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Tightening The Net
June 22, 2011 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Telstra and Optus, two of Australia's biggest ISPs, will start censoring the Internet next month. The two companies will block more than 500 websites.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn (99 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Guess I'll have to get my child pornography the old-fashioned way from now on: high school yearbooks.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:37 PM on June 22, 2011 [28 favorites]


Telstra and Optus, two of Australia's biggest ISPs, will start censoring the Internet blocking access to websites that are illegal to visit in the first place next month.

FTFY
posted by -->NMN.80.418 at 8:54 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Welp. Internode is about to get a bunch of new customers.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:59 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Telstra and Optus, two of Australia's biggest ISPs, will start censoring the Internet blocking access to websites that are illegal to visit in the first place next month.

Actually, google censor. While doing so is not as of yet determined to be illegal.
posted by Mike Mongo at 8:59 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


First, they came for the pedophiles,
and I didn't speak out because I am not a pedophile...

I'm normally pretty keen on policing slippery slopes, but I can't really bring myself to be upset by this one.
posted by gatorae at 8:59 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, it's not like the government is yoinking the DNS records of sites it doesn't it's corporate sponsors don't like.
posted by Pinback at 9:02 PM on June 22, 2011


Is this something I need to be American to understand?
posted by robcorr at 9:03 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


[reads article]

Actually that seems like a good example of corporate social responsibility.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:05 PM on June 22, 2011


I'm normally pretty keen on policing slippery slopes, but I can't really bring myself to be upset by this one.

You should be. Most of the content on the ACMA blacklist is perfectly legal, according to the leaked version published by Wikileaks in March 2009.

From the link: "But about half of the sites on the list are not related to child porn and include a slew of online poker sites, YouTube links, regular gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia entries, euthanasia sites, websites of fringe religions such as satanic sites, fetish sites, Christian sites, the website of a tour operator and even a Queensland dentist."
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:06 PM on June 22, 2011 [31 favorites]


Oh god I used to sign that rubbish dentist up for all those gay porn sites, this is terrible!
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:10 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


From the article: The ACMA will compile and manage a list of URLs of child abuse content that will include the appropriate subsection of the ACMA blacklist as well as child abuse URLs that are provided by reputable international organisations (to be blocked).

The ISPs aren't blocking the entire list; that plan failed. They're only blocking the child abuse sites.
posted by -->NMN.80.418 at 9:10 PM on June 22, 2011


'The Government dropped its funding for the scheme last month due to "limited interest" from the industry, but a spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said a basic voluntary filter was still on track to be introduced by Telstra, Optus and two small ISPs.'

Does anyone know who these other two ISPs are? I can't see any mention of them in the article, and any googling for it brings me endless articles on the Wholesale Internet Filter brouhaha.
posted by pseudonymph at 9:15 PM on June 22, 2011



Is this something I need to be American to understand?


What happens in Vegas, robcorr. Let's just start fresh in this thread, OK?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:16 PM on June 22, 2011


Prohibited online content:
Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, the following categories of online content are prohibited:

- Any online content that is classified RC* or X 18+* by the Classification Board (formerly the Office of Film and Literature Classification). This includes real depictions of actual sexual activity, child pornography, depictions of bestiality, material containing excessive violence or sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use, and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

- Content which is classified R 18+* and not subject to a restricted access system that prevents access by children. This includes depictions of simulated sexual activity, material containing strong, realistic violence and other material dealing with intense adult themes.

- Content which is classified MA 15+*, provided by a mobile premium service or a service that provides audio or video content upon payment of a fee and that is not subject to a restricted access system. This includes material containing strong depictions of nudity, implied sexual activity, drug use or violence, very frequent or very strong coarse language, and other material that is strong in impact.
There is also an online content complaint form.
posted by vidur at 9:18 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, that's like half of Netflix.
posted by kafziel at 9:20 PM on June 22, 2011


And here's an interesting coincidence.

