Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
The Internet Censorship

Australia Chooses Education Over Filtering 244

riprjak writes "The Australian federal government has rejected a call for Internet filtering to 'protect' Australians from child pornography and has opted instead to undertake an education and information campaign to teach parents about the perils of the Internet."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Australia Chooses Education Over Filtering

Comments Filter:
  • by Zontar The Mindless ( 9002 ) <plasticfish DOT info AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:01AM (#10972394) Homepage
    A government made a sensible, non-kneejerk decision with regard to the Internet?

    I want to to move there!

    Oh, wait... I already did. :)
    • Re:State of Shock (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SenseiLeNoir ( 699164 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:04AM (#10972403)
      A very sensible move by the Australian government. However, I do hope it also applies to their "number 1" telco, Telstra and their BigPond (aka Big Pong) ISP who did indeed filter a particular site recently.
    • Re:State of Shock (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Manip ( 656104 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:05AM (#10972413)
      It does sound good.. but remember this is also the country that decided to import American law as part of a 'free-trade' type agreement.
    • Re:State of Shock (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sime208 ( 709155 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:48AM (#10972560)
      What a breath of fresh air reading what Australia will do.

      Trying to plug the hole that is child Internet porn would be an ongoing battle swallowing much time and resource better spent elsewhere. Sure the majority don't want to see it and have no interest in it spreading, but trying to stop it is like trying to stop the use of drugs. If people want it, they'll get it. I'd rather my tax dollars went into dealing with it at the source.

      It also means the Government won't be submerged in requests of other anti- groups to stop whatever else they decide doesn't take their fancy.
      • trying to stop it is like trying to stop the use of drugs

        The fundamental difference being that drug using and selling between adults is clearly an act of voluntary consent -- there is no aggressor, and there is no victim -- while child porn is clearly an act of aggression, because a child is too young to make such a decision.

        Selling drugs to minors should be interpreted as an act of aggression, however, for the same reason child porn is interpreted as an act of aggression. The minor is simply too young

  • by ebsf1 ( 689864 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:03AM (#10972401)
    Oi oi oi
  • by Buran ( 150348 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:04AM (#10972406)
    • Off topic? This is more insightful than anything. Consider what sensible action this government of theirs has taken regarding one of the best tools mankind has ever had for the retrieval and dissemination of information! Yes there are bad things that we don't want our kids to be viewing at an age where they don't comprehend things as we do. Sure violence and certain types of sexual innuendo may be inappropriate for young kids to view because of their inexperience and easily molded minds, where they may beco
      • I did that post as a joke (well, the format of it anyway) but I do think that this sort of falls into the 'hero tag', if anyone's ever looked at Fark (I go there occasionally for amusement.) And given how often governments don't trust us to be responsible (I'm in the US, but I have several Australian friends, so I hear from them firsthand how policies affect them -- they may not be as sue-happy as we are, but still...) it's a relief when someone in the government seems to have their head on straight.

        As for
    • by Vicsun ( 812730 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @06:38AM (#10972680)
      • install linux, problem solved
      • The short version: articles are tagged with generic classifications like 'asinine' 'stupid' 'hero' 'obvious' and so on (the front page shows this.) Sometimes, people disagree with the category the moderator chooses and will display the graphic of their preferred tag for the article as the text of their comment.

        The 'hero' tag is the closest one that fit, I thought, since these days governments tend to put their heads in the sand, don't trust their constituents, and over-regulate everything.

        And you didn't p
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:04AM (#10972408)
    The Internet at schooles (or at least the ones I worked at) already had an internet filtration in place which was controlled at a state level. Bear in mind this was Queensland, I wouldn't know about other states.
    • The whole point of schoolies is to go and get it in real life, not to watch pr0n ;)
    • In South Australia it is the same, there are the same types of filters in place. it is funny when your teacher uses the internet to look up legitamate topics such as sexual harrasment, but it is blocked because the site contains the key word 'sex'.
    • I am just reciently out of a Queensland stateschool and I was shocked to find my beloved http://www.phonelosers.org was blocked. Thankfully slashdot was not.
  • My god... (Score:4, Funny)

    by VirtualWolf ( 159946 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:05AM (#10972410) Homepage

    ...the Howard government doing something intelligent?!

    ::looks outside to see if the sky is falling::

    • ...the Howard government doing something intelligent?!
      Obviously it slipped through while the government was in caretaker mode during the run up to the election. Either that or the new technology minister is not a luddite like the last one.
  • It's a step (Score:5, Interesting)

    by monkease ( 726622 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:06AM (#10972418) Homepage
    Really, it's laudable that the response by the Aussies is not the cyber-equivalent of smart-bombing (*cough*ChineseEmbassy*cough*Kosovo) but it's still part of the whole growing-pains thing that we'll experience for many years.

