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Australian censors now targetting newsgroups

By enterfornone in News
Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 08:21:16 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

Whirlpool reports that the Australian Broadcasting Authority has issued a take down notice to a major Australian ISP requiring them to remove newsgroups that contain content now illegal under the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill


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comments (24)
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This strikes me as pointless on a number of counts. Forcing Australian providers to drop newsgroups will only encourage users who want this sort of content to go to overseas Usenet providers. This does nothing to stop the "problem" of illegal content.

Secondly, while there are obviously newsgroups that are specifically for content such as child porn, what is to stop people posting this material to other newsgroups (such as those devoted to adult porn or young actors).

In addition, while most people agree that such things as child porn should be illegal, wouldn't it be better to go after the originators of this material. Simply forcing people not to look at it strikes me as turning a blind eye to the real problem of child abuse in the production of porn.

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Australian censors now targetting newsgroups | 14 comments (3 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
ABA and Newsgroups (4.00 / 2) (#11)
by Pseudonym on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 01:17:32 AM EST

FYI, the ABA's complaint form has always (i.e. since 1 July last year when the law came into effect) let you complain about news postings. I complained about a few (just to see what would happen), and the result was that they refused to order cancels on international newsgroups. What appears to have happened is that the ABA has refused this earlier decision.

The ruling does not mean that newsgroups will be banned, despite what enterfornone's article says. What has happened, though, is serious enough. Major ISPS will probably be asked to issue and honour cancels on particular articles. Anyone who knows anything about Usenet cancels knows full well that the cancel mechanism is unreliable at best. Some sites have a policy of refusing all cancels, and geographic-limited articles (including cmsg cancels) are notoriously bad at propogating correctly.

I feel very sorry for the ABA. They've been asked to perform an exceedingly stupid task and are doing the best they can with their limited resources. Australians, please don't take it out on them. The blame here lies entirely with the government who ignored all technical experts, including the CSIRO's own submission, with the exception of those "experts" from companies who produce filtering software, who were the only ones who were convinced that effective censorship was possible. Also, I put substantial blame at those parliamentarians, including the the Minister for Communications, Richard Alston, who seemed to revel in their lack of technological expertise during the debates on the bill. I understand unwitting ignorance and I understand humble acknowledgement that others are more expert than oneself, but it is inexcusable to say "I know nothing about this, I'm proud that I know nothing about this, but I strongly believe it anyway".

This brave new world of online content regulation is getting worse and worse.


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Good! (2.00 / 1) (#13)
by mnbvc on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 06:35:09 PM EST

Am I the only one here who likes the idea of censorship?

There *is* a possibility, that some pages do impact adversely on people's behaviour, although I would not claim either way untill someone has done a study on it.

And, of course, those of us who use the internet for usefull things such as reading comics, will have more bandwidth :)

Many people on various "news" websites seem to think that we are censored here in Australia. The *only* place I hear of it, is on the radio, and on web "news" sites.

The ISP's, from my perspective, seem to have forgotten to tell us about them, let alone enforce them.

And yes, I do realize that many attempts at censorship are technically impossible.

Bad! (Had to be said...) (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by MrMikey on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 02:11:43 PM EST

Am I the only one here who likes the idea of censorship?
Hopefully.

All the usual questions: What shall we censor? Who decides? Who gets the power? Who regulates them? Suppose said power decided that your beloved comics were a "waste of time" or "a danger to our tender Youth" or some similar bullshit. Would you be so cheery about censorship then? No, I didn't think so.

Many people on various "news" websites seem to think that we are censored here in Australia. The *only* place I hear of it, is on the radio, and on web "news" sites.
"It's not on the front page of the newspaper, so I guess it doesn't happen." Do you actually think before you type things like this? Lay of the Foster's, mate. I think you've had a few too many.

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Australian censors now targetting newsgroups | 14 comments (3 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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