"To support the Optus and NBN Co Agreement, the Government has provided NBN Co with a funding agreement to enable it to enter into substantial commitments with Optus and Telstra. The Government has also provided a guarantee to Optus in respect of NBN Co’s financial commitment to it."

If I were a cynical person, I would suggest that Optus and Telstra jumping on board with the filtering plan, long after the policy was abandoned and defunded, may have something to do with lucrative contracts relating to the NBN.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:22 PM on June 22, 2011


Wow, that's like half of Netflix.

Which, sadly, we don't get in Australia.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:22 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


My comment wasn't really intended to call back to any previous threads, although I can understand how it came across that way and I apologise.

I was just highlighting the difference between the American, absolutist approach to freedom of speech, and the Australian, pragmatic approach. This story seems to fit squarely into the latter category, whereas Conroy's filter plan goes much further.
posted by robcorr at 9:23 PM on June 22, 2011


Netflix. Which, sadly, we don't get in Australia.

ZOMG CENSORSHIP
posted by robcorr at 9:24 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Which, sadly, we don't get in Australia.

As Backwardsvania has deemed streaming Mad Men an act worthy of criminal prosecution, can you blame them?
posted by kafziel at 9:24 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actually, anyone got backup sources for this from anywhere other than News Ltd? Because at the moment it seems like they're the only ones reporting this - nothing on the Telstra, Optus, ABC, Fairfax, or EFA websites.

Wouldn't surprise me at all if it's purely a leftover "post this story this 10 days before July 1" entry in some hack's diary.

Meanwhile, in other Oz news, "Gay Flatmate Murdered With Platypus Statue" is a headline you won't see anywhere else…
posted by Pinback at 9:26 PM on June 22, 2011


As Backwardsvania has deemed streaming Mad Men an act worthy of criminal prosecution, can you blame them?

Yes. Although I would be fine with penalties for distributing anything with a Snookie or Kardashian in it.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:26 PM on June 22, 2011


The ISPs aren't blocking the entire list; that plan failed. They're only blocking the child abuse sites.

A claim that can't be verified, because the blacklist is still secret. The original plan using the blacklist wasn't suppose to block legal material, but it would have. Why would you trust the assertion now?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:30 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Actually, anyone got backup sources for this from anywhere other than News Ltd?

Not really. Google news gives a bit of an echo chamber.
posted by pompomtom at 9:32 PM on June 22, 2011


The blacklist isn't exactly secret - at least a few versions of it have been wikileaked.
posted by modernserf at 9:32 PM on June 22, 2011


- Any online content that is classified RC* or X 18+* by the Classification Board (formerly the Office of Film and Literature Classification). This includes real depictions of actual sexual activity, child pornography, depictions of bestiality, material containing excessive violence or sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use, and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

- Content which is classified R 18+* and not subject to a restricted access system that prevents access by children. This includes depictions of simulated sexual activity, material containing strong, realistic violence and other material dealing with intense adult themes.

- Content which is classified MA 15+*, provided by a mobile premium service or a service that provides audio or video content upon payment of a fee and that is not subject to a restricted access system. This includes material containing strong depictions of nudity, implied sexual activity, drug use or violence, very frequent or very strong coarse language, and other material that is strong in impact.


That is completely bananas.

Wait, are bananas still legal?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:34 PM on June 22, 2011


Depends where you put them.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:38 PM on June 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sys Rq: That is completely bananas.

Wait, are bananas still legal?


At the price they are in Darwin, they damn well shouldn't be. $11 a kilo at last check..!
posted by pseudonymph at 9:39 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Order a "banana santorum" and find out!
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:39 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is completely ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓.

Wait, are ▓▓▓▓▓▓▓ still legal?

What are you talking about?
posted by vidur at 9:42 PM on June 22, 2011 [20 favorites]



I was just highlighting the difference between the American, absolutist approach to freedom of speech, and the Australian, pragmatic approach. This story seems to fit squarely into the latter category, whereas Conroy's filter plan goes much further.


