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Draconian Censorship Push In South Australia

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the bowlderization- dept.

Censorship 354

Diabolus writes: "Australian IT are reporting that the South Australian Government are about to pass a bill which mandates censorship of the Internet. Discussion of any "adult themed" content online now about to be outlawed - effectively anything worthy of an 18+ rating. Not only do Web pages fall under its scope, but also newsgroups and publicly archived mailing lists. Offshore content is also subject to this legislation if controlled by a South Australian. As a resident of SA, my freedom of speech is about to disappear ..."

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Re:The Aussies.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#418521)

Well Australia doesn't have the same 'freedom of speech' focus that the American constitution does. We also have much stricter laws on guns than the US does also, which IMHO is a very good thing.

Is this all-out ban on Adult content a bad thing? Possibly, but it -is- consistent with pornography laws throughout the country that prevents strong pornographic material being distributed in most states (barring the country's capital, go figure).

Australia needs a federal review of it's pornography laws that legalise distribution of pornographic material so that it can be better regulated, and the internet laws need to be consistent with other laws on pornography.

Some level of control is sensible, inconsistent or overly-strict laws are self-defeating.

Re:Good grief! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#418522)

I could see how Breast Exam sites might promote criminal behavior, someone might be tempted to commit random exams at a womens swimsuit photo shoot.

A suggestion - two way anonymous web access (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#418523)

Just an idea - why not implement a system like that's being used for peer-to-perr file transfer for web data? Take something like freenet, then run your http traffic through it, encrypted. Then, not only is the traffic encrypted, but the location isn't known to the sender or reciever of the information, making it almost impossible to track or censor the information. It's kind of sad that we need to do that, but maybe these kind of draconian actions will force us hackers to come up with something that will protect our freedom in spite of (unjust) laws.

Combine this with a drive that's got a hard crypto filesystem, and you're sitting pretty. Just get 'em before they have content locks in the firmware! :).

As an Australian... (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#418528)

You don't actually have a constitutional right to free speech. The best that can be argued is that you have an implied right under common law.

This implied right to freedom of speech already is limited under various state and federal laws - for example, libel and slander are illegal. In states such as NSW there are anti-vilification laws under which you can be punished if you publish material that could be deemed to incite hatred or violence.

I know that some of the American libertarian types out there may not like this - but I look at it this way, when speech is as 'free' as it is in the US, it basically becomes meaningless. At least in Australia, because we don't traditionally talk about having a 'right' to 'free speech' as such, it seems that we value using our speech wisely and responsibly _as well as_ valuing the freedom that we do have to speak our minds.

This is not to say that our governments don't occasionally pass some stupid laws... Hmm... don't you guys have an election this year? If so, make mandatory internet filtering an election issue. Think of it this way, a goodly chunk of the Bible would be filtered/banned! I am sure that those forces that are pushing for such filtering aren't aware that the GoodBook(tm) would also become invisible to kiddies..

Yeah and you mugs voted to stay subjects! (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 13 years ago | (#418536)

Are you insane?

As a British subject I don't really have a choice (Until Scotland declares independance and becomes a republic) but you Auzzies *voted* to remain subjects!

Of all the gard darn things.. (4)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 13 years ago | (#418555)

Nobody wanted to see pornography or paedophilia online, but the proposed bill was unworkable, Adelaide internet consultant and educator Brenda Aynsley said.

Speak for yourself! Wheres the pr0n?

An alternative.. (3)

kimba (12893) | more than 13 years ago | (#418564)

Come move to Western Australia.. our draconian net censorship laws came into effect years ago. Back then they hadn't thought of half the things that they have decided to ban in SA!

One way to get around it would be: (1)

dr_labrat (15478) | more than 13 years ago | (#418573)

To set up a co-lo bonx somewhere reasonable, and use a VPN to connect to it.

On the co-lo box you can then use IP forwarding and masquerading to view any sites you want.

The upside is that it is encrypted, when it passes through the aussie censors :-)

The only downside is that it can run to about £100 a month in hosting charges + initial cost of the machine, having said that though, you should be able to split the cost with some mates.

If enough people are interested, I might set up one of these for my poor Aussie relations.

Re:Big deal (3)

Skapare (16644) | more than 13 years ago | (#418579)

Still, there remain stupid poiticians in the government there (as well as just about everywhere else in the world, which is not unexpected, since usually one has to be stupid to be a politician). You could try working on expunging the stupid ones, if it is the case that their numbers are low enough to make this practical.

Big deal (5)

shirro (17185) | more than 13 years ago | (#418581)

Don't stress folks. I live in SA and I can tell you now that there are no storm troopers out the window.

SA was amongst the first places in the world to give women a vote, gave rights to aborigines before most other states etc. Marijuana is decriminalized and all that. Good food and wine, lots of motor sports, great climate - could be worse.

The government here is mostly powerless and these sorts of laws are unenforcable. Anarchy is just around the corner anyway.

So chill out. People should be more concerned about concentration of media ownership and draconian defamation laws in Australia. Internet censorship has technical solutions.

Re:Professionals ARE Leaving South Australia... (1)

gstovall (22014) | more than 13 years ago | (#418591)

Uhhh...what's your point? Private organizations SHOULD be able to put whatever requirements they want to on employees. I would expect that all employees of a Christian school to be practicing Christians. OTOH, institutions supported by public funds are the ones that have to be careful about non-discrimination laws.