    I'm not sure any government (save, maybe, South Korea's, which is its current form as a direct result of the internet) realizes just how much the internet is changing the world. Protecting your citizens' bodies is one thing--hunt those child-kidnappers down!--but it's too late for their minds...

    and that's a good thing.
  • only stupid people vote for filtering.

    pr0n.au is my next investment.
  • by Dancin_Santa ( 265275 ) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:07AM (#10972429) Journal
    Unless you consider that kids still have access to the pornography and no amount of "education" is really going to block them or persuade them from accessing it.

    It's like those billboards that tell you that "God is Protecting You". It only reaches those who want to be reached.
    • ...you think that you really could use filters to succesfully combat the creativity of 12-14year olds in their search for porn?

      maybe it's still good to tell them that you shouldn't stick a knife up your anus just because you saw a picture of someone doing that on the internet...
    • by sinewalker ( 686056 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:22AM (#10972482) Homepage
      Um, isn't the issue that:
      a) the children who are the subject of child-porn are the main victims.
      b) banning such content from viewing in Australia does nothing for the poor children photographed oversees in the first place (the proposal was to filter out kid porn from outside Aust).
      c) "what about the children viewing the porn?" Yes indeed. And what about the other offensive things they view, like adult porn, or bestiality, or planes flying into tall buildings, or.... where is the line drawn?

      Filtering is not an answer. Education, while only reaching those who's mind-share you already have, is probably the only sensible solution, and it only addresses item c. Unforturnately nothing can be done about a or b. Directly. In fact by filtering it out, you lose the opportunity to catch the adult consumers of the content, and hense lose a lead back to the perpetrators of a...

      I think that lead is worth keeping.
      • c) "what about the children viewing the porn?" Yes indeed. And what about the other offensive things they view, like adult porn, or bestiality, or planes flying into tall buildings, or.... where is the line drawn?

        I hope I'm not getting too philosophical here, but that's a good point: What about the children viewing the porn? Now, I understand that minors are not supposed to be looking at any porn, and I understand that quite a lot of the child porn out there is a result of gross exploitation of children
        • can you make the argument that these girls were exploiting themselves?

          Not only can I make one, but it's actually easy as the anti-pornography (read: anti-interesting-sex) lobby has provided us so much ammunition. Mind you, I do think that "child porn" is wrong when it involves anyone other than the minor, and that this is a gray area, but it is reasonable to construct an argument around the idea that our social construction of attractiveness and desirability has essentially forced these girls to put n

    • by Anne Honime ( 828246 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:31AM (#10972517)
      Unless you consider that kids still have access to the pornography and no amount of "education" is really going to block them or persuade them from accessing it.

      We've go a saying for this : a child who tumble inadvertantly over porn is not enough overlooked by the adult in charge of him, and that's the adult responsability ; a child who finds porn after looking for it is not a child anymore.

      • I wholeheartedly agree with what you're saying, but as an aside, here's an English note:

        Overlooked means "forgotten about," which isn't what you meant.

        You want to say overseen, which means guided and watched; exactly the opposite of overlooked.

        Yes, there are all kinds of English jokes playing on overlook versus oversee. It's a funny language. :-)

    • kids still have access to the pornography and no amount of "education" is really going to block them or persuade them from accessing it.

      Your point being?

      Who cares if kids,(and of course were talking about pubesent teenagers here), go looking for porn. It's not going to turn them into drooling, trenchcoated Ken Keniffs, hungry for porn day and night. This will only happen to those destined for that path anyway.

      Internet porn today is exactly the same as porn mags in the fifties.

      Again I say, if you want t
    • Unless you consider that kids still have access to the pornography and no amount of "education" is really going to block them or persuade them from accessing it.

      First of all, children are always going to have access to pornography. That has always been true as long as pornography has been readily available - you can just shoplift something pornographic. Or, barring that, I guess you could get together with some other kids and make your own child porn for children. It would be interesting to see how a

  • by Anonymous Coward
    And remember folks... if you go to warez sites, you're going to get child porn popups from hell.

  • by Silver Sloth ( 770927 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:10AM (#10972439)
    The article quotes

    including a British-style national internet filtering system but rejected it.

    I wasn't aware that the UK has a national internet filtering system. Can anyone elaborate?
    • by timmyf2371 ( 586051 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:20AM (#10972475)
      We don't.

      British Telecom's ISP blocks certain underage porn sites which are found on an IWF black list, however this is not a legal requirement by any means and AFAIK they are the only British ISP currently to do such a thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Basically the low down is Australia will have really educated children porn stars.
  • 5 pt. badges for everybody!
  • kids are afraid (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arjovenzia ( 794122 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:24AM (#10972491)
    As you may or may not know, there has been a massive, hugely publicized crackdown on child porn in Australia. and the byproducts are visible.

    I recently cleaned a friend-of-the-family's PC of a major spy ware infestation, brought on by their 7 yo son going on a porn site, egged on by his mates (as mates do). when the subsequent torrent of pop ups occurred a few days later, he was petrified that the cops were going to come and lock him up, as has happened to all the other people we have been hearing about on the radio/TV/papers.

