Australian Web Censorship Continues Down The Slippery Slope

from the this-witty-remark-has-been-censored-for-your-safety dept

The Australian government has had a long and storied history of trying to block porn on the Internet. But, this Thursday, a bill was introduced in Australia that would take this censorship even further. The bill would allow the federal police to alter the blacklist of sites currently controlled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. With this, the federal police are empowered to blacklist any site that "encourages, incites or induces," "facilitate(s)" or "has, or is likely to have, the effect of facilitating" a crime. This brush is incredibly broad, and without proper checks and balances, it seems likely to be abused. Australian Police would be able to block any site they don't like, and claim that it is "likely" to facilitate crime. Australia's censorship trip down a very slippery slope takes a big second step here. First porn, now "criminal" sites. With this power, Australia is but a tiny step away from censoring valid free speech. Maybe Australia should just route all of its traffic through China's "Great Firewall" first -- that might be easier.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Mike, Sep 21st, 2007 @ 8:02pm

    Of course Australia is screwed...

    Because Howard is a huge twat, and he fancies his country to be a real "world player" when in reality it is not very relevant in world economics OR politics... he'll do anything as long as he gets in the news for it.... twat.

     

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  2.  
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    GoblinJuice, Sep 21st, 2007 @ 11:55pm

    Goodbye Google.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2007 @ 12:19am

    If this is such a great idea...

    they should apply it to all publications. Just make everyone get police approval for everything before publication. Yeah, that'd be great!

     

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  4.  
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    Paul`, Sep 22nd, 2007 @ 3:10am

    Re: Of course Australia is screwed...

    Almost like George Bush thinks he is really the president and not just some corporate puppet who they had to tamper with votes to keep in office, isn't it?

    Really though, idiots aside, I highly doubt this will get anywhere.

     

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  5.  
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    Pat, Sep 22nd, 2007 @ 6:43am

    Slippery Slope?

    ...but then again, anyone who thinks allowing porn/child porn to run rampant on the Internet has a screw loose, too. I think the slope was created and slide down when it was deemed wonderful to allow any creep on the planet to put any hideous, evil thing imaginable on the Net and call it 'freedom'...please!

     

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  6.  
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    Dan Confer, Sep 22nd, 2007 @ 6:59am

    They blocked Gore's website:

    Using the Internet in Panera's I tried to access Gore's website on global warming. The system had all Internet activity go through a censoring program which blocked Gore's site listing it as "cult activities". FYI

     

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  7.  
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    john, Sep 22nd, 2007 @ 7:32am

    Re: Slippery Slope?

    Youre a moron..you want someone else deciding what you should see?? There are laws in place to deal with child porn, who gets to decide what you should not see next??

     

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  8.  
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    Pat, Sep 22nd, 2007 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: Slippery Slope?

    What laws???? Every pervert in the world is allowed to not only view, but post child porn on the Net. You think this is a good thing? If it takes even one intelligent person to say enough...this is not freedom, this is not good, then yes, I do want someone to put a stop to it. The only people not in favor of that are the criminal type people who enjoy seeing that kind of thing - and continue to be allowed to - just because it's a 'freedom'. Yeah, right....So who's the moron? The ones who keep letting child preditors the oppotunity to ply their trade? Or the ones who want to call a halt to it? I guess I already know your answer...and which catagory you fit into.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 22nd, 2007 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Slippery Slope?

    I don't know about the rest of the world but in the US internet users aren't allowed to post (viewing may be another story) child porn on the net. By simply having child porn means that somewhere someone made that porn which means they had sex with a child which is very illegal. And if it were allowed then the people that post it wouldn't hide in underground groups and sites.

    I agree it's hard to stop child porn on the net but that does not mean its allowed.

    And the vast majority of people will agree that things like sex with children is something that is bad and needs to done away with what about grey areas? Who decides is a website about a coven of witches is okay? What about a pro-abortion site? A site that promotes tolerance towards gays, bi-sexuals, transgenders, and anybody I may have forgotten? If the group that makes the decisions is too conservative then all those sites would be taken down. Or if the deciding body it liberal then they may allow child porn sites to stay up.

     

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  10.  
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    Dave, Sep 22nd, 2007 @ 10:53am

    I feel sorry for Australia

    Their leadership is just as intelligent as Bush and his cronies on issues like this. You could even say that their leader is a Bush lackey.

    The usual cycle will take place; eventually, people will realize that duh, censorship isn't really intelligent or effective (apart from its real purpose - political pandering), and there will be a backlash. Or maybe not, and they'll go to sharia law next, along with their China-like firewall.

     

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  11.  
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    Raymond, Sep 22nd, 2007 @ 4:21pm

    Lots of crazy moves

    For anyone interested, there have been lots of crazy (read: moronic) moves by a Prime Minister who is very worried about losing the election. This will happen by the end of the year. (The election and hopefully the loss too). After the election, our laws should go back on a sensible path, with either party.

     

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  12.  
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    Victor Mess, Sep 22nd, 2007 @ 7:08pm

    That Slippery Slope

    I may not like what you say, but I will die for your right to say it. That is freedom.

    The Law says in most states: its is illegal for a person over the age of 18 to engage in sex with a person under 18.

    Now if Joe Pervert puts pictures of his perversion on the net it the the law's responsibility to track him down and put him in jail.

    You know I run my children, my children don't run me. If I tell them not to do something they don't do it. Or at least they don't let me find out about it. But I don't want to run the net by what is good for my children, your children or any other children. Seems like thats all you gotta say is "what about the children" and that is supposed to make the case. All the aspects of the internet are bought and paid for by grown folks. It's an adult medium and should be used by adults, not made safe for children. Lest we forget it was naked women and the like that made the internet popular. Porn sites make billions, I've never spent a dime, but let the guys and gals that want to spend their money, spend it on what they choose. I don't need the police (US or Aussie) to tell me what I can see and not see, on something that I pay for. That is why the bill come's to me and not to the police department.

    We have slide down the slope far enough, everywhere you go someone is trying to tell grown folks what to do. Where is the freedom.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2007 @ 1:01am

    Re: That Slippery Slope

    Testify!

    The day crazy regulations like this start running amok on the internet here in the States is the day that either internet access becomes free or the day I stop using it.

     

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  14.  
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    Kacela, Sep 23rd, 2007 @ 6:18am

    Slippery slope

    If you don't want the same to happen in the US, make sure you vote for a Presidential candidate who consistently votes AGAINST regulating the Internet, like Ron Paul. I'm now a Democrat for Ron Paul.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2007 @ 7:52am

    Re: Slippery Slope?

    Pat you are a retarded moron. Just go away and take you podium with you. Nobody cares about your narrow views.

     

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  16.  
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    Beholder, Sep 23rd, 2007 @ 10:08am

    Australia wants to censor internet porn ?

    That must be a protectionnist move, as Australia is the home of very successful girl/girl porn sites...

     

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  17.  
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    Overcast, Sep 23rd, 2007 @ 3:05pm

    The only people not in favor of that are the criminal type people who enjoy seeing that kind of thing - and continue to be allowed to - just because it's a 'freedom'. Yeah, right....So who's the moron? The ones who keep letting child preditors the oppotunity to ply their trade? Or the ones who want to call a halt to it? I guess I already know your answer...and which catagory you fit into.

    At some points in history, being Jewish or Black was close to illegal.

    Give government an inch and they'll take 25,000 miles.

    Child Porn's illegal now and they can take it down and arrest the person who put it up. They can't enforce or take care of all that's out there now - what good will another law do?

     

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  18.  
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    PhysicsGuy, Sep 23rd, 2007 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Slippery Slope?

    wtf does porn have to do with child porn? porn = good. child porn = very very bad.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2007 @ 3:45pm

    Aside from the hysteria and the irrelevant argument about child porn, the reason the government is trying to introduce this type of law now is because there will be an election in a month or two and it looks like the government is heading for a big loss so they are desperate to be seen to be doing something "good" to keep their ultra conservative supporters on side and what better way to appeal to the ultra conservative than by banning the "evil porn". This has nothing to do with logic or common sense and everything to do with a deperate government trying to stay in power.

    We have a Prime Minister who, apart from being a Bush lackey, is woefully out of touch, in fact it is my contention that the guy got stuck in 1950 and never moved on.

    Politicians are the same the world over!

     

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  20.  
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    Jazz (profile), Sep 23rd, 2007 @ 4:16pm

    Being an Australian, I'm both pissed off by this while at the same time, not really that worried. I'm pissed off for obvious reasons but the broadness of the bill will not cause the cops to abuse it. They learned a long time ago that the magistrates really don't tolerate that sort of stuff here. So if the wrongfully accused take it to court (and you know they will) most magistrates will bend the cops over and sodomize them for the trouble.

    On a side note, Pat, yes, you ARE a moron. How about we block your righteous Christian(we know you're a churchie) do good Jesus loving websites as "Cult Activities" like poor old Mr Gore?

     

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  21.  
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    Gripemaster, Sep 23rd, 2007 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Slippery Slope?

    A somewhat vaild point - but.. and it is a BIG BUT. Should we all sing to the same tune as WHO? Who makes the moral decisions and who decides WHAT is right or wrong? Putting the argument of child porn, ANY porn for that matter asside, supressing ANY kind of view is a very dangerous ground to walk. Freedom no matter how you dislike it is important because when you silience one voice because you don't like it, who gives you the right to speak!

    The slippery slope runs both ways!

     

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  22.  
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    Rob from Oz, Sep 23rd, 2007 @ 9:04pm

    ...Facilitating Crime...

    What the porn/anti-porn arguments above are missing here is that the bill does not appear to be restricted to porn. Read the article: 'the federal police are empowered to blacklist any site that "encourages, incites or induces," "facilitate(s)" or "has, or is likely to have, the effect of facilitating" a crime.' This IS a broad brush, and I for one would much prefer the police to NOT have this power, whether or not they use or abuse it. The courts are there to decide if a crime occurs: not the police. Where is the right of appeal for the web site? How do you know what you are missing if your can't see it. I know which way my vote is going, and it isn't for the Howard government. (Although I'm sure they would like to make any views other than their own a crime. Techdirt would be banned.)

    Be afraid.

    Rob.

     

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  23.  
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    BTR1701, Sep 24th, 2007 @ 8:15am

    Re: That Slippery Slope

    > The Law says in most states: its is illegal
    > for a person over the age of 18 to engage in
    > sex with a person under 18.

    Actually, the law in *most* states doesn't say that. Some states put the age of consent at 18 but it's not a majority. It varies quite a bit and is as low as 14 in some areas. Additionally, even in the states that do set 18 as the general age of consent, many of them carve out exceptions for high school romance type relationships. For example, in Texas the age is 17, except when the older person is within two years of age of the younger person. That means an 18-year-old guy who has sex with his 16-year-old girlfriend can't be prosecuted.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2007 @ 2:29pm

    Most amusing... well yeah, ain't US Govt some kind of cult,... ahm did I miss something,.. here on Mars

    Using the Internet in Panera's I tried to access Gore's website on global warming. The system had all Internet activity go through a censoring program which blocked Gore's site listing it as "cult activities". FYI

     

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  25.  
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    technofear (profile), Sep 24th, 2007 @ 9:00pm

    Just another election stunt

    This is just Howard's government trying to hang on to power by appealing to his power base, the Aussie family (who do not understand WHY this will not work).

    The 'Aussie battlers' no longer seem to believe his promises on the economy, security or his vision of the future.

    Howard is trying to counter this by attempting to take the moral high ground before the more popular leader of the opposition can.

    His 'porn filter' can be bypassed by a teenager in 30 mins, what makes you think this will be any better?

    I doubt it will ever actually happen, similar to real high speed broadband through Telstra.

     

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  26.  
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    Mike, Sep 25th, 2007 @ 6:42am

    No slippery slope

    This is not a slippery slope, it's a plunge straight down...

     

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