Re:The Aussies.. (1)

RandomFactor (22447) | more than 13 years ago | (#418592)

The primary intention is to preserve the (free) state against foreign threats;

Partially, but it is an outgrowth of the severe (and, in retrospect well warranted) fear of government and its perpetual drive to infringe on the rights of individuals that was held by the founders.

Once it is gone, tattoo a number on your forehead because at that point we become just so many STATE ASSETS.

Re:The Aussies.. (1)

Betcour (50623) | more than 13 years ago | (#418619)

Yep, but to all people across the world whose speech rights are being taken away (that does also includes the US, don't forget DeCSS !) there's a solution :

The definitive end of all censorship and copyrights !

Re:Who decides what is obscene? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 13 years ago | (#418624)

Nonsense. Any goverment can censor the Internet.
The level of EFFECTIVENESS will vary though.

What a great tool to use against your citizens when you want to keep them in line. Just threaten them with "Cirumventing web filter laws and viewing illegal content."

And I'm surprised it's Australia that's pushing this sort of thing.


Power Grab (1)

Zaxo (60646) | more than 13 years ago | (#418627)

It's just another means of breaking up the printing presses.

Governments' ideal is a crime that you cannot avoid commiting. That gives unlimited control of the activity by selective prosecution. ISP's will all be owned by a few who can purchase immunity and can be relied on to not annoy the government or any of it's friends.


Re:Now hiring.. (1)

Wire Tap (61370) | more than 13 years ago | (#418629)

You never know about the constitutional test - after all, they are passing the law itself. That says enough about their "constitution."

First your guns, now your thoughts.... (1)

RTMFD (69819) | more than 13 years ago | (#418633)

It's tough to keep your government from taking away your inalienable rights when you can't threaten them with deadly force :)

Thanks for reminding me that it's time to renew that NRA membership of mine...

Re:Who decides what is obscene? (3)

ghmh (73679) | more than 13 years ago | (#418641)

....but when are govts. going to realise they cannot censor the Internet...

I don't think there's any easy way to avoid this sort of happening ever, its where democracy fails at its grandest. Even in Australia politicians are... well, politicians. You vote for the one you think is going to do the least damage and all you can do after that is hope.

(ie. One of the annoying potential side effects of voting for people who you agree with on A, B, C, D and E doesn't mean they're going to agree with your opinion on point F, and in fact may do exactly the opposite. (Not that I know anything about SA's state politics)).

IMHO, There should be some sort of common sense check before these inane laws are passed. Like:

  • Who's going to enforce this legislation?
  • Can they do it? If not, is it easy to bring them up to speed?
  • Is it easy enough / clear cut enough to enforce?
  • Is it cost justified? (Or will attempting to enforce it cost the taxpayers heaps?)

This proposed change (and many others) obviously fail to meet the above criteria (at least according to me), and this is before we even get to the censorship issue!

Considering (common sense != politics) so the only (not particularly good) option is to move to a different state more in alignment with your views, which in turn concentrates people of the same type (eg. Very pro gun vs pro religion states in the US, for all I know they might both be the case in some states).

Vaguely related fact: The capital of South Australia (Adelaide) is known as the 'city of churches' as it has more per capita than any of the other Australian states / territories. (Fortunately in my case I'm from Sydney).

More ironic fact: The most 'liberal' state / territory in Australia in terms of censorship etc. is actually the one the capital (Canberra, not Sydney) is in. - The ACT (or Australian Capital Territory). This is the state that you can order your pr0n from, and has the least restraining drug penalties, least censorship etc. etc. Of course, this is where the majority of the politicians work and hang out a lot of the time. Coincidence? I think not....

The Aussies.. (1)

FirstEdition (79762) | more than 13 years ago | (#418648)

The Aussie government as a whole has a bad record on privacy concerns.

Yes (2)

FirstEdition (79762) | more than 13 years ago | (#418649)

This is true, but it has to be viewed in the context of the times. The 50's was a time in which people were less cynical of government than today, and hence were more willing to believe that civil servants were to be trusted unquestioningly.

For their part, the government agencies genuinely believed that aboriginal babies were better off taken from their village surroundings and put with white families. This was based on the facts that education, healthcare and opportunities were better elsewhere.

Of course, I am not condoning this practice in any way, just presenting their justification for it, until it was abandoned in the late 60's.

Re:Big deal (1)

Swordfish (86310) | more than 13 years ago | (#418651)

I also live in South Australia.

South Australia is not called the ``Cinderella State'' for nothing. No one ever invites us to anything because we're so embarrassing. And this little piece of hysterical legislation caps off the other stupid legislation provided by the current State government. The guy who put this legislation together is shortly to retire, after a long litany of repressive legislation. He's from another generation that doesn't understand VCRs.

We can't have another election for 6 months or so. Our only hope now is for a bolt of lightning to hit our State Parliament House.

The legislation is serious. The SA police are the most anti-fun, anti-pleasure police in all of Australia. SA residents should take this very seriously indeed!!

Re:Cavemen & Dumb Laws (2)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 13 years ago | (#418654)

Woo, so kiddie porn is only considered certificate X over there? I thought almost everywhere else it was outright banned!

(P.S. Don't rush to correct, I know it's not true, but just poor wording)

No, Replace "internet" with "thoughts" (5)

JoeShmoe (90109) | more than 13 years ago | (#418658)

Anything that people could possibly have thought of is going to be expressed on a website somewhere. Therefore, a better way to picture the Internet is the sum of all human thought.

