Thesis on the Supreme Court's treatment of obscenity and I'll be happy to send it to you if you're really scared and in the US. It was all played out by the sixties really as far as the US is concerned. Perhaps some of you are old enough to recall public XXX theaters in the States. They used to be everywhere. Things have actually tamed way down from what they were like before herpes and AIDS. It's not the laws that hold people's libido's down in the States. If you think so, you're just too young to know better.
    As for you Austrailians --well, who knows what's going on down there. For starters, your wine sucks. As a native Californian, I really wish you guys would drop that whole gig. You've apparently got lots of mad hax0rs and case modifying freaks, the original Mad Max, more triple trailer rigs than Nevada and a surplus of freckle faced big tittied women, which I grudgingly confess are all plusses, but you've also got some lame ass politicians and this kind of stuff seems like par for the course coming from them.
    I seem to recall about four years ago there was a ban on porn hosting in Austrailia and it was hilarious to see all these hosts in LA and NY specifically reaching out to help the poor homeless Aussie porn sites by snaking that monthly hosting fee from the local guys. What a dumb ass move that turned out to be.
  • Not all Australians are like this, in fact a lot of us are quite ashamed of our current governments.

    The Federal government, which passed the previous lwas that tried to restrict ISPs, did so, a) because they (erk, they call themselves the Liberals) are quite a conservative party to begin with, b) because they were trying to win the vote of an even more conservative member of parliament, and c) because it was easy and popular to do.

    The reason for this new law is less clearcut; the party in power in NSW (Labor) is the supposedly more Left-leaning of the two biggest parties. I suspect that it purely a populist move. Politicians in Australia seem to be determined to prove that they can be even more conservative and out of touch than Americans, obvously.
    • I was actually looking into emmigrating to Aussieland in the next couple of years.....

      Does Australia even have a Libertarian Party [libertarian.org] or it's equivalent??

      I also wonder how this might affect my website since I use an Australian host provider. EEEK!

      Actually, when the host provider gets a few e-mails cancelling accounts because of the new law, they might just be interested in doing something substantial about stopping this law. You know what they say, you want to affect politics, affect commerce.

      You outlaw marajuana and hate speech, but with me you get one or the other....

      Hammy
      Nothing4sale.org [nothing4sale.org]
      Making our billions in the ".org" boom.

      • You outlaw marajuana and hate speech, but with me you get one or the other....
        br.
        Interestingly, the part of Australia that I live in, the ACT, has some of the nicest marijuana laws in the world (that I've seen, anyhow). Basically, the cops don't care, unless you really piss them off, in which case they might give you a A$50 fine.
  • In other countries how can a law like this affect us? Could we become criminals?
  • by kraf ( 450958 )
    Those in power always want that the general population be as clueless as possible, so that they don't pose as a threat.
    The internet is the worst thing that can happen to many governments - free exchange of information, people educating themselves, etc.
  • parenting???? Ok... before I start my rant, I
    must say, yes I do have, kids 2 of them. So, I
    feel as though I have a right to bitch about these
    people :p. #1: There is an easy way to help
    protect our children online.... it's called
    watching your kids. To put this very simply, when
    I was younger, if my mother thought I was getting
    into a situation that might have been unsuitable,
    she either, took me out of the situation, or just
    supervised very closely. Now I know it might
    sound like a lot of work to the F*cking people
    that start this stuff, but hey kids aren't easy.

    #2: This is just my thought on the whole thing.
    I don't think the lawmakers are taking into
    consideration the problems involved with all of
    this stuff. I mean, once upon a time I knew this
    girl, her parents sheltered her life from the time
    she was born, meaning no TV that was above a PG13
    rating, no dating until she was like 104 or
    something like that, no going out with the people
    her parents deemed trouble makers, etc... The
    funny thing about this story, is this, all of my
    other friends that were allowed to do all of this
    stuff, got older, got a job, and moved on. This
    girl had no idea of how the "real world" was. She
    stayed living with her parents, but since she was
    legaly allowed to do what she wanted she started
    going out and partying every night, where she
    would do just about and drug that was around, and
    any person that was around for that matter. This
    is not the way to "protect" your children.

    #3 My opinion as a parent:
    Everyone is preaching about protect our children,
    keep the internet "safe" for children, blah blah
    blah. Now in my opinion, I hate seeing the this
    happening, I hate the way they are gutting the
    internet and any other form of entertainment.
    Personally I hate the fact that my children aren't
    going to have the option. I mean, seriously now,
    if they are going to cut down on pr0n and all of
    that online, I think there should be laws for
    parents to better hide their own personal pr0n
    collection. (Oh, and to all of you kids reading
    this.... check your dads closet.... usually the
    highest shelf you can get :) I mean, I would
    rather for my son get online and do his thing to
    pr0n then go out when he comes of age and get some
    poor girl pregnant.