It is a slippery slope, though. Define 'child porn'. These blacklists are kept secret, and people know that there are often mistakes. Acceptance of this does lead to acceptance of things like Conroy's filtering plans.

Netflix. Which, sadly, we don't get in Australia.

This annoys me too. I think its because of how slow most ISPs are here?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:45 PM on June 22, 2011


An addition to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 quote, from Schedule 5:

If the ACMA is satisfied that internet content hosted outside Australia is prohibited content or potential prohibited content, the ACMA must:

(a) if the ACMA considers that the content is of a sufficiently serious nature to warrant referral to a law enforcement agency--notify the content to an Australian police force; and

(b) notify the content to internet service providers so that the providers can deal with the content in accordance with procedures specified in an industry code or industry standard (for example, procedures for the filtering, by technical means, of such content).


It's a system to to require ISPs to report really bad stuff (i.e., child porn) as opposed to garden variety porn.

Further, the ACMA does not proactively search for prohibited content. Their blacklist is comprised of sites which the public reports to them.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:45 PM on June 22, 2011


How much could a banana cost, anyway? Ten dollars?
posted by King Bee at 9:55 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]



Further, the ACMA does not proactively search for prohibited content. Their blacklist is comprised of sites which the public reports to them.


Great. So a rival website can send in my site, highlight our press photo of Miley Cyrus, and get us in trouble?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:55 PM on June 22, 2011


I fully support the bannination of sites featuring Miley Cyrus.
posted by pompomtom at 9:58 PM on June 22, 2011


Netflix. Which, sadly, we don't get in Australia.

This annoys me too. I think its because of how slow most ISPs are here?


I assume it would be more to do with licensing, which wouldn't be an easy thing to negotiate.
posted by a. at 10:06 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Bananas safe after kidnapping
posted by vidur at 10:06 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Acceptance of this does lead to acceptance of things like Conroy's filtering plans.

This is completely contrary to reality. There is less censorship now than ever before. The censorship boards of even a generation ago were fare more aggressive, and had widespread support. Yet we're not living in a new dark age.

If there's a slippery slope, its running the other way.
posted by robcorr at 10:12 PM on June 22, 2011


Sorry, mobile keyboard: "far more" and "it's running".
posted by robcorr at 10:15 PM on June 22, 2011


Wait, are bananas still legal?

Depends where you put them.


also on whether you actually put them there, or just simulate it.
posted by russm at 10:15 PM on June 22, 2011


Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, the following categories of online content are prohibited:

- Any online content that is classified RC* or X 18+* by the Classification Board (formerly the Office of Film and Literature Classification). This includes real depictions of actual sexual activity, child pornography, depictions of bestiality, material containing excessive violence or sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use, and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act.
I'm not sure if I'm missing something here, but does that mean that content which is perfectly legal to own in Australia (classified X18+, "real depictions of actual sexual activity") have a blanket prohibition against internet publication in Australia?

I guess regulating the internet as if it were a "broadcast service" will lead to that sort of stupidity...
posted by russm at 10:24 PM on June 22, 2011


Further, the ACMA does not proactively search for prohibited content. Their blacklist is comprised of sites which the public reports to them.

That sounds like an awesome way to get you put on a watch list.
posted by tumid dahlia at 10:28 PM on June 22, 2011


*yourself
posted by tumid dahlia at 10:28 PM on June 22, 2011


That sounds like an awesome way to get you put on a watch list.

For disseminating information on their website?

The ACMA can barely put on pants, let alone put me on a watchlist.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:32 PM on June 22, 2011


...although.
posted by tumid dahlia at 10:32 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Will my comments show up in Australia?
posted by fuq at 10:34 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The ACMA can barely put on pants, let alone put me on a watchlist.