So basically this topic is:

"Australian IT are reporting that the South Australian Government are about to pass a bill which mandates censorship of thoughts."

And hasn't that been the secret goal of every governement since time began?

- JoeShmoe

Re:A suggestion - two way anonymous web access (1)

erlenic (95003) | more than 13 years ago | (#418662)

I remember something like this being developed by AT&T Reasearch Labs (I think). It was called crowds. You run a server on your computer, and all web traffic gets diverted to another crowds server on the internet. Then that server decides whether to forward it to another crowds server, or get the web page and forward it back to you. It was a great idea, but it seems to have disappeared. Anyone know where it can be found?

Re:Good grief! (1)

kiwaiti (95197) | more than 13 years ago | (#418663)

Good grief... what some politicians will do to "protect the young".

Nothing. To get publicity? Everything.


Replace "internet" with "efficient communications" (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 13 years ago | (#418665)

In an effort to educate ignorant authoritarians (lawmakers) we should try and get them to undersand that all the internet is an efficient method of communicating.

All us geeks and nerds should band together and collectively abolish the word "Internet" from out vocabulary and instead replace it with the words "efficient communication" (or something like that).

e.g. this topic would become
Australian IT are reporting that the South Australian Government are about to pass a bill which mandates censorship of efficient communicatons methods.

We are all slaves (1)

bug1 (96678) | more than 13 years ago | (#418666)

Just because we voted to stay with our current slavemaster rather than choose a new stranger to control our lives doesnt mean we dont want our freedom.

Or are we not slaves as we can elect who our slavemaster is ?

So do you think if scotland declared independence that that new government would treat you any better ?

Re:Yeah and you mugs voted to stay subjects! (1)

cynthetik (97316) | more than 13 years ago | (#418667)

Only because the alternative was to become a subject of someone the politicians chose.
The wouldn't even consider changes to the actual constitution, only the preamble (not a legally binding document.)
What we need is a good revolution, might work for Scotland too.

Re:Yeah and you mugs voted to stay subjects! (1)

cynthetik (97316) | more than 13 years ago | (#418668)

That wasn't the problem - it was the retaining of the current constitution. It was set up by John Howard to fail. We are only marginally more of a democracy than the US. As long as we have an effective two party stranglehold on politics in this nation is cannot be representative. What really needs to happen is a banning of political parties in the senate so it becomes what it was originally envisaged to be, that is a house of review. Then we wouldn't need even a ceremonial president.
but then I'm an idiot for not voting for what a group of politicians with views almost diametrically opposed to me, wanted.

Bigger picture (3)

cynthetik (97316) | more than 13 years ago | (#418671)

This is basically a reaction by a Goverment scared of big swings to the opposition in other state elections and the emerging strength of a nationalistic bunch of rednecks called One Nation. For the conservative branch of Australian politics, the ironically named Liberal party, this is an effort to appear pro-family. It's an easy target and with no freedoms built into our constitution (Australians are crown subjects, not citizens) there is little recourse such as an American citizen would have access to.
The only good thing I can think of is that it is highly unlikely that the authorities will prosecute except in politically expedient cases.

Re:Why not just... (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 13 years ago | (#418672)

If I'm not mistaken it was the PEOPLE who wanted the gun laws. The goverment was heavily lobbied to enact these sorts of laws. The people there relized that they didn't need machine guns, and handgrenades to be safe.
=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\=\= \=\=\=\

This is Nothing More... (1)

Cheshire Cat (105171) | more than 13 years ago | (#418674)

This smells like the machincations of Yahoo Serious, trying to revive his career.

Re:Who decides what is obscene? (1)

Pyrometer (106089) | more than 13 years ago | (#418675)

I wouldn't send us your condolences just yet ... how the f*#@ are they even going to implement to make it a problem for the end user? ;) ... although i have to question now why i moved from melbourne to here [SA] when they don't even have 'cable' here ... and ADSL isn't exactly available to the masses here either ~sigh~

Re:The Aussies.. (2)

matthew_gream (113862) | more than 13 years ago | (#418685)

We had our gun rights restricted because a lot of us wanted it to be that way. Unlike the United States, we see little need to "bear arms" as individuals - and the history of our country is one of reasonable peace and stability.

Re:Good grief! (3)

boldra (121319) | more than 13 years ago | (#418690)

Sit down and have a hard think about it.

I migrated from Australia to Switzerland last year because of these laws. I had already moved my website to LA ( on dreamhost [] ) but the real reason wasn't my personal web site.

The harder the various Australian Governments push these absurd laws the futher behind the Australian IT industry is going to be. And when IT gets behind, the rest of the economy will follow.

Added bonus: salaries in Zurich are about 5x Sydney.

Re:The Aussies.. (1)

pallex (126468) | more than 13 years ago | (#418693)

Well, i guess its not like they are going to put off people from going there to work/invest is it? Island in the middle of nowhere and all that.

Professionals ARE Leaving South Australia... (1)

ivi (126837) | more than 13 years ago | (#418695)

As a matter of coincidence, I got an e-mail from the couple (who had hosted a "Thanksgiving in Adelaide" each year for almost 10 years) confirming that they have sold their home and will soon take up residence in - you guessed it! - Perth, WA.

Youth suicide rates are high here (just listen to the police for a few days) - in fairness, also in other Australian states & territories.