    All I am saying is that the best fight for the
    whole protecting our children thing is this:
    EDUCATE YOUR CHILDREN!!! tell them what's what.
    it'll work a lot better than stealing their
    rights.

    Sorry for the long post, but this kinda shit gets
    by boxers in a bundle :p.

    L8r
    • Hear, hear! Very insightful post (I wish I had moderator privileges right now to mod you up).

      Anyway, one thing I've always wondered about (and I'm not a parent, so maybe I'm missing something here) is how much porn really hurts our children. I mean, sex is a natural part of life -- we all do it eventually. When parents shield their kids from porn, who are they protecting -- their kids or themselves? Small children are naturally curious, and when they see something they don't fully comprehend (which includes a *lot* of things), they become inquisitive. They start asking questions their parents will be uncomfortable answering. Maybe it's better for the parents that they never ask those awkward questions to begin with. I tend to believe that's why we started shielding our children from porn. But today, I think today most people have had the notion that seeing porn will psychologically impair our children pounded into their heads for so many years, they just believe it without question. And that's just sad.
  • Kox Box - Crunchy Moles .... The beginning is damn funny.
  • Any adult discourse on the internet in Australia.
  • ...Came for the gun owner's guns did you stand up for their rights, and write your government and post messages on Slashdot?

    This legislation is absolutely stupid, but it is to be expected when no one will stand up for anyone elses rights.

    I am a proud member of what most of you would probably call the religious right. But guess what: I vote libertarian because I know that standing up for the rights of pornographers and strippers and recreational drug users is equally as important as standing up for the rights of Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson and the NRA.

    This is so reminicent of the quote from somebody shortly after the Second World War: "First they came for the _____ and I did nothing because I wasn't a ____. Then they came for the ____ and I did nothing because I wasn't a _____...Eventually they came for me and there was no one left..." Fill in the blanks people. You reap what you sow, and this is what happens.

  • The C word...Congress.
    The D word...Democracy.
    The F word...Freedom.
    The H word...Help.
    The S word...Sense, as in Common.
    The A word...Aussie.

    Please refrain from using these around children as it might adversly affect the way they percieve our world.

    Thank you.
  • It's not America's job to safeguard the Australian pornography industry.
  • I suppose they might as well censor newspapers that have stories about murder, rape, and unethical business practices because it might be read by a child. That's no different than censoring the internet. Perhaps once they see how retarded they look in the eyes of the world they will reconsider.
  • We (uk) don't want you anymore. You can change the little British flag in the corner to stars-and-stripes and go be part of America with their DMCAs and SSSCAs and banning barry potter and flag burning. Good bye. :)
  • Whenever I read that government X wants to ban Y from the internet or fine provider Z for a users web page/chat room comments I nearly fall off my sofa laughing. Maybe they don't see how ludicrous their statements would seem if the subtituted 'malicious or offensive voice content' carried over the 'public telephony system' for any of the statements they make about the internet.

    Or perhaps they do/ think it would be sensible to prosecute Cable and Wireless or British Telecom for every crank call made from a payphone or mobile but just haven't got round to drafting the legislation yet.

    Or, more credibly, they have no real understanding of the communications industry whatsoever.

    Hey - maybe someone in the US should prosecute the mail service for delivering Anthrax. It would make just as much sense.

  • Let's help however we can.

    The ultimate strategy is global totalitarianism folks. That's the New World Order. What you don't know is going to fuck up your life.

    Get a copy of Sun Tzu's "Art of War" and this stuff will start making sense. Then we can mount strategic and extremely more effective methods of neutralizing these types of fascist control mechanisms.

    For a very enlightened view of the strategy used to manipulate all of us check out this site:

    The Truth About Terrorism [realityzone.com]
  • I say this: CENSORSHIP SUCKS . It is the responsibility of the PARENTS , not of the government, to decide what is and what is not suitable for their children, and to enforce that in their home. Parents need to talk to their children about "adult" matters, like drugs, alcohol, sex and crime. If the parents don't do this, then the parents are idiots. But it is the PARENTS' , and ONLY the PARENTS' responsibility to handle this.

    (I don't care if they pass a law that says that all "adult" materials need to have some sort of tag on them so that parental control software can be written to effectively block all "adult" websites, but a law prohibiting any "adult" materials in the first place is, quite frankly, a very stupid law.)

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH WELL.

  • If they ban all adult themes on the Internet, shouldn't they also ban adult themes from TV? I think there'd be quite an outrage if they tried that! Hypocricy.
  • Here [nsw.gov.au] is the particular bill available that the government website.

    Perhaps people should read it.

  • Come on! Censorship is NOT about pornography! Censorship is about freedom of speech, not freedom to show kids stuff they shouldn't even be concerned about. I'm deadly serious. I am in favor of a cleaner web, a web where kids can surf without filling their mind with rubbish. I'm also in favor of having my say and speaking my mind. I believe we can have both! Why have only one? How about submitting links which enable me to SUPPORT this measure? Why only cover the one side of this?

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