Ok, that might get me put on a watchlist.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:38 PM on June 22, 2011


So a rival website can send in my site, highlight our press photo of Miley Cyrus, and get us in trouble?

I suppose that depends on whether someone has his hand up her skirt.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:39 PM on June 22, 2011


Looks like the Chinese were just ahead of the times after all.
posted by gyc at 10:56 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Will my comments show up in Australia?

They'll show up tomorrow.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:05 PM on June 22, 2011


> Will my comments show up in Australia?

They'll show up tomorrow.


Actually yesterday.
posted by the noob at 11:15 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the framing here is alarmist. This is the same kind of ISP-based filtering of child porn currently carried in the UK, and (I believe) Europe.

The ACMA blacklist was nightmarish, authoritarian censorship. This is sort of meh. Indeed, once put into effect, it sort of pulls the rug out from any push to impose a government clean feed -- because the biggest nasties are inaccessible anyway.
posted by dontjumplarry at 11:16 PM on June 22, 2011


> Actually yesterday.

I say tomorrow!
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:21 PM on June 22, 2011


Having said that, I wonder how ACMA proposes to distinguish between the genuinely bad stuff and the vast swathe of internet sex and violence that is technically prohibited by our classification guidelines. Huge tracts of Internet culture -- millions of videos, from garden variety porn, to shock sites, to YouTube eyewitness news clips -- technically fall foul of the ACMA rules.

No girls, no cup for us....
posted by dontjumplarry at 11:38 PM on June 22, 2011


Yeah, the framing here is alarmist.

I heard they banned video games, like Left 4 Dead.

Not sure how true that is, but if it has some merit I would strongly consider believing alarmist framing.
posted by Malice at 11:42 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I heard they banned video games, like Left 4 Dead.

Not sure how true that is, but if it has some merit I would strongly consider believing alarmist framing.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_banned_video_games#Australia
posted by vidur at 11:45 PM on June 22, 2011


I heard they banned video games, like Left 4 Dead.

List of video games in Australia which were refused classification (and therefore could not be made available for sale).
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:46 PM on June 22, 2011


"But about half of the sites on the list are not related to child porn and include a slew of online poker sites, YouTube links, regular gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia entries, euthanasia sites, websites of fringe religions such as satanic sites, fetish sites, Christian sites, the website of a tour operator and even a Queensland dentist."

Yes, but that dentist just gives the worst root canals.
posted by armage at 11:47 PM on June 22, 2011


Vidur: Jinx!

Now you owe me a coke
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:50 PM on June 22, 2011


Ha ha. No seriously, I don't do drugs.
posted by vidur at 12:17 AM on June 23, 2011


I don't even like coke. But it's the principle of the thing.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 12:45 AM on June 23, 2011


This will either

A. Mission creep into a steadily larger bureaucratic hunt and block mess

or

B. Be completely worthless for the purpose that it ostensibly serves. Even compared to what it is currently.

Either way, more places for me to put my VPN to use. Wee!
posted by Winnemac at 12:48 AM on June 23, 2011


I'm not sure if I'm missing something here, but does that mean that content which is perfectly legal to own in Australia (classified X18+, "real depictions of actual sexual activity") have a blanket prohibition against internet publication in Australia?

Sort of. The "prohibited online content" that vidur linked to a definition of is material that can't be hosted in Australia. I don't think there is any penalty for hosting it in Australia (could be wrong though), and it's not illegal to access, but if ACMA finds out about it they can send a take-down notice to the host requiring the material to be taken down (or, in practice, moved to servers overseas). If prohibited online content is hosted overseas, ACMA can add it to the "blacklist" which I think is distributed to filter companies but is otherwise pointless.

The Telstra/Optus/"2 other small ISPs" filter is just for child pornography. For now, of course. Our present government has demonstrated an attitude of such vicious imbecility towards anything to do with the Internet and freedom of speech that nobody can know what kind of idiocy they'll pull out next.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 12:50 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


and even a Queensland dentist.