(BTW, here's how the Adelaide High School contributes to the suicide rate in the State:

The -FIRST- example on a "STYLE TIPS!" sheet, handed to students in a composition class is:

"Always use the strongest words you can without distoring what actually happended. e.g.:

'A schoolgirl committed suicide at Onkaparinga Bridge yesterday after being teased by her classmates over an untrue rumour.'


'A teenage girl lept to her death from Onkaparinga Bridge yesterday after being victimised by her peers over a false rumour!'"

BTW, the Bridge is a well-known, local one.

I guess the logic is: one has to pay the price of a private education by way of insuring against this kind of "programming" - to the extent that one can... i.e. with so many other examples to choose from...)

(As I write this, the ABC's rural-based radio program - "Hay Wire" - presents the voice of a young girl telling the story of her brother's suicide... by a self-directed shotgun blast... why, you'd think it's a part of life around here... maybe it is!)

It's forbidden by SA law for large supermarkets to operate after 7 pm most days of the week

(i.e. the State gov't dictate when people will be permitted to "shop late" for food, etc.)

But - of course - non-supermarket venues - e.g. those with Poker Machines, etc. can stay open very late.

Culturally, there has been a significant decrease in local cultural events (i.e. organised by community groups), since the instroduction of Poker Machines in venues around the State, a few years back.

A "mug mentality" thrives in SA!

SA's Technology Centre has now become a -residential- development area, rather than a hotbed for technology development.

Most bothersome is the noticable -unresponsiveness- of State (not to mention federal) government here on many issues.

Shopping centres in or near Adelaide have empty shops (one I visited just today had 4 -recently- emptied in an area very near its large, well-equipped Coles supermarket).

Religious schools continue to publish -openly- that the successful candidate for publicly advertised non-teaching positions (for example, IT Technician) "must be committed members of a Christian church".

There is no real penalty for this kind of blatant discrimination here!

While schools close and public hospitals are overloaded with patients, often waiting in the corrodors for treatment...

... the unelected, figure-head "governor" (a carry-over from the British colonial period) has a State-funded mansion at the centre of Adelaide, and is deemed to warrant a police-escort when/where-ever he travels...

The Adelaide Club -still- AFAIK will not accept women as members. Discrimination is rife!

The bottom line is... after erring (in past, mostly...) by supporting the taking of indigenous children from their parents, SA's Religious Right is now (apparently) erring in the -other- direction...

Oh, you're not religious? Don't call us! And we won't call you...

Go figure... ;-)

Re:What do you expect.. (1)

Digitalia (127982) | more than 13 years ago | (#418697)

There is not a nation around that is a democracy. Not a single one. Furthermore, this isn't a matter of right or left, but Authoritarian or Libertarian.

This is how it starts.. (3)

keshet (135766) | more than 13 years ago | (#418702)

...and this is how it ends [] .

Re:Who decides what is obscene? (1)

sxpert (139117) | more than 13 years ago | (#418704)

I remember testing some of this crap, and it would block some chicken slaying company's web site... sure enough, they produce Chicken Breast...

Re:Bigger picture (1)

sxpert (139117) | more than 13 years ago | (#418705)

wtf? Mother Nature (who the F is god, show me...) made sex playful and enjoyable for one purpose, so that you make kids and it's a game (and as a side purpose, allows to make the humans proliferate...)
These christian people need to go see a psychologist, they are sick.

Re:Bigger picture (1)

sxpert (139117) | more than 13 years ago | (#418706)

This is the same kind of idiocy and obscurantism that wierdo muslims in black africa use to justify the surgical removal of little girl's clits on religious belief that woman should not enjoy sex because all they are is kids producing factory...

slashdot: the movie (1)

Racer X (140445) | more than 13 years ago | (#418709)

if you read the article (gasp!) it points out that aussie federal law "treats all internet content as film." wtf? umm, so maybe that's where the aussie gov't is a couple screws short. you don't "watch" the internet, there's no plot, it doesn't end, its free (well, sort of). you don't post messages to a movie for other watchers to respond to. the only thing that the internet is really like is the internet. its a new category of thing. more policy makers need to realize that.

Re:Who decides what is obscene? (1)

Racer X (140445) | more than 13 years ago | (#418710)

just to give the literal answer to this question in australia's case here: police officers decide what's obscene.

What do you expect.. (1)

DrWiggy (143807) | more than 13 years ago | (#418711)

.. when you live in one of the most right-wing countries in the world (politically)? I don't know why, but even though Aussies are generally quite laid back, their political views are so right wing in my experience that I almost want to vomit.

Admittedly, not everybody in Oz is like that, but the fact that there are sufficient people in the country to support a party that is like that says something about the politcal sense of it's citzens.

Oh yeah, and in case you hadn't noticed, you live in a Democracy. In fact, it's the law that you have to vote. If you don't like it, lobby Parliament and vote them out next time. The chances of this being enforceable are pretty slim however.

They'll get tossed out anyway. (1)

sandgroper (145126) | more than 13 years ago | (#418713)

Just ask Richard Court.

What laws?? (1)

biftek (145375) | more than 13 years ago | (#418714)

I'm also in Western Australia, but I don't recall ever even hearing about net censorship laws here... Got any pointers where I could find out about them?

Adopt This If You Dare! (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 13 years ago | (#418716)

"... whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."
We have been very fortunate in America. The time is coming when all men and women, American or not, will have to re-assert this basic RIGHT.

