Jump to content

Australia introduces web filters


Camy

Recommended Posts

Australia intends to introduce filters which will ban access to websites containing criminal content.The banned sites will be selected by an independent classification body guided by complaints from the public, said Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

A seven month trial in conjunction with internet service providers found the technology behind the filter to be 100% effective.

However, there has been opposition from some internet users.

The beginning of the end? It sounds like governmental fingers in the freedom of choice pie, to me.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8413377.stm

Link to comment

Sad to say, not the beginning of the end. That beginning occurred quite some time ago.

Early on the American motion picture industry was saddled with a similar oversight body, with the authority to censor film productions prior to release according to a strict Production Code. Perhaps some of its strictures may be of interest (Wiki source).

'The Production Code enumerated three "General Principles" as follows:

1. No picture shall be produced that will lower the moral standards of those who see it. Hence the sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin.

2. Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented.

3. Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation.

Specific restrictions were spelled out as "ParticularApplications" of these principles:

Nakedness and suggestive dances were prohibited.

The ridicule of religion was forbidden, and ministers of religion were not to be represented as comic characters or villains.

The depiction of illegal drug use was forbidden, as well as the use of liquor, "when not required by the plot or for proper characterization".

Methods of crime (e.g. safe-cracking, arson, smuggling) were not to be explicitly presented.

References to alleged sex perversion (such as homosexuality) and venereal disease were forbidden, as were depictions of childbirth.

The language section banned various words and phrases that were considered to be offensive.

Murder scenes had to be filmed in a way that would discourage imitations in real life, and brutal killings could not be shown in detail. "Revenge in modern times" was not to be justified.

The sanctity of marriage and the home had to be upheld. "Pictures shall not imply that low forms of sex relationship are the accepted or common thing". Adultery and illicit sex, although recognized as sometimes necessary to the plot, could not be explicit or justified and were not supposed to be presented as an attractive option.

Portrayals of miscegenation were forbidden.

"Scenes of Passion" were not to be introduced when not essential to the plot. "Excessive and lustful kissing" was to be avoided, along with any other treatment that might "stimulate the lower and baser element".

The flag of the United States was to be treated respectfully, and the people and history of other nations were to be presented "fairly".

The treatment of "Vulgarity", defined as "low, disgusting, unpleasant, though not necessarily evil, subjects" must be "subject to the dictates of good taste". Capital punishment, "third-degree methods", cruelty to children, animals, prostitution and surgical operations were to be handled with similar sensitivity.'

Proving, I suppose, that the right to "improve" our fellow man trumps all other rights.

James

Link to comment

The filter testing has been going for some time. Why they would claim it has been successful is unknown.

Why we need it is equally unknown, but several people have commented that the Australian government is envious of the Chinese having a Net filter.

For this irate orangutan, it is not difficult to work out that the right-wing religious forces who at present are dominant in our so-called 'left wing' government, see their opportunity to restrict freedoms of their fellow Australians.

As far as I am concerned, I believe this to be the work of right wing religious bigots, or worse still, left wing politically correct gorillas who should have become extinct along with their Neanderthal cousins.

I well remember growing up under the influence of the Hays Code (1930-1967) and its restrictions on motion pictures. The above Code was imposed on the everyday life of Australians, but particularly here in South Australia, where, alcohol sales were prohibited after 6pm, gambling was banned except for horse racing, but only at the track. An effective but unofficial curfew was in force after 11pm. Night Clubs were non-existent. Gay meant happy, and homosexual acts were a gross indecency punishable by up to 2 years hard labour.

This filter will return us to a dark age of limited knowledge and mindless indoctrination. Already we see the dumbing down of our universities and the manipulation of the uneducated into believing that if you do no wrong you have nothing to fear.

Well I'll tell you what we have to fear; the state becoming a theocracy, complete with all the bells and whistles of an Inquisition.

We are in danger of losing everything we have fought for for the past two thousand years in becoming enlightened. intelligent human beings, no matter how miserable we may be at realising that. There is no excuse, absolutely none, for us to turn our backs on what we have achieved in order for us to become slaves to the beliefs of how the bigots think we should live our lives.

Did I mention I am not in favour of the Net filter?

Of course this is just my opinion, and I have held back on expressing my true feelings in an unacceptable manner. :icon11:

Link to comment

I posted this information (link) in another forum, and got several responses condemning the Australian action. One response was particularly interesting:

I'm going to look into whether we could have Amnesty International or even the United Nations declare web-filtering a human rights violation.

How much more can you violate human rights than preventing people from communicating?

Link to comment
Early on the American motion picture industry was saddled with a similar oversight body, with the authority to censor film productions prior to release according to a strict Production Code. Perhaps some of its strictures may be of interest (Wiki source).

