Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Australia Thinks The Internet Causes Suicides?

from the not-helping-the-real-issue... dept

Hearing about people, often young, committing suicide is never a pleasant subject -- but dealing with those who are feeling suicidal means dealing with the real issues they face. Instead, it looks like Australia is taking the simple way out. They're making it illegal to have a website with suicide information on it. Realistically, that's only whitewashing the problem by pretending that if they get rid of the information, it will make the problem go away. It's like blaming the internet for suicides, rather than realizing that it's the individuals who are troubled and who need help. As some have noted, in forcing that information offline, it can make people feel more isolated and alone, and not realize that they need help, potentially leading to more suicides. Whether or not that's what really happens, it does seem clear that simply banning websites isn't addressing the real problem at all in trying to get help for people who are severely depressed. It's basically a way of avoiding the discussion completely.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    dorpus, Jun 24th, 2005 @ 9:50am

    Suicide Nation

    A few days ago, Horiemon (a flamboyant Japanese media entrepreneur with fame comparable to Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos) put up a picture on his blog of himself cutting his own wrist. He wrote a weird page-long poem about growing up hating the world and cutting his wrist hundreds of times. The entry was removed from the front page a few hours later, but the page was still accessible for a day afterwards.

    But yeah, if other nations ban topical matter, then it's booming business for small countries like Tuvalu or Nauru. Most Japanese hard-core porn is hosted on servers in those countries.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Pete Austin, Jun 24th, 2005 @ 10:38am

    Will Sports Results be illegal?

    "Proposed subsection 474.29A(1) will make it an offence for a person to use a carriage service to access, transmit to themself, transmit generally, make available, or publish or otherwise distribute material that ... incites suicide"
    Parliament of Australia

    "Something is seriously out of joint in the Australian cricket team, which endured perhaps its darkest day in the Welsh capital of Cardiff on Saturday. Losses to England in a Twenty20 match and Somerset in a county game were one thing, but the five-wicket loss to Bangladesh, nominally the world's worst one-day cricket team, invited a different scale of embarrassment altogether."
    The Age (Australia)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    knight37, Jun 24th, 2005 @ 2:02pm

    Suicide Sites

    I'm not getting what's wrong with making it illegal for people to post web sites ENCOURAGING suicide. This law isn't about blocking sites that are suicide prevention sites, it's a law to get rid of sites that say "go ahead, just end it, here's how."

    Of couse, since you can't really ban anything effectively on the internet, it's pretty much a useless law. These twisted freaks of hell that put up such sites will just move them somewhere outside of Australia's jurisdiction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Simon, Jun 24th, 2005 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Suicide Sites

    My thoughts too.

    Isn't there also an argument that publicity about suicides tends to incite copycats, which is why media coverage of suicide tends to be very minimal?

    (I'm not sure how accurate the publicity-suicide link is, does anyone know?).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2005 @ 5:49pm


    Millions of pages of banal rubbish don't make you feel depressed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Cheapskate, Jun 24th, 2005 @ 6:08pm


    i just got done reading the comments over at now i want to kill myself, j/k :^P

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2005 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Suicide Nation

    Now dorpus, when the topic is ABOUT suicide, horrible deaths, etc. (like now), it's okay to post related japanese news to techdirt, as it's actually relevant to the topic. We (the other techdirt readers) mostly get pissed at you because you lack the common sense to know when it's a good time to post that crap. C'mon you’re an educated man, and should have more sense than that. Dorpus, please stop acting like a total douche by posting off-topic, and start posting relevant replies to techdirt. Thank you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    TuvaDude, Jun 27th, 2005 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Suicide Nation

    The Japanese porn is not hosted "in" Tuvalu or Nauru, those countries certainly don't have the bandwidth. They sell there domains worldwide so the websites could be anywhere, most like at home in Japan.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Debbie, Nov 3rd, 2005 @ 8:54am

    suicide sites

    The fact that Australia has put an outright ban on websites at least shows they are acknowledging a growing problem. The regulation of cyberspace means that many territorial laws in fact have very little effect through access to websites on different servers worldwide. A positive step by the australian governement may encourage countries worldwide to invest more time in monitoring chat rooms etc and finally acknowledge a global agreement regarding regulation and enforcement is the only feasible way to solve another problem presented by the lawlessness of cyberspace.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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