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Censorship Australia Communications Government Technology

Draconian Aussie Science Censorship Law Takes Effect Next Month (theconversation.com) 265

An anonymous reader writes: The Conversation reports that beginning next month Australian scientists and engineers face 10 years imprisonment for communicating without a government permit on biotech, robotics or manufacturing. Geoffrey Roberston QC says the laws are "sloppily drafted" and threatens research with "no sensible connection to military technology". But the government is barreling ahead, despite warnings from Defence Report it will kill Australia's high-tech economy. The law is opposed by Civil Liberties Australia where scientists are petitioning against it.
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Draconian Aussie Science Censorship Law Takes Effect Next Month

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  • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @03:33AM (#51620143)

    Keep going, Australia! Committing economic suicide makes it better for everyone else. Thanks for taking one for the team!

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      With the current political masters anything other than selling houses, financial planning, selling luxury imported cars, selling dirt (why bother processing it?) and naturopathy is the work of those greasy Moorlocks and should be stamped out. That includes farming despite their almost powerless coalition partners being supposedly a party for farmers.
      • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @06:12AM (#51620581) Journal
        The recent rash of anti-science and pro-military actions of our government are a direct consequence of Abbot stacking the public service with far right loons when he became PM. Tony was Australia's Trump light, he was (and still is) itching for us to go to war with somebody, it doesn't seem to matter who that somebody is. As with Trump, Abbot (aka the mad monk) is a private school bully boy who drove a xenophobic wedge thru his own party to gain and hold onto personal power.
        • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @06:27AM (#51620625)

          We are fortunate indeed that Trump has come along, otherwise how could we understand Australian politics?

        • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @07:04AM (#51620759)

          The recent rash of anti-science and pro-military actions of our government.

          It sounds like you are an Australian . . . did you get a government permit to post your comment . . . ?

          Otherwise, it's off to prison with you, we'll all see you back here in 10 years.

        • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @09:39AM (#51621355)

          So Australia is in an anti-science race with the US, then?

          With a little more cooperation between the two societies instead, we could both reach the Stone Age faster. The US can contribute a lot of Bible technology and has the world's most powerful set of activist lawyers who are old hands at shutting down science, while Australia can contribute the police-state methods that we have been behind in.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The world is not a zero sum game. If Australians were rich and sensible they would buy and use more of your products. If they did that you would buy more of their products. Everybody would be happy. Only idiots think that "take take take" will make them richer (long term) and in the same way, if Australia goes crazy it means one less place to escape to when your country goes bad.

      • The world is not a zero sum game. If Australians were rich and sensible they would buy and use more of your products.

        I disagree: untill we learn to mine asteroids, it sort of is a zero-sum game. Currently we seem to be quite a lot in the red, and I for one agree with GP and salute Australia's effort of turning the world to a more sustainable pace of consumption.
        Your profits be damned.

    • by Archtech ( 159117 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @06:50AM (#51620717)

      Aldous Huxley nailed this syndrome well over half a century ago. He wrote that:

      "One of the many reasons for the bewildering and tragic character of human existence is the fact that social organization is at once necessary and fatal. Men are forever creating such organizations for their own convenience and forever finding themselves the victims of their home-made monsters".

      So people create governments to keep them safe and provide law and order. Gradually the governments grow, until they become massive cancerous organizations concerned mostly with their own survival - and further growth. Eventually they either kill the host, or have to be overthrown in bloody wars or revolutions.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Yep. Because the one critical skill the human race has not mastered is keeping those with a thirst for power and control of others under control. If we could identify and them drown them at birth, this planet would be paradise.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Did it ever occur to you that maybe people like tyranny? How else could there be so much of it?

          • I think it's not so much that people like tyranny, as that we instinctively want a strong leader. We evolved from communal apes whose groups - varying in size from a single family to a clan of perhaps 200 - could only survive if they had strong, undisputed leadership. Such a leader (we might call him a "silverback", even though the phenomenon applies to chimps and many monkeys, too) may not always be right, but he must be decisive. A study of natural history programs, or books, or even a few visits to the Z

            • Ironically, a very similar scheme has been evolved by armed forces through the years. When you join the army, navy or air force you undertake to obey orders unhesitatingly and unquestioningly, no matter what your personal opinion might be. Indeed, basic training usually aims to drive all personal opinion clean out of your mind. So, in a way, the armed forces recognize that when danger threatens we must return to "the way of the ape" and subordinate ourselves wholly for the good of the group.

            • We evolved from communal apes whose groups ... a leader (we might call him a "silverback")... may not always be right, but he must be decisive. ... assert their authority in unfair ways. They randomly bite and strike others, apparently just to keep them apprised of who is the boss.

              Trump makes so much more sense now!!

          • No, people like rules. We bathe in rules the same as frogs live in water. Lawmaking is like applying heat to the water. Nice at first, then uncomfortable. The powerful are always testing the people, seeing what outrageous rulemaking they can get away with. It's up to us to push back. There's little choice but to boil or rebel.

            But there is so much to oppose that it's difficult to keep up with it all. There's the TPP and copyright extremism, the War on Drugs and high prescription drug prices (which e

            • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

              No, people like rules. We bathe in rules the same as frogs live in water.

              I think The Dark Knight movie is underrated in the writing department. I always liked this little speech from the Joker: "You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan". But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!"

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Name one post-war western democracy that has either "killed its host" or been violently overthrown.

        It used to be true, but we have worked out how to make democracy stable now.

        • The obvious (glaringly obvious, actually) example is Russia. Between 1991 and 2000, Russia as a nation was virtually annihilated. Then Putin took over and gradually began putting it back together.

          You will no doubt object that it was the oligarchs, not the government, that nearly killed Russia in the 1990s. But they could not have done that without the active assistance of the pathetic Yeltsin government.

          One day, the Russian government will no doubt start to grow too big. Because Russia is the largest nation

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            I asked for an example of a post-war western government. You picked a government east of the Iron Curtain, emerging from the cold war into a broken democracy that hasn't had the time to mature like western European ones have.

        • It used to be true, but we have worked out how to make democracy stable now.

          Name a nation which is living sustainably, regardless of its government. And keep in mind that they're responsible for their commerce with other nations. Now, show us again on the map where the stable democracy is located.

          If there's a nation on this planet which can be called stable, I don't know where it is. It's deck chairs all the way down.

    • It's not economic suicide. It could be academic suicide, but more like most of those scientists will be allowed to work once they paid appropriate bribes.
    • I'm not so sure that is true in today's global economy. When any country takes an economic hit it has a ripple effect.

    • You didn't want to pay us for WiFi royalties anyway,
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Keep going, Australia! Committing economic suicide makes it better for everyone else. Thanks for taking one for the team!

      Hi, this is what happens when ideologically driven ultra conservatives get into power. Abbott and the Coalition were elected on a platform of hate and fear of the previous guys that centred around an anti-immigration stance. Basically what Trump is doing now but with less pizzazz, money and bad hairpieces.

      Remember that as you see Trump's name on any voting card. Australia is your warning.

      And you're quite right about the economic side effects but that is par for the course, the Coalition has been dedic

  • What if... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @03:56AM (#51620197) Homepage Journal

    ...this nightmare had unintended and unforeseen positive side-effects, with researchers setting off in entirely new fields ? Granted, this is just a desperate attempt at seeing at least some positivity in something very, very disheartening.

  • I left Australia more than 6 years ago... best decision I ever made, never going back.

    Keep running the country into the ground, you're doing a great job.

  • Clowns in office (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hengist ( 71116 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @04:18AM (#51620255)

    This is just another example of how clueless the current Australian government is. It explains why there are now more New Zealanders moving from Australia to New Zealand, than from New Zealand to Australia. That hasn't been the case for decades!

    I left four years ago, and haven't been back. If I were still there, I could be prosecuted for publishing in any of my research topics. Ridiculous.

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      I didn't vote for these bastards last time and I have no intention of voting for them again. Unfortunatly as long as people continue to believe the propaganda and FUD spread across the front page of the Murdoch papers, people will continue to elect the Lieberal party and we will continue to get garbage laws.

    • Australia is basically uninhabitable. It's too hot, too dry, quite often on fire, and full of poisonous insects. The fact that the government appears to consist of strange right-wing fools is just another reason for sensible people to leave.
  • I know politicians are stupid but this is getting ridiculous.
    This country is seriously going down the gurgler fast :(
  • With the Greens stitching up a deal with our government to marginalise Ricky and friends, democracy is at a low ebb. I hope Di Natale realises that seats held by the likes of Day, Muir, Leyonhjelm, Madigan and former PUPs might well flow directly back to elect a 3rd liberal/national stooge in every state.

    Check out the website above, I'll give serious consideration to putting a plucky kid like Dr Jansson first in senate voting.

  • I suppose this means that people should simply stop doing science in Australia. After all, bearing in mind the possibility of retrospective criminalization, anything that scientists normally do could fall within this legislation. It's really not worth the risk.

    Australian scientists and engineers should either emigrate to more tolerant and enlightened countries, or change career path.

  • ...you do not talk about Aussie Science Club.

  • This is journalism?? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sibko ( 1036168 ) on Wednesday March 02, 2016 @07:45AM (#51620869)

    This is one of the most biased headlines I've seen around recently. This isn't journalism, the headline is literally telling you what to think of the law instead of just stating the facts of it.

    • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

      That's not biased, nor does it tell you what to think about it.
      The law IS draconian.
      It IS taking effect soon.
      The headline IS purely factual.

      • You are simply stating that you agree. Journalism didn't used to tell everyone what to think, it used to report facts. The GP poster is probably an older fellow who still perceives that this should be the case today, which it is not. Journalists today freely bias their stories, as we saw in the Israel/Waze article earlier today.
    • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

      This is one of the most biased headlines I've seen around recently. This isn't journalism, the headline is literally telling you what to think of the law instead of just stating the facts of it.

      The headline correctly describes the law. It IS draconian.

    • This is Slashdot. We talk about news on other sites. It's not a journalistic endeavor. It's a discussion forum. Even so, every actual news outlet has its own bias, and the only way to get "unbiased" news is to play one against the next until you attain opposing viewpoints. Even then, you're sure to miss out on something. Like they say: your side, their side, and the truth.

  • I hadn't read anything on this in the local press or seen anything on the news. I guess its time for me to do some reading! It wouldn't surprise me though since its big fine illegal to own an old out dated slot machine in my state. Just imagine if one of those one armed bandits were to get in the hands of the wrong people! (or scientists and engineers)

  • If you are all familiar with the current "War on sanity" you will all recognise that encryption is the next thing that is being targetted by power. You've seen Apple vs FBI and the rest of the bullshit attacks on encryption, well here comes the law.

    I read DTCA when it was proposed and what concerned me most was it allows government to take control of your inventions and patents whilst turning encryption into a controlled munition. Therefore if you show someone how to use encryption you are an arms dealer

  • So, does this mean slashdot is now potentially breaking the law in Australia when it publishes any tech news? Maybe tech websites should geoblock Australia just in case?

  • Australian scientists and engineers face 10 years imprisonment for communicating without a government permit on biotech, robotics or manufacturing.

    Biotech? It's about time. Sooner or later that newfangled witchery is going to give us all cancer, and then give that cancer AIDS. Lock it down, I say, the tighter the better.

    Robotics? Crazy future murder machines, you mean. Gonna turn us all into batteries--I saw it in a movie. Lock it down, lock it down, lock it down.

    Manufacturing? Uh... yeah. Can't have dangerous information about... um... manufacturing.... leaking out. It's a... menace?

    No, never mind, forget it. I only support Orwellian repres

  • >communicating without a government permit
    The future is here.

    What, you thought it'd be heralded by jetpacks and teleporters?

Two wrights don't make a rong, they make an airplane. Or bicycles.

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