Re:Yeah and you mugs voted to stay subjects! (1)

rtscts (156396) | more than 13 years ago | (#418718)

people like you are what fucked it all up

the politicians were going to select our President. Unfortunatly, simpletons such as yourself think we use the American system of government. We DONT. The Australian President would NOT be running the country, the PRIME MINISTER still would.

blah (1)

cryptonix (163498) | more than 13 years ago | (#418727)

this online censorship thing got out of hand a long time ago, governments need to stop catering to these special interest groups and start really thinking about the decisions they're making, granted certain things are inappropriate and probably shouldnt be viewed by certain people, ie porn and young children, but is that grounds to deny the rest of the population the right? when and where do we draw the line? the internet is its best when everything is at your disposal, take away the easy access to information and you're left with an ass load of banner advertisements and webpages trying to make a quick buck. i dunno, ive probably trailed on enough, its 4:10am, this is the best post i could come up with at the moment. goodnight.

Re:The Aussies.. (1)

Rentar (168939) | more than 13 years ago | (#418734)

What you have to remember, is that the right to bear arms is not something as widespread as the right of free speech. AFAIK the US of A are a very special case, 'cause they included the right to bear arm in their consitution (or whatever they call it, don't ask me). In many other countries there is no such thing as a right to bear arms in general, you either have to proof that you need it, or at the very least that you are sane and able to handle a gun. AFAIK (again) the right to bear arms is so basic in the US of A, because the citizens have the Obligation to prevent the Government from turning into a Dictatorship (and doing this using guns, if needed). This Philosophy is not very wide-spread (in fact I don't know of any other country, which has exactly this reasoning, but I didn't do any research, alas I may be wrong).

Re:Why not just... (1)

duvel (173522) | more than 13 years ago | (#418738)

Physically removing their heads would actually suffice. I wish I had a sig.

Re:A suggestion - two way anonymous web access (1)

duvel (173522) | more than 13 years ago | (#418739)

For the encryption of files on the disk, a very good resource is RubberHose. []

Re:Servers Moving (1)

ghostrider_one (182445) | more than 13 years ago | (#418752)

Ahhh.. If only.

Moving content offshore has proved to be a simple work-around to the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Act which empowers the Australian Broadcasting Authority to order content hosts to remove material rated "R" or worse. This legislation only applies to content hosted within Australia.

Unfortunatly, the proposed legislation in South Australia will apply to all residents of South Australia, whether the content is hosted in Australia or in outer Mongolia.

Not only that, but the police can start a prosecution before the content in question has even been officially classified by the Office of Film and Literature classification. So if your friendly neighberhood pleeceman decides your website isn't fit for children, they can charge you, and have you in court for this, before they even bother to get the content classified.

Some choice quotes come to mind, such as "Help! Help! I'm being repressed!" and "Don't fool yourself, we're living in a dictatorship!"

Is this the shape of things to come (2)

Hairy Goat (184134) | more than 13 years ago | (#418753)

All over the world, stories like this are creeping out. Here in the UK, although not censorship, the RIP bill certainly impinges on your privacy. In Southern Australia, it appear to be actual censorship.... Why oh why is this happening. Is it the current generation in power at the moment. They grew up before the computer revolution and are now faced with a BIG unknown as regards the internet etc etc... or is it something else... time to get thinking...what can you do to help avoid this sort of thing, who can you annoy, who is your govenmental representative... I think this is not the last of this sort of thing we will hear about

Re:Big deal (1)

cthugha (185672) | more than 13 years ago | (#418754)

We can't have another election for 6 months or so. Our only hope now is for a bolt of lightning to hit our State Parliament House.

The thing I love about our system of government is that the Governor (Governor-General for the Commonwealth) can dissolve parliament for the purposes of an election at any time (this is one of the so-called reserve powers). No fixed terms!

I'm looking forward to the day when we get an elected head of state, so the s/he has the legitimacy to exercise this power more often.

Re:What do you expect.. (2)

cthugha (185672) | more than 13 years ago | (#418758)

.. when you live in one of the most right-wing countries in the world (politically)? I don't know why, but even though Aussies are generally quite laid back, their political views are so right wing in my experience that I almost want to vomit.

Where'd you get that idea? Our politicians don't make overt displays of religious ferver. We have public health care, publicly funded university loans, national welfare institutions, etc, in short, a lot of things Americans have sacrificed to a combination of neo-liberal and right-wing ideology. The fact that by historical accident we don't have a bill of rights (we're working on that, though), and that we believe that voting is a civic responsibility doesn't make us Nazis.

Oh yeah, and in case you hadn't noticed, you live in a Democracy. In fact, it's the law that you have to vote. If you don't like it, lobby Parliament and vote them out next time.
We're generally not in the habit of making our voting choices on a single issue. We tend to consider a party's/candidate's entire policy platform when it comes to filling in a ballot. Anyway, the Liberal government in SA is in serious trouble already; this is probably just an appeal to the deeply conservative part of its base in the face of their desertion to the nationalistic One Nation (an extremist party who's biggest claim to fame is its quite obviously racist policies, but is riding the current wave of sentiment against economic rationalism and globalization).

Oh yeah, and most opinion polls indicate that most Australians have a big problem with censorship generally. We do have a beef with racial villification, incitement to violence, etc.

isn't this this country that... (1)

margulies (192201) | more than 13 years ago | (#418763)

up until the 1960's was removing aboriginal babies from their parents and placing them in "white" homes "for their own good"?

Re:As an Australian... (1)

crazney (194622) | more than 13 years ago | (#418764)

a goodly chunk of the Bible would be filtered/banned!...

also as an australian.. i know most of us couldnt care less about the bible...

"Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk ?"

Is it Me???? (1)

MeNeXT (200840) | more than 13 years ago | (#418766)

or does it seem the love and peace baby boomer generation which fought for freedom of speech and such, turning into the generation they hated.

It's not just in Aussie it seems to be everywhere, in the US, Canada, UK, etc...

It seems to me that this generation is trying to tell all others that they only know what's good for us. Now that they are in a position of power they wish to control everything. i.e.

Napster: I find Ma Bell was as instrumental as Napster in helping people violate copyright laws.

DeCSS: Same point as above. Why should I not be able to make private copies of DVD's I can do it with VHS. I mean I bought a copy of the vedeo why not ensure that I will be able to watch it in the future.

VW.NEt What does it have to do with cars? For everyone with the initials of VW I'd be very worried. In this one I can see the point that the online mag tried to mimic the print Mag Referee, but the word referee should never have been allowed as a trade mark within the sporting comunity. SH_T I should trade mark player or team and demand royalties from every one who uses these two words.

These are just a few points wihich I have seen here on /., I can go on forever on stupid issues like these....

A farce (1)

myatt (209809) | more than 13 years ago | (#418774)

Seriously, the AU government has no idea how to implement censorship. If this will be anything like their last attempt at censorship, it will be a farce.

Re: the all your base song (1)

davidmb (213267) | more than 13 years ago | (#418782)

Wow, what a wonderful series of comments. I wonder how long it'll be before they disappear mysteriously.

Due to the rather strict censorship laws currently in force on Slashdot.

Re:Bigger picture (1)

sparrowjk (214769) | more than 13 years ago | (#418785)

They're not anti-sex except insofar as Christianity is anti-sex. Sex is for procreation only, not fun. Religion is at the root of many of the bizarre views of sexuality in society today. Even those who are not overtly religious have been influenced subconsciously by these anachronisms.

On the other hand I can't help feeling a bit embarrassed when I'm watching TV with my parents and a sex scene comes on. I think it is this embarrassment, more than any sort of moral righteousness, which allows people to believe that censorship is a good idea. Just a theory.

Re:Adopt This If You Dare! (1)

sparrowjk (214769) | more than 13 years ago | (#418786)

Ideally, democratic government avoids the necessity of revolution by delivering the power of governing directly to the people. Except where that government is corrupt, voting should be a sufficient method of revolt. This ignores of course the vast legions of voters who don't know or care why they should vote one way or another -- indeed, freedom of speech is meant to guarantee that the populace will be well informed. Censorship helps to insure that dissent is muffled -- part of why freedom of speech is so important.

Re:The Aussies.. (1)

sparrowjk (214769) | more than 13 years ago | (#418788)

I'm no constitutional expert or anything but just a brief clarification of the right to bear arms... The Second Amendment to the US Constitution specifies:

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

The primary intention is to preserve the (free) state against foreign threats; the constitution itself is meant to serve as a guarantee that the state remains free (ie does not become a dictatorship.) Additionally, the right to bear arms has been limited over time (through legislation and the judicial process)... gun licenses, assault weapons bans, and so on.

Re:Who decides what is obscene? (2)

sparrowjk (214769) | more than 13 years ago | (#418790)

As far as a common sense check for legislation goes... In the US, Congress can go ahead and pass any censorship law they want (and have done so in at least one instance.) It is up to the Supreme Court to nullify it if it is unconstitutional -- politicians may realize full well that a bill will not pass constitutional muster, but they vote for it anyway to score political points with their constituents. In a system in which legislators will vote for a bill which is clearly unconstitutional, a "common sense" check is superfluous...

On the other hand, bills which are not intended primarily as political gestures undergo common sense checks as a matter of course... Or perhaps I just have too much faith in the political process. In any case I'm just glad we have the First Amendment...

Why not just... (1)

Miragejp (214942) | more than 13 years ago | (#418791)

Get a bunch of people into a posse, march on the governmental offices, with guns drawn - oh wait - they took away THAT right years ago... How about: ...with axes and knives drawn, and physically remove the politicians who will sign this new law?

Good grief! (2)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 13 years ago | (#418804)

And to think one of my long term goals was to move to Australia....

And the thing of it is, it's still very subjective. One cop might find something objectionable that, say his partner might not. And what are the guidelines? Oh sure, XXX-rated pr0n is obviously "unsuitable" for minors, but what about web pages on breast cancer (which is always brought up during comments on web filters), or web pages on gun safety? Would those "incite criminal activity" and thus by outlawed?

Good grief... what some politicians will do to "protect the young".


Servers Moving (1)

FreeMath (230584) | more than 13 years ago | (#418807)

Why do I suddenly see a buch of Aussie servers moving out of the country?

Cavemen & Dumb Laws (3)

Codeala (235477) | more than 13 years ago | (#418810)

The federal law treats all internet content as film, and requires material to be rated by the Office of Film and Literature Classification accordingly.

Sometime you have to wonder... do they actually know what the Internet is? Can someone tell me if South Australia is actually some kind of giant cave? There isn't enough censors on earth to go rate all the "interenet content" out there. Would it kill them to call it the Office of Internet, Film and Literature Classification since the Internet is such a menace.

Objectionable material includes items classifiable as X or RC, such as child pornography, and sites instructing in or inciting criminal activity," he said.

Child porn? Okay, I don't remember this kind of stuff NOT being mentioned everytime someone want to censor something. How about a site that teaches people to double park? And some other dumb laws [] !


All hail the government ... but what can they DO? (1)

SirFlakey (237855) | more than 13 years ago | (#418811)

I think the government's legislative is writing cheques the executive can't cash. (excuse the paraphrasing) If this law is passed in SA, and SA being ONE state in Oz, who is actually going to going to be sacred about this? From what I can see hosting in another state should protect your data from being "illegal" as it were.

Unless the other state follow suit (which I believe is actually the "worrysome" part of this bill) the actual impact of this has to be pretty insignificant. Oz should effectively be choked already by the censorship laws - except I have not heard of more then a few sites that have been queried. Then again Australia is genally more open minded then a good part of the rest of the world.

Re:Is this the shape of things to come (1)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#418819)

I thinks its going to be the norm. Everyone will be subversive criminals with something to be held over their head, everyone will become a criminal because EVERYTHING will be against the law. We can fight it, but unless we actually fight it (read: protest) we are fucked. This is going to happen more and more, and the punishments will get harder and harder.

Fight censors!

Re:Bigger picture (1)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#418820)

Pornography is a matter of artistic creativity.

Fight censors!

Re:Good grief! (2)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#418823)

They can always just outlaw everything that has to do with anything that might confuse the filters... And at this rate I am sure its next.

Fight censors!

Re:Adopt This If You Dare! (2)

ConsumedByTV (243497) | more than 13 years ago | (#418824)

And when you try, will you be killed for treason?

Fight censors!

Now hiring.. (5)

perdida (251676) | more than 13 years ago | (#418827)

young, committed men and women with a dream of leading the future of internet technology!

Skills: Strong stomach, being able to "recognize pornography when one sees it," penchant for censorship.

Seriously, aussies, if your friend says he or she is taking the Censor job, cut them off and then h4x0r them.

and no, this cannot be done with nanny-ware, we have seen in many other stories how this software is so inaccurate that it would not withstand any substantial constitutional test in any country.

Re:Bigger picture (1)

Rande (255599) | more than 13 years ago | (#418829)

wtf? Mother Nature (who the F is god, show me...) made sex playful and enjoyable for one purpose, so that you make kids and it's a game (and as a side purpose, allows to make the humans proliferate...)

These christian people need to go see a psychologist, they are sick.

Never read Songs of Solomon huh? Admittedly you need a guide to understand the symbolism.

It was only later (around the time that they decided to make celibacy mandatory for priests) that some philosophers decided that sex for fun was bad.

There are good reasons to not fsck around, but there's nothing wrong with enjoying sex.

Re:Yeah and you mugs voted to stay subjects! (1)

Ashleigh (260287) | more than 13 years ago | (#418832)

Ok, so the Prime Minister would still be running the country. I think most of us managed to understand that part.

The fact remains that we are not a republic, regardless of why people didn't vote for it. If i could have I would have, but obviously the majority of people either did not want to become a republic, or didn't want the proposed model for a president. Surely out of that number a lot of people would have understood the whole proposal and didn't like it.
They can't all be simpletons.

IMHO, the referendum was a weighted question. They just should have just asked if we wanted to become a republic or not, and the model would come later, not given one case, like it or lump it.

Like it or not, this is a democracy. if we dont like it, sure we CAN protest, it just probably wont change anything. HOWEVER: if One Nation gets voted into power I'M LEAVING!

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.

Re:The Aussies.. (1)

Squozen (301710) | more than 13 years ago | (#418836)

Actually, hundreds of thousands of Australians lobbied for tighter gun control. You see, guns aren't actually necessary for most people.... Oops, I've started a holy war.


Welcome to the club .... (2)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 13 years ago | (#418840)

Other distiguihsed mebers are Singapore, China, Sauid Arabia and a score of other countries where the goverment knows waht is better for you.


Is it possible to (1)

DeDaDiDo (303627) | more than 13 years ago | (#418842)

selective block out a geographical region? I don't mean in the traditional sense where the region in question is filtering incoming data. I mean is it possible to "blackout" a region from the rest of the world? I'm don't have the education but surely there must be a way to let governments know that "the people" can "limit" their power. So South Australia would get zero content from outside South Australia. If there was enough cooperation and someone could do somehting about AOL... ok maybe I'm dreaming.

Re:Is it possible to (1)

DeDaDiDo (303627) | more than 13 years ago | (#418843)

Thanks, That's what I thought. So if enlightened ISP's were to cooperate they could effectively "boycott" an entire region by ignoring requests from specific ip addresses.

As day follows night (1)

abumarie (306669) | more than 13 years ago | (#418846)

The freedom of speech is outlawed after the government seizes firearms from its citizens. It is an attitude. The citizens are not responsible adults and must be herded like sheep following the bellweather. Yeah, I know that someone will mark this one as flamebait, but please, please, study history. It happened in Germany in 1936, it will happen again and again so long as people chant the mantra of the insane: "This time is different...".

Who decides what is obscene? (5)

Spunk Junkie (310106) | more than 13 years ago | (#418850)

This is moronic. I know I'm preaching to the choir here on the slash, but when are govts. going to realise they cannot censor the Internet. I mean the only sensible way is to have someone examine every single packet. This reminds me of... Damn... Can't remember the name now, but it was one of these stupid filtering products and it was filtering out information on breasts because it was considered obscene. Only thing was it was censoring sites relating to breast cancer. There was also another case of software blocking access to the holocaust museum because it mentions the Nazi's. WTF?