The 1934 Hayes Code (aka the Motion Picture Production Code ) has nothing to do with what Camy is talking about. For one, the Hayes code eventually got relaxed to the point where nearly anything could be released in film, provided an appropriate rating was assigned. And even prior to the code, the major studios already had morals clauses in place, so there were certain things that couldn't be shown on film.

Censorship has existed in hundreds of forms for much longer than that. And China has been censoring web sites and internet traffic for much longer than Australia.

The problem is that I think countries fear total freedom on the net, because of the possibility of illegal (or borderline) activity. The issue there is, who decides what's legal and what isn't? If they're watching every site you go to, every download you make, and reading every email you send and receive, it's total Big Brother. This goes far beyond mere censorship.

Link to comment
The 1934 Hayes Code (aka the Motion Picture Production Code ) has nothing to do with what Camy is talking about. For one, the Hayes code eventually got relaxed to the point where nearly anything could be released in film, provided an appropriate rating was assigned. And even prior to the code, the major studios already had morals clauses in place, so there were certain things that couldn't be shown on film.

Censorship has existed in hundreds of forms for much longer than that. And China has been censoring web sites and internet traffic for much longer than Australia.

The problem is that I think countries fear total freedom on the net, because of the possibility of illegal (or borderline) activity. The issue there is, who decides what's legal and what isn't? If they're watching every site you go to, every download you make, and reading every email you send and receive, it's total Big Brother. This goes far beyond mere censorship.

I agree there is a difference between censorship and social slavery, however the Hays code did indeed influence the moral laws of many countries, including Australia.

I think the danger is not so much from big brother, but that the filter enables the possibility of restoring control over access to information. In Australia that control is fast becoming the draconian measures of religious pressure on the government. It is a form of (bloodless) Guardian coup d??tat which would yield a theocratic control over the government, by virtue of the religion knowing what is best to protect the people.

This is religious based morality, not political as in China, or socio-political as in the Big Brother scenario.

I don't doubt that the situation could become a socio-political environment with the theocracy running the military and the government, as can be seen in both past and present regimes in other countries. The Australian version would be particularly obnoxious as it would not be obvious, because no would believe it was actually happening until the Inquisition demanded your faith to be tested.

This is really not a joke, it's not implausible, it is in fact how these regimes can gain power, and history has recorded the misery which accompanies such regimes. Fortunately I think we have a way to go before we see a religious icon over the Sydney Opera House.

This doesn't stop me from being concerned, nay, angry with the idea of limiting information access on the net to what someone thinks is acceptable for adults to see or read or discuss with other people. We already have laws which prohibit possession of certain kinds of porn, of insurrection, and now thanks to the UN, a call to reinstate blasphemy laws.

I thought we were supposed to leave the world better than when we found it. Maybe next time, if the climate permits a next time, but that is another issue...I hope.

Link to comment
The issue there is, who decides what's legal and what isn't? If they're watching every site you go to, every download you make, and reading every email you send and receive, it's total Big Brother. This goes far beyond mere censorship.

I doubt the problem is someone watching what we're doing. It's a bit more insidious than that. What they do is investigate you for something, anything, then get a warrant to search your computer, and if they find something there that has been deemed illegal, then you're in the soup.

They use the law as leverage to control your actions, not so much to watch everything you do. You have to control yourself, deny yourself things you want to do, or else they might someday come and get you.

C

Link to comment
I doubt the problem is someone watching what we're doing. It's a bit more insidious than that. What they do is investigate you for something, anything, then get a warrant to search your computer, and if they find something there that has been deemed illegal, then you're in the soup.

They use the law as leverage to control your actions, not so much to watch everything you do. You have to control yourself, deny yourself things you want to do, or else they might someday come and get you.

C

Yep, that's the threat of an inquisition, to me.

Link to comment

Thanks brit18uk.

I have bookmarked the site, but I do think the cost is a financial stretch for me at 10Euros per month.

The Government media release on the filter is here for those who wish to read it. I post it purely for reference.

There is considerable discussion and reports about the Australian filter at Whirlpool on the Australian filter.

The Aussie Greens Party seems set to at least attempt amendments to the legislation, but I expect both of our major parties to join forces in introducing the filters.

According to the articles at Whirlpool, there does seem to be some problems with the filter which may not be as unerring as they want people to think. (the Enex Testlab report can be read here.) However the filter is clearly at odds with the UN Declaration of Human Rights in regard to freedom and dissemination of information. See Articles 10, 12, 18, 19 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

There is obviously opposition to the filter, and it appears there is at least one method to get around it.

My ISP has no official stance on the proposed filter other than to say they will comply with the law. (I didn't expect them to say otherwise. :wav:

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...