A perfect example of how stupid this all is. The dentist's website was hacked so that it redirected to some dodgy sex-related site, and it apparently stayed that way for just long enough that ACMA added it to the blacklist.

ACMA is barely competent at doing any of the things it was set up to do (regulating broadcast media and certain technical aspects of telecommunications) and giving it the job of enforcing Australia's ludicrous Internet content laws is like telling a runty puppy to look after your baby: it has no idea what's going on and the least worst possible result is that it loses interest and walks away without causing any harm.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 1:15 AM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


ATBH - ah, that makes more sense. not a lot of sense, but at least more.

also, I love that the link to the complaint form on that page is a big red emergency stop button...
posted by russm at 1:24 AM on June 23, 2011


Left 4 Dead 2 wasn't banned but it was cut horribly.
There's stuff like XBox Live Indie Games not being allowed here because classification is so expensive.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:28 AM on June 23, 2011


Yeah, the framing here is alarmist. This is the same kind of ISP-based filtering of child porn currently carried in the UK, and (I believe) Europe.

Isn't the UK also pushing for a massive net filter? Just because free speech is an American value does not make it bad.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:29 AM on June 23, 2011


Canada's major ISPs have been doing this for nearly 5 years.
posted by twirlip at 1:45 AM on June 23, 2011


[ACMA] enforcing Australia's ludicrous Internet content laws is like telling a runty puppy to look after your baby: it has no idea what's going on and the least worst possible result is that it loses interest and walks away without causing any harm.

ATBH, I think you just won the thread.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:00 AM on June 23, 2011


Just because free speech is an American value does not make it bad.

are you suggesting that is just happening because telstra and optus Hate Your Freedom?
posted by russm at 2:02 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lovecraft In Brooklyn: "Isn't the UK also pushing for a massive net filter? Just because free speech is an American value does not make it bad."

Oh thanks. It's way too early to start that drinking game; I was supposed to go out in a minute!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:06 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Isn't the UK also pushing for a massive net filter?
We already have one, it's called Cleanfeed. Of course it's not perfect.
posted by SyntacticSugar at 2:09 AM on June 23, 2011


> Just because free speech is an American value does not make it bad.

no, but the tazor's a high price ;-)
posted by de at 2:11 AM on June 23, 2011


Just because free speech is an American value does not make it bad.

Sigh. And you were doing so well, too.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:14 AM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


How much could a banana cost, anyway?

$11/kg, same as in town.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:31 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Define 'child porn'.

In Australia, nude pictures of small-breasted women are legally considered to be child pornography, presumably because paedophiles deprived of the real thing use them as substitutes. Call it child Quorn, if you will.
posted by acb at 2:39 AM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Australia bans too much stuff.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:01 AM on June 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


acb: "In Australia, nude pictures of small-breasted women are legally considered to be child pornography".

Ah, that hoary old chestnut again
posted by Pinback at 3:06 AM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


He's talking about whores and chests and nuts! Burn him!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:21 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Australia bans too much stuff.

Finally - my exact opinion on the topic reduced to five simple words. It is *not* outside the scope of a legitimate or responsible government to ban or censor some kinds of content. But the range of banned content should be narrow. Where exactly the lines should be drawn is something we should argue over, even take political action over, but it's not a black and white issue. Even so, Australia errs too much on the side of restricting content, especially in the theoretical scope of the laws, but to a lesser extent even in the practice of how those laws are enforced. In short, Australia bans too much stuff.


> Just because free speech is an American value does not make it bad.

And this is apparently relevant to the discussion?


> In Australia, nude pictures of small-breasted women are legally considered to be child pornography,

Ah yes, the infamous "A Cup" Non Disclosure Act 2007. Right up there with the convict origins theory of Australian law. Honestly, is that really what you took from that article? Not even the Australian Sex Party is arguing that point. To quote Fiona Patten, of the Australian Sex Party, from your own link...

We are starting to see depictions of women in their late 20s being banned because they have an A cup size. It may be an unintended consequence of the Senator’s actions but they are largely responsible for the sharp increase in breast size in Australian adult magazines of late

The issue raised here is *not* a law that deems nude pictures of small-breasted women to be child pornography. It is an argument that the bans on child pornography (and the somewhat more contentious bans on pornography appears to be child porn while using 18+ actors) have started to produce a dangerous regulatory creep in that direction. Sure, I'll agree that the creep *is* a bad thing and ought to be dealt with. But your claim? Not correct. Not even close, really. There's rather a lot of small breasted women in pornography that is legally available in this country. If you don't believe me, I'll be happy to escort you to an adult book story to prove my point.
posted by mixing at 4:32 AM on June 23, 2011


This is just more lazy political grandstanding. If child pornography is a problem, and these sites traffic in child pornography, then do some legwork and shut them down. Round up the principals and put them on trial. Identify the problem and fix it.

Making a secret list and then blocking access to "most people" will do nothing to solve the problem and adds the possibility of involving innocent people. (It does set a precedent that will make it easier to add to the list in the future, though.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:37 AM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


mixing: The issue raised here is *not* a law that deems nude pictures of small-breasted women to be child pornography.

On the one hand you have cheap & legal porn. On the other hand you have expensive, illegal, harshly punished recordings of child abuse. Surely people are going to go for the stuff that doesn't result in being ostracized and imprisoned for decades?
posted by public at 5:52 AM on June 23, 2011


Surely people are going to go for the stuff that doesn't result in being ostracized and imprisoned for decades?

Probably yes, but I'm not quite sure what you're arguing here.

The law in question is framed to outlaw both child pornography and material that mimics it. Without the extended version of the law, you might end up creating a market for "barely legal child porn" or some such, which isn't exactly a desirable outcome. So there's an argument in favour of the extended version of the law, though I don't feel like I understand enough about what the consequences of the broader version might be to have a very strong opinion of my own.

That said... acb's original claim was that Australia has an actual ban on any pornography involving small breasted women. My point was that this is an exaggeration: that's not what the law states, nor what it is intended to achieve. In general, adult women with small breasts don't look like children, and porn involving them is entirely unproblematic. Even the Australian Sex Party isn't arguing that we have a de jure ban on small breasted women in pornography; they're worried that we might end up with a de facto ban as an unintended consequence. If we're going to have a discussion about where the bounds of appropriate censorship lie, and on where Australia sits with respect to those bounds, it seems to me that the difference does matter.
posted by mixing at 6:39 AM on June 23, 2011


Without the extended version of the law, you might end up creating a market for "barely legal child porn" or some such, which isn't exactly a desirable outcome.

What does this even mean? It's either legal and not child abuse, or it's illegal and is child abuse. By "barely legal child porn" I think what you really mean is "porn I find distasteful."

Arbitrarily censoring things because you don't like them is exactly the sort of thing that leads to the sort of continuous incremental authoritarianism we've seen all over the world.

It's irrelevant if the law is (even more) overreaching in banning all porn with A-cup women in it. The point is that the motivation for the censorship comes from a distaste for the content rather than any sort of rational ideology external to the specific issue.

We ban sexual interaction with kids because it tends to cause the victims a lot of distress. There are no victims in the consumption of simulated child porn. We ban actual child porn because it requires the sexual abuse of children to create.
posted by public at 6:49 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is just more lazy political grandstanding. If child pornography is a problem, and these sites traffic in child pornography, then do some legwork and shut them down. Round up the principals and put them on trial. Identify the problem and fix it.

That doesn't work when, as is commonly the case, the servers and principals are located in a different country with lax enforcement and no extradition.