    Although it wont have a lasting effect (IMHO, if pron is there, it will get assessed), but not for a while he will stay away. the poor kid was so terrified, so conscious of what he had done, he will need some serious hormones to get up the courage.

  • Out of character... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by B747SP ( 179471 ) <slashdot@selfabusedelephant.com> on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:25AM (#10972494)
    I've got to say, given our (.au) history on matters Internet related, this is very much out-of-character. Refreshing though!
    • Actually, most of the previous idiocies can be laid at the door of Brian Harradine. Now that he's gone and the Liberals control the senate, the government doesn't have to listen to minor-party media-whores anymore.
    • I, as a life long Australian citizen would like to thank whoever it was that decided this course of action. You've restored some of my faith in the Government. :)

      Bloody good news is great stuff. :)
  • by ttys00 ( 235472 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @05:33AM (#10972522)
    Little Johnny will soon recover from this horrible bout of common sense, and will go back to selling our country out to American corporations.
  • The government rejected a national filtering system and is instead providing "education". Have they considered requiring filters in schools, public libraries, and government offices (as is being considered in the US)? This kind of system would not have the same drawbacks as a national filter.
  • It's uplifting to see that at least some places in the world are willing to aim for a more intelligent citizenry than simply legislating morality and restricting personal freedoms to for the sake of the idiot majority.
  • by EvilCabbage ( 589836 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @06:32AM (#10972664) Homepage
    I wrote a metric shit tonne of emails to various people in positions of power about this.

    I doubt very much at the end of the day my words directly had much to do with it, but some part of me really hopes it did. If only one minister sat and thought twice about what I'd written to them and it somehow swayed them to the more sensible course of action, I think I can be a little bit prouder of my country.

    I'm sure I wasn't the only person making their voices heard over this issue, thanks to everybody else who stood up and let them know what we thought. We've done well this time.
  • ... I immediately assumed that the benefits of uncensored information had been recognized as a boon to education. Perhaps I was suffering from momentary naivete, but this interpretation still seems to hold much more promise than the other.
  • The biggest threat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by leereyno ( 32197 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @07:07AM (#10972774) Homepage Journal
    I've always believed, even as a child, that the biggest threat to children are their elders.

    I know I for one never appreciated being lied to and manipulated, both of which largely define the relationship between the young and old.

    One of the questions we commonly hear asked is what advice we would give to someone younger than us, what do we know now that we wished we'd known growing up.

    Well my advice for the children of the world is this: Don't believe what people tell you, especially your parents. Keep your own counsel and take everything with a grain of salt. Just because someone loves you don't mean they won't lie to you, and it most definitely doesn't preclude their being crazy, stupid, ignorant, or some combination of all three.

  • Which just proves (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Paddo_Aus ( 700470 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @08:00AM (#10972952)
    "One can't solve a sociological problem with a technological solution." - Edwards Law
  • Who are they educating? If you are unaware, you have been away from the planet for a while? Are they educating the other people that school aged children spend most of their days with?

    All this really means that they will produce 15 color brochures, and 5 very short commercials that will air off prime "cheaper" and no one will ever see either.

    Why do they think filtering would cost so very much? Squid + Dansguardian is very cheap "less than $500". Almost every ISP already uses proxy servers to save bandwi
  • by michaeldot ( 751590 ) on Thursday December 02, 2004 @08:49AM (#10973120)

    This is not just commonsense, it will also free up for resources for fighting the TRUE dangers to our children here in sunny Oz:

    If the dingoes don't get our babies, Steve Irwin will feed them to a crocodile!

  • ..."rejected a call for Internet filtering to 'protect' Australians from child pornography"... "teach parents about the perils of the Internet."

    So... some or all australians are endangered by the possiblity they could view child pornography... right? And they need to be protected... right?
    So government decides to pass over the responsiblity to parents and educate them how to do it... right? So parents are to protect whom from the child pornography...? Children it seems?

    Why do they assume it's children wh
  • How does education of children stop adults from accessing child porn? Filters to block child porn are not intended to keep children away from it, it is meant to keep the consumers of it (adults and older teens) away from it. I'm all for supervision of one's children, but I don't see how this supervision/education effort that's proposed is going to address the problem that the filters were supposed to.
  • an education and information campaign to teach parents about the perils of the Internet

    What's this "information campaign" going to look like, eh? FCP, that's what. Fear, Certainty, and Panic. And after $30MM has been spent scaring the populace, what do you suppose the legislature will vote for the next time 'round?
  • The New South Wales Police went one better recently, and actually sent child pornography [news.com.au] images to thousands of state schools.

    The irony and sad thing here is that it's illegal to have child porn on your computer, yet the police can obviously have it and they sent it out to others as well. Imagine inadvertently getting it in your email and then getting busted by the cops for it. Imagine now if a teacher gets charged for child porn. It just goes to show that merely having the images should not be a crime, si

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson