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Google Rejects Australian Censorship Proposal

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-blame-hormes dept.

Australia 197

Xiroth writes "Google has rejected overtures from the Australian government to censor YouTube clips that had been given an RC rating by Australian classification authority, the OFLC. According to a Google spokesperson: 'YouTube has clear policies about what content is not allowed, for example hate speech and pornography, and we enforce these, but we can't give any assurances that we would voluntarily remove all Refused Classification content from YouTube. The scope of RC is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information. RC includes the grey realms of material instructing in any crime from [painting] graffiti to politically controversial crimes such as euthanasia, and exposing these topics to public debate is vital for democracy.'"

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This is getting interesting! (5, Insightful)

openfrog (897716) | more than 4 years ago | (#31099770)

Now that the Australian government finds itself to be on the same side than China on censorship, I hope their legislators take a second look on the path they have taken for a while, and this apply to a few other Western parliaments as well...

Re:This is getting interesting! (1, Offtopic)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31099986)

News at 10: Australia, the new China... Just with a crapload less people, better living conditions, democracy (well mostly) and well, pretty much everything else...

Re:This is getting interesting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31100212)

...including the funnel web spiders, dingos, sharks, billions of mice, 3 of the top ten deadliest snakes, cane toads... Dreamy!

Re:This is getting interesting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31100900)

Don't forget the hookers! They have lots and lots of hookers.

Re:This is getting interesting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101884)

And absolutely no poofters!

Re:This is getting interesting! (5, Interesting)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100028)

Also worrying is the fact that YouTube considers itself infrastructure for "free speech". What if they decide to broaden their definitions of "hate speech" and "pornography"?

The Internet is supposed to be free. It is supposed to allow equal access to data by equal parties. The existence of megacorporations in this space undermines the original spirit of the Internet, and provides just another way to turn the once-egalitarian Internet into just another tilted media outlet like Fox News.

This brings about a good discussion point: I remember the days of usenet, when IRC was the main form of IM, when gopher provided beautiful cruft-free content and I pine. No really, I still use pine. How could we, as citizens of the global Internet connected society, go about moving back towards an egalitarian Internet? I recognize that technology has moved forwards, however, I am left wondering how would we move the *values* back to what they were? Was it the massive influx of average people that did this to the Internet community? Or was it the megacorps who eventually found ways to monetize Internet users?

Eternal September (4, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100214)

You're looking at it through rose tinted glasses. There have been walled gardens such as AOL practically right from the "start". The value of the internet grew with popularity, and popularity brought in the noobs, who dived head first into the most convenient bucket provided by megacorps.

This is the status quo.
This is what happens when average people interact with megacorps on a mass scale, so nobody is to blame per se.
Whilst some very clever people were involved with the building blocks of the internet, the values and ideology, like everything in this world is completely up for negotiation.

Re:Eternal September (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100644)

You're looking at it through rose tinted glasses. There have been walled gardens such as AOL practically right from the "start".

The AOL example is not appropriate. People may have chosen to use AOL, but they had a choice. While other, uncensored, alternatives exist this is very different from what the Australian government want, which is to remove the choice of uncensored access to the Internet.

Re:Eternal September (3, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100854)

No, it's completely appropriate. Much of the government censorship is aimed at web 2.0 type constructs, which people willingly choose.

But these are completely centralised, and much less censorship resistant than the older internet technologies that GP was lamenting the loss of.

Re:Eternal September (2, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100876)

Not to mention, the same idiocy that allows AOL to exist is, fundamentally, the same process that drives democracy--individual choice. Whether my purchasing or voting, there's a similar result--the idiots help set up the only (terrible) game in town.

Re:Eternal September (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102066)

The AOL example is not appropriate. People may have chosen to use AOL, but they had a choice. While other, uncensored, alternatives exist this is very different from what the Australian government want, which is to remove the choice of uncensored access to the Internet.

I think it's perfectly appropriate. At the time AOL was popular in the USA, the Australian government was funding free (as in beer and in speech) and uncensored internet to the public.

It's only since the demise of AOL that the Australian government has started on this internet censorship kick.

Re:Eternal September (2, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100994)

You're looking at it through rose tinted glasses. There have been walled gardens such as AOL practically right from the "start". The value of the internet grew with popularity, and popularity brought in the noobs, who dived head first into the most convenient bucket provided by megacorps.

A slight tangent here, but the number of obscure and/or interesting films available on bit torrent really dropped after bit torrent became main stream. Sure, you can find movies like Avatar a week before their release date, but good quality rips of independent films and just strange stuff in general sort of disappeared by 2007 or so as it got lost in the noise on trackers like supernova and the pirate bay. I'm sure there's private tracker with a community around it nowadays if I looked hard enough, but to download an obscure 60's camp scifi movie I had to wait nine days while enough people finally seeded the damn thing (doesn't help that the only torrent available was for the 1.1gb version).

Re:This is getting interesting! (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100268)

Expect a corporation to look after its own interests.

Take it as a happy surprise when one looks after yours.

Don't rely on the corporation to look after your interests.

It isn't much of a puzzle.

Re:This is getting interesting! (3, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100360)

Lots of people complain about Endless September.

But those communities are still there. at least many of them are.
they just look small and puny next to the megacorps.

Re:This is getting interesting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31100372)

The Internet is supposed to be free. It is supposed to allow equal access to data by equal parties. The existence of megacorporations in this space undermines the original spirit of the Internet, and provides just another way to turn the once-egalitarian Internet into just another tilted media outlet like Fox News.

Private instituations on the Internet, much like those in reality, follow the same basic rules regarding free speech: there isn't any. They can restrict speech in any way they want, because you can just go somewhere else if you want to say something they won't allow.

Does this mean that the removal of all free speech within a private institution's reach will make them just or popular? Clearly quite the opposite. Does this mean that I support the subjugation of all free speech on the Internet to the control of private institutions, or even the creation of Internet "free speech zones?" Definitely not.

But to extoll the mantra of "all free speech everywhere no matter what and down with the corporations" as your answer to the situation is naive at best, some synonym for "stupid" at the worst.

Re:This is getting interesting! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100666)

Replying to undo a bad mod. Sorry.

Re:This is getting interesting! (2, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100688)

Yes. Clearly the internet is lacking in pornography because of Google's efforts. There's just wave after wave of nothing out there.

Personally, I wouldn't mind uncensored content in a walled off room of YouTube. But I understand that would be a hard sell for investors. And quite frankly, vomiting up a video of racist, homophobic, sexist viewpoints to a private server is pretty cheap and easy to do these days. It just isn't needed.

In this case, I applaud Google's efforts. Australia's BS Refused Classification status is a complete cop-out that everyone in the creative industries has been dealing with for years. Either man up to banning stuff that you don't like, or let it in an accept that 15 year olds will need to sort out on their own which holes the pointy bits go into.

Re:This is getting interesting! (3, Insightful)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100832)

I think the central issue here is that people view the internet as a commodity, and use it as they would a tool. They don't see their usage as part of a message, or to have intrinsic meaning.

As an analogy, let's talk about my car buying habits. I buy American. I've had 4 Chevys over the past 4 years. They didn't break down, I just went through them for various reasons. And I loved them all. In particular I miss the Cobalt, it was nice.

But then there are people who have been driving the same Volvo for the past 30 odd years. Or have cars that they've personally put 300,000 miles on. That's great. That was a sound economical investment.

But what was the message? It was just a tool to them. How far can they drive for their investment? How many years and how many miles can they go before they need to put in more money? Their message was that the car was a tool, just a means to an end.

My cars were the ends. I could work on them (I miss the old Corvette, spewing coolant like some B movie gore flick), they were fun to drive, and they were each a learning experience. I didn't buy them to get me any further than into the driver's seat.

Now look at the internet. For many of the people here, it's the ends. They work in an online business, or they have a vested interest in the underlying technologies (hardware or software) and furthering their knowledge of the internal workings thereof is their real intent. Honestly, how many of us have internet to check Slashdot? Slashdot is a nice bonus, but we don't have internet just to check Slashdot. Slashdot is not our ends.

But that's what the internet is to "normal people." It's just a tool they use to check Facebook or Twitter or their AOL email. They use the internet like some people use their cars, to get where they're going. They don't buy the car because it's American made and it'll support their fellow countrymen and they can work on it themselves and so on and so forth. They buy the car because they want to get to work, or school or the football game. It's just a car.

And that's the problem. To some people, it's just the internet. It's not a technology that has revolutionized the entire world. It's just the way to get where they want to be. Like a car.

Re:This is getting interesting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101426)

people are stupid and don't care. as far as the masses go, if you only had facebook, e-mail, and news left on the internet, they wouldn't notice.

IDIOTS!

Re:This is getting interesting! (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101720)

IMO, a tool must do whatever I want it to do.

The Internet should transfer data whatever data I want, when I want, between endpoint A and endpoint B. If governments and companies start getting in the way of that it stops being a good tool.

Re:This is getting interesting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31102108)

Wow. A car analogy that is actually apropos.

My hat is off to you sir.

Re:This is getting interesting! (2, Insightful)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100836)

Also worrying is the fact that YouTube considers itself infrastructure for "free speech". What if they decide to broaden their definitions of "hate speech" and "pornography"?

Who cares? If you can't find enough hate speech and pornography elsewhere on the internet, you're really not trying.
Just because YouTube is big and popular doesn't mean it's the whole internet. It's like complaining that the Disney Channel is engaging in censorship by not showing hard core pr0n and horror movies. They're commercial organisations, it's up to them.

Re:This is getting interesting! (3, Interesting)

zolltron (863074) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101124)

This is completely right. Just because a particular vehicle for speech doesn't allow *all* speech doesn't imply that it's not a vehicle for public debate about certain topics. The newspaper doesn't print porn, does that mean that newspapers are not involved in an active democracy? Or that any attempt to censor a newspaper doesn't effect free speech because the newspaper doesn't allow a totally unvetted expression of ideas?

Thinking about free speech in this all-or-nothing way is not productive, and it tends to alienate people from supporting free speech because they feel like they have to support porn.

Re:This is getting interesting! (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100848)

"Get of my lawn"

Re:This is getting interesting! (2, Insightful)

eiMichael (1526385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100946)

How could we, as citizens of the global Internet connected society, go about moving back towards an egalitarian Internet?

We as citizens simply cannot. We have very little control of the infrastructure of the Internet. It just takes 1 popular politician, and we could have a great big firewall.

The only way to avoid and/or remove censorship from the Internet is to remove the idea that censorship is acceptable. But that idea is just too radical for the average schmuck who thinks he shouldn't have to even be aware that other people think differently than him/her. It has become okay to censor. From "hate speech" to "pornography" to anarchy cookbooks.

But as I'm typing this I realize that perhaps a return to walled gardens for the majority of users could be a good thing. That way the politicians and their vocal self-absorbed constituents would never be aware of the stuff they want censored.

Re:This is getting interesting! (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100976)

You're supposed to be more intelligent than you prove yourself to be, but, well, you're not. You actually come across as a complete imbecile.

Youtube can censore whatever the Hell it wants. It has zero responsibility to ANYONE in this regard. Your misguided desire to use Google's resources for yourself not-withstanding.

The Internet is not "supposed to be" anything except a network of networks. Each network is free to police itself as desired.

You are an idiot and should be censored from the Internet.

Re:This is getting interesting! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101898)

The Internet is supposed to be free. It is supposed to allow equal access to data by equal parties. The existence of megacorporations in this space undermines the original spirit of the Internet, and provides just another way to turn the once-egalitarian Internet into just another tilted media outlet like Fox News.

I remember the days of usenet, when IRC was the main form of IM, when gopher provided beautiful cruft-free content and I pine.

Your memory doesn't go back far enough. Remember that the internet started as a DARPA project? Remember when it was SAGE? Remember when it was ARPANET? The original "spirit" of the internet was for US defense communications.

Freedom is not free. Freedom is not unlimited. You want to be free to say and do what you want? Do it on your own site. Google is giving you access to THEIR site (youtube) to use as they see fit, not as you see fit. You want more freedom than what they offer? Make your own. You are free to do that.

Re:This is getting interesting! (2, Insightful)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102562)

I think you are confusing the issue here. Google (and therefore YouTube), as a private entity, has the right to say what they will and will not allow on the forums they create. Don't like their censorship? Then build your own forum. I have, and found myself forced to censor the forum because of the spammers -- in fact, I ended up shutting it down because it was just too much work to maintain. A completely free forum is anything but the "cruft-free content" for which you pine nowadays. Back when the Internet was limited to researches and academics who lived by a code of professional ethics, it was possible to have a pretty much "hands-off" network. That's not the case anymore.

But, IMHO, that's not the real issue. The real issue is that governments, including China, Australia and, unfortunately, the U.S. where I live, keep trying to push their own legal requirements on the Internet as well. Rather than simply saying, "anyone in our country who violates these laws will be prosecuted", they are trying to force the Google's, the eBay's, and so on to police the networks for them. France freaked out a while ago because people were selling WWII memorabilia that had Nazi logos on them (which violated their "hate speech" laws). Someone in Illinois sued Spamhaus for including a domain that the plaintiff owned in a blacklist. Spamhaus elected not to travel to the U.S. to fight the legal battle, and therefore lost by default. That's just two examples from the so-called "Free World" It's even worse if you want to think about the mid-east, the banana republics, etc.

Re:This is getting interesting! (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100044)

Now that the Australian government finds itself to be on the same side than China on censorship, I hope their legislators take a second look on the path they have taken for a while, and this apply to a few other Western parliaments as well...

Maybe they have the same agenda...

lazy (1)

hey (83763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31099774)

They're probably trying to avoid work more than anything else.

Re:lazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31099806)

They're afraid of annonymouse.

Re:lazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31100004)

The internet is a global network, which seems to be an often overlooked fact lately. (Heads buried in the sand?)
Pulling down content is a choice, and if there is something that bothers a particular nation out there, they need to grow the fuck up.

Intolerance can not be tolerated.

Rating every YouTube video? (1)

ODiV (51631) | more than 4 years ago | (#31099792)

How do I get that job?

Re:Rating every YouTube video? (1, Funny)

flurdy (301431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31099872)

When the current reviewer gets promoted to rating PornTube

Re:Rating every YouTube video? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101148)

Why would you want that job?

First? (-1, Offtopic)

flurdy (301431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31099810)

First post?

familiar (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31099854)

Too bad Google didn't tell the Chinese govt. to frak its self in the beginning as well. Then again It'd be like Google saying that the govt. was being unreasonable because Google already prohibited anything on Tiananmen Square anyways.

Re:familiar (2, Insightful)

daveatneowindotnet (1309197) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100002)

Exactly, Google is grand standing against the much less menacing Australian Government. The only reason pulled out of China was a) they were the kings of the internet like they are back home and b) an attack that came from China (potentially). PR move in my mind

Re:familiar (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101180)

You actually wrote "frak"? In a post about government censorship?

Google still not evil (5, Insightful)

N3tRunner (164483) | more than 4 years ago | (#31099892)

As Google grows and expands into different markets I personally am more and more suspicious of their activities, especially the tracking that is inherent in their Chrome browser. However, there are constantly things like this were Google seems to be standing behind its principle of "Don't be evil". I hope that they never forget it.

Re:Google still not evil (2, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100078)

Tracking the information is not evil, it's what they do with the information once they have it.

Re:Google still not evil (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101206)

True but rarely does anything good come of it.

Re:Google still not evil (2, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100282)

However, there are constantly things like this were Google seems to be standing behind its principle of "Don't be evil". I hope that they never forget it.

I think there's a difference between "doing no evil," and deciding that they don't want to police the Internet for specific countries. I have a feeling that while their words say one thing, this has less to do with their mantra than the simple fact that they have better things to waste their time doing than the bidding of Australia's ridiculous government.

Re:Google still not evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31100542)

However, there are constantly things like this were Google seems to be standing behind its principle of "Don't be evil". I hope that they never forget it.

I think Google is just being pragmatic. In the long run they don't want to have to hire scores of people to police all the different jurisdictions around the world. Also, they don't want governments all around the world arbitrarily making up rules to limit Google's resources and profitability. Google is big enough that they can be listened to. If they lose a few million dollars in potential profits along the way it won't really bother the executives that much, but if they keep bending over to every political whim of the dictatorships and the authoritarian democracies then their economic and popular status will dwindle.

Re:Google still not evil (1)

bgarcia (33222) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100884)

especially the tracking that is inherent in their Chrome browser.

For more information about what information is tracked in Chrome, including instructions for disabling many of those features, read the Google Chrome Privacy Notice [google.com] .

Re:Google still not evil (1)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101170)

Google will be evil as soon as the original people are ousted at some point, then in comes the new psychopath overlords that have only eye for the next 3 month financial statement.

I guess Google's gonna have to pull out of (3, Informative)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31099906)

Australia, just like China.

Re:I guess Google's gonna have to pull out of (5, Funny)

pitje (1083069) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100590)

China's pulling out of Australia?

Re:I guess Google's gonna have to pull out of (4, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100662)

Pulling out never works and you still end up with a mess everywhere else.

Just a ruse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31099984)

Google is leading you into a false sense of security.

CAPTCHA is "Verily"

Can an Australian brother... (2, Interesting)

gravyface (592485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100000)

explain to me what a) brought on these draconian laws/ideals b) what the opposition is doing against it? I've always (maybe naively) thought of Australia as a laid-back and liberal kind of a place. This censorship movement seems... odd.

Re:Can an Australian brother... (4, Insightful)

Kratisto (1080113) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100046)

They're so laid back that they forgot to keep an eye on the kinds of people that like to go into politics.

Re:Can an Australian brother... (1)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100132)

Im amazed as well. Im wondering if someone at the top has some mental issues that have gone unnoticed a and a lot of influence to get others to agree to this insanity.

Re:Can an Australian brother... (4, Informative)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100780)

According to Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation, the Australian government passes it off as "not censorship" because all they're doing is "refusing classification." Unfortunately, anything without a classification cannot be sold in Australia. So, they're not banning it, technically, they're simply making it impossible to sell in a legal manner.

It's a shit politicians' trick, and it's worked for a while. Fortunately, much of the citizenship there seems to finally be waking up, if the repeal of the law that made it illegal to anonymously comment on politics due to public outcry is anything to go on.

Re:Can an Australian brother... (4, Insightful)

epp_b (944299) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101668)

So, they're not banning it, technically, they're simply making it impossible to sell in a legal manner.

So, exactly, how gullible are the Australian people and/or how stupid are their politicians for anyone to think these two things are different from each other?

Re:Can an Australian brother... (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101896)

Apparently, very gullible.

Re:Can an Australian brother... (1)

skirmish666 (1287122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100938)

Basically... our prime minister known here as K-Rudd is enforcing the "Won't someone think of the children?!?" act. IMO the way this came about is that our current PM who's party is by far the more liberal of the two main powers (interesting fact, the conservative opposition party is actually called the liberal party) got elected into government because he campaigned for the same issues as our previous conservative PM but with a more modern, less "old fuddy-duddy" & slimy political appearance. The swinging conservative voter helped elect him because his policy didn't conflict with their ideals and the youth of Australia helped elect him because he wasn't a drooling 80 year old with a speech impediment who went for a daily "jog" in the countries national colours for the media. Basically our old PM had will and enforced it. Sure, it made the average Joe's life hell and his CEO schoolmates life easy and that was his downfall - there's more average Joe's than CEOs. In reality the only thing that's changed in Australian politics is the work place relations, and even that's been a slow ongoing process. Meanwhile we're still trying to dig ourselves out of being a technological backwater...

Re:Can an Australian brother... (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101030)

Australia is missing constitutional protection against these sort of things. Apart from that they are suffering from too many politicians who believe they know better than the "common people". Unfortunately that's a problem which they have in common with ... well, any other country in the world.

Re:Can an Australian brother... (2, Informative)

Zarath (1743202) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101136)

Back in 07 when Australia was deciding between our two primary parties, the current government (Labor) used a policy of an opt-in filter system. This system was going to replace the method used by the old government, which didn't work at all (computer-side filters) because people could bypass them fairly easily. Not as easily as this though. Moving on about 1 yeah from when they were elected in, their policy suddenly changed. No longer was it an opt-in system, it was now compulsory for -everyone- to be filtered. And there would be a secondary opt-in filter that would block all porn. From that, they've continued on their censoring rampage. Unfortunately, the current government doesn't seem to listen to its people at all. And a lot of Australians are ignorant and blind. As long as someone says "it's to block child porn" they agree with it. When explained properly, almost everyone says it's stupid. Our government is up for election again soon, I can only hope that people will wake up and see what's happening... But I'm not holding my breath. Both governments are terrible.

Re:Can an Australian brother... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101310)

Freedom of speech just isn't on the radar in Australian politics. It's all about being comfortable, having a big house, and being safe from bushfires (and nature in general). Abstract concepts don't really enter into it.

Simple (0)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101486)

A: Lots of people don't vote and democracy has always been the dictatorship of the majority of voters. So the only people who vote are the people who care about things.

B: Solving real problems is hard, porn is simple and it appeals to those who bother to vote.

C: And how dare a person living in a country that invented the bleep AND the mosaic over the mouth of the person being bleeped say anything about anyone other country?

The key word (from TFA) is "voluntarily" (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100040)

Google are just playing the coquette. They'll give it up all right, they'll give it up hard, but for the sake of their reputation, they want three dates, flowers, and a subpoena first.

Next up: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31100092)

Google accuses Australia of Hacking its systems!

sigh (1, Troll)

the3stars (1030420) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100096)

America should start sending their idiot conservatives like Palin and Limbaugh to Australia. This worldwide surge of stupid "won't someone think of the children and our values (while padding our bank accounts)" is washing up on too many shores lately.

Re:sigh (1)

fl00ders (1186143) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100312)

Yeah nah; we have an Atkinson and a Conroy as it is - were you to add THOSE two sock puppets, the intellectual vacuum would collapse the universe.

Re:sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31100324)

wait... They will take them!?!?!?!

Quick mother, get station wagon and your trank gun, we have work to do.

Re:sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31100490)

We can't just keep sending our problems to Australia.

Re:sigh (0, Flamebait)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100612)

You forgot to mention Gore and all the other the-rules-we-make-only-apply-to-you liberals in your list.

This Conroy guy? (2, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100254)

Fuck him. For any public official in a western democracy to be openly clamoring for things to be more like China is a disgrace, to say nothing of the corrosive effect it has on liberties elsewhere. Here's hoping that the good people of Australia will feed him to the sharks.

Re:This Conroy guy? (1)

kaptink (699820) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100560)

I completely agree. And as the government takes away freedoms as they are doing the people will revolt. I am certainly not voting for labour in the next election and I think almost all geeks will be doing the same. I am glad to see google stick it to them.

"Overkill"... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100298)

Man, the only thing Australia would have needed to ban would have been the third Crocodile Dundee Movie and the third Men at Work Album, and all would have been absolutely fabulous. Instead, it seems like they are banning everything but the third Men at Work album, and that's just tragic.

The Streisand effect (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100354)

Isn't any attempt to ban a clip just going to send the view count for that clip way up? Where is the list of clips that the Australian government doesn't think I should see, I want to watch them all... over and over again!

Re:The Streisand effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31100554)

That's part of the idea. They will end up keeping the specific list secret, as their logic is: "Anyone who wants to know where this content is must be a pedophile or criminal."

What is hate speech? (4, Insightful)

howardd21 (1001567) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100394)

I am not a member or supporter in anyway of the KKK, Nazis, etc., but why is certain speech categorized as "hate" and therefore not allowed to be even stated? Who decides what is hate? That whole movement makes me nervous...

And will this be like the porn guy that was convicted in Florida, though he lived in California, for distributing videos via the internet. If I complain about Barak Obama and make a statement that includes his race, am I suddenly guilty somewhere on some level? If I am a religious leader and have a youtube video that states a conviction homosexuals are in danger of hell, am I guilty of hate speech? If not now, how about 5 years from now when the social winds change?

Re:What is hate speech? (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100784)

I would say that hate speech should be considered any speech that advocates the attack on another person's rights based on a more generalized idea such as their race, sexual orientation, etc.

So, saying that you don't want illegal Mexican immigrants into the country wouldn't be considered hate speech, as it doesn't interfere with their rights; they don't have the right to enter our country illegally.

But saying that you want all Mexican's out of the country regardless of their citizenship because "they" stole your job, then yes, that would be hate speech. (Now if you said illegals only, that would not be hate speech as they are illegally in this country and technically don't have the right to stay here)

Re:What is hate speech? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101000)

I would say that hate speech should be considered any speech that advocates the attack on another person's rights based on a more generalized idea such as their race, sexual orientation, etc.

What about economic status? Why not?

So, saying that you don't want illegal Mexican immigrants into the country wouldn't be considered hate speech, as it doesn't interfere with their rights; they don't have the right to enter our country illegally.

They don't? Says who? There are 30 million of them here now. And in places like San Fransisco, they are a protected class, like homosexuals are.

But saying that you want all Mexican's out of the country regardless of their citizenship because "they" stole your job, then yes, that would be hate speech.

Who is saying all Mexicans should leave the country? Of course, some people have equated "undocumented workers" as being "all Mexicans" for political reasons, if not explicitly, it is implied. So even refining your statement to be "Illegal Aliens" is considered "hate speech" because "illegal aliens" is code for "all Mexicans".

And the moment you outlaw certain words, we change other words to take the place of the now missing / forbidden words.

Take the word "Retarded", which used to be a perfectly acceptable word to describe someone who was less intelligent than average. Now that word is nearly forbidden, because of people using it in a negative way. Now we have substituted "Special" in place, trying to make people feel better about calling them "retarded". Except now, even that term is starting to gain a negative quality. "Aren't you 'special'?"

The fact is, communication is wrought with all sorts of subjective interpretations and meanings and subtleties that shift as words evolve in meaning to route around societal censorship.

I'm a libertarian, and so I don't find ANY speech all that offensive. Worst case scenario is that we find out what people think plainly. I'd much rather have the KKK marching down the street (obvious who/where they are) than hiding in back rooms and secretly planning their next cross burning.

If you're offended by the presence of the KKK, you probably should get some help. A bunch of wackos shouting slogans of hate don't offend me. The best thing we can do is make fun of them, laugh at them, tease them, and show how ridiculous they are.

I'd much rather have all speech open where I can see it, and react accordingly than stick my head in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist for the sake of my sensibilities.

Re:What is hate speech? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101514)

Take the word "Retarded", which used to be a perfectly acceptable word to describe someone who was less intelligent than average. Now that word is nearly forbidden, because of people using it in a negative way

Sorry, I didn't get that memo. I'm not sure what part of the Universe you live in, but I hear it used all the time. Surely, as an avid internet commentator, you frequently see it written on the internet as well.

For a word that is "nearly forbidden," you didn't hesitate to use it.

Re:What is hate speech? (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102082)

It's forbidden to use the word in reference to people who are now called "developmentally disabled."

Re:What is hate speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101678)

If you're offended by the presence of the KKK, you probably should get some help.

You might not be offended, but are you the target of their hate speech? I think the people that are the target are rightfully frightened by it. Even assuming the KKK stays on the right side of the law and never directly incites harm or takes action, their words are a form of bullying. The right answer is to ignore it, but that's not simple and most people, even if they respond correctly, would feel better if the bullying wasn't there.

Re:What is hate speech? (0)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100798)

"Hate speech" is a term invented by EU governments to allow them to censor their populace. The term does not have legal meaning in the US, where freedom of speech is considered unalienable.

If you can afford to, don't ban hate speech. (4, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101066)

Most of the western world has a sufficient police force to allow all kinds of backwards hate speech to exist. Some people are bigots, and there's not much you can do about it. Providing a passion for their narrative, by trying to suppress their free speech or incarcerating them for saying something, helps them more than it hurts them. It gives them the attention that they crave, an in some ways legitimizes their "struggle."

Here in the states this is one thing we get mostly right. You can parade around in white sheets, and say nigger and kike all you want. The rest of us will be over here, chuckling at your foolish costume and face tattoos, while the FBI continues to build a profile of your idiocy.

Then, if you actually follow through with the nonsense, hate crime laws will put you away for a few decades. In essence, you're welcome to continue acting like an idiot, but if you actually hurt someone you're going to pay dearly for the crime.

I only wish we could apply the same principles to drug users and other non-violent criminals.

Re:What is hate speech? (3, Interesting)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101138)

Google's policy defines it as anything inciting or advocating violence, or making insulting stereotypes or generalizations about any group. Anyways, YouTube only has this policy due to constant harassment by Lieberman demanding they censors Muslim videos. But yeah, you can't use THEIR OWN PERSONAL SITE to spew various retarded stereotypes about Mexicans (Look out Mencia!), it's the end of the world. Free speech means the government can't interfere (Like in Australia) it doesn't mean Google has a legal obligation to carry your hate speech. Oh yeah, in the announcement where Google added this to their policy, they said "We don't expect you to treat everybody like nuns, the elderly, or brain surgeons." Amazingly, some catholic nutbars started posting about down with Google the great satan, for picking on nuns like that, saying Google's announcement itself was hatespeech! The nerve, implying nuns should be treated with respect, how dare they!

And what the fuck are you talking about, guilty? Google doesn't make laws, you're not guilty of any crime. They delete your video because they find it tasteless. Did you scream with such rage when Kramer got shitcanned for screaming racial slurs over and over and over and over? Clubs stopped hiring him so basically he was found guilty of hate speech and banned, just like youtube does! OH NO SLIPPERY SLOPE. You can say how you hate black people and gays all you want. You can't force Google to say it for you.

If you're referring to countries like Canada that actually DO have hate speech laws, it's a lot more rigidly defined than Google (Except Manitoba, but even their own courts throw all those cases out as unconstitutional, and make (unheeded) demands that the provincial government fix them). As in, to be hate speech, your speech has to be speech that will cause violence or hatred of the group you are targetting. And judges have interpreted that quite narrowly. As in, if you say "GOD HATES FAGS, BURN IN HELL HOMOS" that has time and again been affirmed as not hate-speech, as nobody hearing that would start hating gays if they didn't already, and nobody would read it and go beat up a gay person if they weren't going to already. It's also been held as allowed because the hate speech law has exemptions for anything that is true, or said in good faith. A preacher believes what he says, and so it's protected speech. If he actually calls for violence though, that's a different beast, and it doesn't matter if he believes beating gays to death is God's will or not.

As for the Australian law, the Australians have passed a law banning porn that features cartoons (because you can't tell how old a cartoon is so basically its all child porn), female ejaculation (because it's obscene) and women with small breasts (As underage teens also have smaller breasts, and so seeing women with less than a D cup may cause people to turn into pedophiles). There is currently no word on if they eventually plan to ban having actual consensual sex with adults with small breasts, or if you will be OK as long as you don't film it.

Re:What is hate speech? (2, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101760)

It's possibly worth noting that Google takes a pretty expansive view of a historical/educational exception to their "hate speech" restriction as well, in contrast to some countries. For example, there are plenty of Nazi propaganda videos up on YouTube.

Re:What is hate speech? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101296)

I agree, there's a large grey area on this subject, but a lot "hate speech" seems quite clear. Most people who do hate speech have an agenda and have VERY biased info or out right falsehoods about a person/persons.

Your "religious leader" example wasn't a good one, but I know what you were getting at. Hate speech is very contextually dependent, so it's hard to make a law that would be perfect.

Here's a snippit from wikipedia

"Hate speech is speech perceived to disparage a person or group of people based on their social or ethnic group[...]"
disparage: To speak of in a slighting or disrespectful way; belittle

Synonyms: ridicule, discredit, mock, demean, denounce, derogate.

Re:What is hate speech? (0, Troll)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101326)

It's a nonsense term dreamed up by the left to politically marginalize and in some cases criminalize political speech they are opposed to. In the US, anyway, it is closely related to "hate crimes" which are structured in a way such that the only victims are non-whites and the only perpetrators are white males.

It is the byproduct of Western leftist political thinking on the concept of racism that generally holds only whites (usually males) culpable for racism and discrimination, despite ample evidence for non-white racism domestically in the U.S. (eg, Hispanics and Blacks) and globally (Arabs v. Black Africans, ethnic Indians versus non-Indian races, ethnic Asians versus others).

Taking the concept of "hate speech" and/or "hate crimes" at face value, most fundamentalist religious leaders (of all religions) should fit, yet religion seems to escape scrutiny, as do quite a few shocking black-on-white and black-on-other-race crimes despite overwhelming evidence that victims were targeted because of their race.

Re:What is hate speech? (4, Informative)

orgelspieler (865795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102218)

In the US, anyway, it is closely related to "hate crimes" which are structured in a way such that the only victims are non-whites and the only perpetrators are white males.

You are downright wrong about this. Of the 9,691 recorded hate crime victims in the US in 2008, only about half were targeted for their race. Of the racial victims, 16.8% were singled out because they were white. source [fbi.gov]

Re:What is hate speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31101462)

If I am a religious leader and have a youtube video that states a conviction homosexuals are in danger of hell, am I guilty of hate speech?

Yes, but I don't think you should be prosecuted for it.

Re:What is hate speech? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102032)

I am not a member or supporter in anyway of the KKK, Nazis, etc., but why is certain speech categorized as "hate" and therefore not allowed to be even stated? Who decides what is hate?

If you want it in US lingo, think of it as class action libel/slander. There's usually some rather blatant accusations and dehumanizing insults involved, it's just not aimed directly at one person. Usually it's followed shortly by a call to take away rights that one in the US would call "unalienable", sending Europe back to where the US was before the civil rights movement. sometimes I think even before the Civil War. One set of rules for the white people, another set of rules for everyone else.

To really understand it, you must understand the difference between the country and the people. Americans tend to have a very strong allegiance to their country, but little to the people. Compared to say the German or French or English, I'm not even sure you can say there is an American people. In the US, the last step is your citizenship when you "really" become an American. In Europe you can become a citizen, but getting accepted as part of the people takes much longer and requires you to adopt their lifestyle and values and culture.

That division is much deeper in Europe, and nothing in the US really compares. The KKK had six million members and yet: "The number of lynchings escalated, and from 1918 to 1927, 416 African Americans were killed, mostly in the South." according to wikipedia. The Nazis killed more Jews per day than that during WWII, not counting all the other millions of people they were at war with in no small part because they deemed themselves a higher race destined to rule over the lesser races.

That ideology is dead, but people still think in terms of ethnics not citizenships. The only reason the US doesn't have hate speech laws is that it's never seen its own people truly go "us" against "them". Europe has, and has paid the cost in blood by the millions. So did 400,000 Americans. And those lines will lie latent in Europe long after Obama makes the US mushpot an even more well-mixed mushpot. In Europe there will be the "natives" and "foreigners" for centuries to come, even if they are natural born citizens.

Google deserves a little praise (5, Interesting)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100408)

I know many people on slashdot have mistrust for Google becuase the sheer amount of data they possess is a looming liability and their "don't be evil" mantra may not always pan out. One thing I wanted to point out is that Google at least makes an effort and a global effort at that. They are probably one of the few companies to have a Chief Culture Officer whose job is dedicated to issues of morality, culture, and ethics. I'm not saying anyone should "trust" Google, I'm just saying that the company deserves a little praise for its effort. An effort that most companies here in the US don't even attempt to make. Although in the long run Google may in fact be a liability, it doesn't change the fact that they represent a cultural step in the right direction for corporate ethics, especially given their size and power.

Re:Google deserves a little praise (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102428)

I know many people on slashdot have mistrust for Google becuase the sheer amount of data they possess is a looming liability and their "don't be evil" mantra may not always pan out. One thing I wanted to point out is that Google at least makes an effort and a global effort at that

Please stop drinking the coolaid and smoking fairy dust. Google does whatever is in Google's best interests. If that's playing on the "don't be evil" propaganda, they'll milk it. If not, they'll cite external pressures. To think otherwise is naive.

I <3 Google. (1)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100422)

Happy Valentines Day Google. Thank you for the gift. I <3 U TOO!

They should have answered: (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100526)

“Censorship is a crime, forbidden by your most fundamental laws. Ladies and gentleman, you are engaging in criminal behavior. Do you wish to continue, and go to jail for it?”

And then when they do continue, launch a huge campaign, causing the government to be overthrown.
I am sure Google can do that.

uhhh..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31100552)

Now, I'm a Google fan, but what? http://www.cannabisculture.com/v2/content/technical-difficulties-pot-tv-removed-youtube

Youtube has already closed politically charged channels. Growth of democracy? What? More like growth of exactly what you want.

Who Should Decide Policy? (1)

eegad (588763) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100722)

Setting aside for the moment what we personally (or nationally) think might be right and wrong for the whole world (such as democracy or freedom of speech), is it Google's place to decide policy in every nation? I see two real alternatives here:

1. Google decides to determine policy (other than its own) and provides exactly what content is allowable to each country as determined by each country.

2. Google decides to ignore each country's policy requests and each country must determine to what level they will censor Google internally.

And of course, by "Google", I really mean every content provider on the internet. I can see arguments for each alternative, but I think I lean towards #2 because it doesn't place an undo burden on providers or start subjecting them to international information restriction laws or any such nonsense.

Re:Who Should Decide Policy? (1)

jwinster (1620555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100824)

This is very easy question to answer. The people should decide their country's own policy. But in Australia, just as in America, the people elected by the people to make that policy don't always(ever?) have their people's best interests at heart, they have their own. Google's really just enforcing what is surely the popular opinion of the people. (citation needed)

Arbitrary application of policy (1)

KnownIssues (1612961) | more than 4 years ago | (#31100810)

So, this sentence works, "The scope of RC is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information." But this sentence doesn't, "The scope of DMCA is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information." Weird.

Re:Arbitrary application of policy (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101274)

So, this sentence works, "The scope of RC is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information." But this sentence doesn't, "The scope of DMCA is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information." Weird.

The appeal to force is not a valid rhetorical device, but it works quite well in the real world. That is, Google is in the US and standing against a US law is not practical for them.

Aussie Google office HAD to say no (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#31101336)

After the Chinese office of Google told the Chinese government to get stuffed, the Australian office had no choice but to follow along. There are some seriously ballsy people in the Chinese offices of Google. They have a substantial possibility of being hauled off in chains and locked up, and a non-zero chance of being shot to death. What's the worst the Australian government is going to do? Send a harshly worded letter? Demand a hearing before Parliament? If the Australian offices had caved in, they'd have had to turn in their giant Dundee knives and stop saying "G'day mate"......

interesting times (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31102554)

google is facing pressure in europe too to conform to national policies, lets see if they push back there too

basically, we are seeing the end of sovereignty, and the emergence of a global decision making body, that is not consensual and hamstrung like the UN

personally, i'm not one of those wackjobs that thinks one global government is bad, i actually view nationalism to be the real evil in this world. fuck sovereignty, its so much tribal posturing and it excuses crimes and war making. far better that the world someday be a federalist conglomerate, like the united states and its states

look out, paranoid schizophrenics, here comes the foundation of the world government that figures so prominently in your fear-addled feeble fantasy lives

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