Australia always seemed to me like a sane country.

There is no sensible way to implement this, but since when did sensible enter into what a government does...

My condolences to all those effected by this stupidity:(

Re:What do you expect.. (1)

subzeroblue (310975) | more than 13 years ago | (#418851)

Uhm, you live in the US?! OK. I fell for the bate!

When do we out law sex (1)

sh2kwave (310977) | more than 13 years ago | (#418852)

so now that the goverment is going to be controlling all external forms of intrest controlled in privacy when do all the magazines get sesored when do all the guns get taken away when do they start breading soldiers, when does sex stop and free though end, and when were talking about that when does my pizza get here, or did it get supeanad by the supreme court for sleeping with bill cliton

Re:Is it possible to (1)

whanau (315267) | more than 13 years ago | (#418857)

Technically yes. Several companies have devised ways of determining the location of consumers to city sized locations basically through a traceroute, and by looking at the ip address. (i.e when a company buys a block, they generally operate in a local area, so these two methods combined are generally effective)

Re:Is it possible to (1)

whanau (315267) | more than 13 years ago | (#418858)

yeah. There is one other point if forgot. I believe that ip6 addresses will have some location specific number tagged on the end, but im not sure about this

Re:Bigger picture (2)

dswan69 (317119) | more than 13 years ago | (#418860)

It always amuses me that the 'pro-family' types are really anti-sex (regardless of any moronic platitudes to the contrary) - I'm curious, how did they make their families?

Will this censorship include blocking dangerous religious material, like the bible? People worry about movies and books that they claim (without any proof of course) incite general and sexual violence, yet we know very well that this one book has been and continues to be directly responsible for discrimination, violence and oppression throughout the world.

They always feel they have to... (1)

Emley Moor (317347) | more than 13 years ago | (#418861)

... intrude, obstruct and deny, all supposedly for the good of the general public, or whatever. It doesn't matter whether it's housing, social security or the Internet, there's always some big bad authority trying to throw their weight around.

I personally think that they can't succeed when it comes to the Internet. It's not like anyone can take overall control of the whole thing. Short of closing it down for general public use, which would surely not happen, regulation cannot succeed.

Re:Who decides what is obscene? (1)

Aluminum Tuesday (317409) | more than 13 years ago | (#418862)

Australia always seemed to me like a sane country.

Obviously you've never been subjected to their television soap operas.

Re:Is this the shape of things to come (2)

Aluminum Tuesday (317409) | more than 13 years ago | (#418863)

Apathy is "their" greatest weapon here. Outside of Slashdot readers and people naturally disposed to be concerned about their privacy, how many people do you think are going to care? It's very easy to argue that what could be censored is "harmful" - pornograhy; offensive langugage; whatever else. And a lot of people (particularly those who don't use the internet) are going to buy that argument, despite how it would very quickly lead to an internet non-representative of our culture and society.

And what happens when the government controls culture?

govt. vs worried morons (1)

gumleef (317605) | more than 13 years ago | (#418864)

i live in SA, i believe the govt. cannot do a bloody thing about censoring stuff. i also believe that the govt. know this - they may be out of touch with reality at times, but they aren't completely stupid. the govt have done this to get on the good side of some of the more _conservative_ voters out there.

A different SA (1)

bryer (317964) | more than 13 years ago | (#418865)

Saudi Arabia has unbeilivable censorship laws. My uncle worked there for a while and brought back a readers digest, any pics with womens arms or legs or anything else that would not be cover in the country show, had them all blacked out, and articles they did not agree with scatched out or torn out compeletly.

Re:Adopt This If You Dare! (1)

shd99004 (317968) | more than 13 years ago | (#418866)

"... whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

This is one thing I like about your country. But sometimes I wonder, how do you know when it is time for the people to alter or abolish the government, and most of all... how?

All over the world... (3)

shd99004 (317968) | more than 13 years ago | (#418868)

...are governments doing their best to control media. This time it is the Internet. Here in Sweden we actually have a law commonly known as PUL, and among other things, it forbids us to publish any information about any person without his/her consent, on a webpage. This has some nice side effects, such as it is now impossible for people to publish their opinions on politics and politicians online, for example. Although, I doubt it is a side effect. I think they all know what they are doing. Eventually, every country in the European Union will have to have such a law.

But, we get the society we deserve.
Just too bad that *everyone* gets something that *others* deserve, too.

Re:The Aussies.. (1)

mollymillions2 (317975) | more than 13 years ago | (#418869)

...and they lost most of their gun rights too a couple years ago...Amazing how those tend to come one right after the other.

oh no! the internet! (5)

stev-nx (317984) | more than 13 years ago | (#418871)

I live in South Australia, and hadn't heard about any of this legislation until I read the Australian today. However, I find the whole thing pretty amusing. I'm sixteen. I can walk (or drive) to any newsagent or petrol (gas!) station, and buy as many R rated magazines as I want, without being asked for proof of age. I can do the same at any 'Adult Book Store' (tm), but this time with X rated material.

I can buy magazines full of guns and knives and other 'offensive weapons'. I can buy newsletters produced by far-left political groups. I can buy pro-abortion and pro-euthenasia newsletters. All offensive to some people.

I can publish these items on paper if I wish. But heaven forbid if i publish or view them on the internet!

Sound crazy? It is, and this is just one of the many crazy legislations and laws my Government has made - enough to convince me to leave South Australia.

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