The Canadian filtering system works that way: anything local gets sent to law enforcement, rather than getting blocked. Anything outside the country gets filtered. It's not a perfect tool, and they aren't claiming that it'll stop the people who are dedicated and smart to getting it. Instead, it blocks the casual or accidental user.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:50 AM on June 23, 2011


Canada's major ISPs have been doing this for nearly 5 years.

Interesting, I had no idea about this, yet sure enough, my ISP is on the bandwagon with CleanFeed. Well, it hasn't stopped me from doing any of the things I want to do online, so... Yay? I guess?
posted by antifuse at 7:10 AM on June 23, 2011


What does this even mean? It's either legal and not child abuse, or it's illegal and is child abuse. By "barely legal child porn" I think what you really mean is "porn I find distasteful."

Actually, no. Not what I had in mind at all. The argument that I think underlies the extended ban is not that the porn is distasteful (or, if it is, then it's a pretty poor argument). Rather, as I understand it, it's a "broken window" theory - if you allow a little bit of relatively harmless "bad behaviour" (e.g., throwing rocks at windows, porn that is creepily reminiscent of child porn) then it might create an implied licence for more dangerous crimes, like child abuse. In other words, it's a hidden slippery slope argument that lies behind the law. So ... there's a slippery slope argument against legalisation, and another one in favour of it. Duly noted on both fronts.

But... again, my original point was to agree that (a) Australia bans too much stuff, but also that (b) there are too many caricatures being made of what is actually banned. And regardless, I'm starting to feel like this is drifting away from the original question about the internet filter itself, so I think I might bow out of this discussion at this point.
posted by mixing at 7:14 AM on June 23, 2011


So wait, would it filter out stuff like Trevor Brown's awesome website (not entirely SFW) the way PayPal accused him of being a child pornographer and proceeded to steal all his money? (Incidentally, fuck PayPal.)
posted by Mooseli at 7:29 AM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


if you allow a little bit of relatively harmless "bad behaviour" (e.g., throwing rocks at windows, porn that is creepily reminiscent of child porn)

In your first example actual physical harm is caused. In your second example people get off. I don't see the connection.

In the same way that smashing lots of windows you happen to own or have paid for the right to smash is neither a necessary or a sufficient condition for "bad behavior"; watching pornography is neither a necessary or a a sufficient condition for "bad behavior".

We live in the future. Deal with it.
posted by public at 7:52 AM on June 23, 2011


This is getting silly. I was trying to make an analogy, not establish an isomorphism. If you wish to argue that the slippery slope argument that (I suspect) underlies this law is incorrect, please feel free to contact the Australian government. I believe they're on the internet now. Don't argue the point with me, because I've never claimed to agree with the argument. I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing with you (or the government, for that matter) because I'm trying to say something a great deal simpler. So... for the n-th time, where n is rapidly approaching the point where I quit the internet entirely... here is the point that I was making:

"ban on simulated child porn involving adult actors" != "ban on small breasted women in porn"

That is all. Not terribly complicated, I should have thought. I made the trivial point that these are different things because this comment conflated the two, and it doesn't strike me as helpful to do that. I can't think of any way of saying it any more simply than that.
posted by mixing at 8:35 AM on June 23, 2011


Australia bans too much stuff.

We're not banning enough stuff! Ban more stuff! Here are my suggestions:

- public vomiting
- football
- bubble tea.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:03 PM on June 23, 2011


We're not banning enough stuff! Ban more stuff! Here are my suggestions:

- public vomiting
- football
- bubble tea.


Having loud phone conversations on public transport.
Sideways baseball caps.
Spruikers.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:12 PM on June 23, 2011


We're not banning enough stuff! Ban more stuff!

NGOs who use backpackers to spruik monthly donations schemes in pedestrian thoroughfares.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:39 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The word "spruiker."
posted by Sys Rq at 7:28 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't you mob infringe on my public vomiting rights! Bloody wowsers.

(can I add "rugby league"?)
posted by pompomtom at 10:09 PM on June 23, 2011


We're not banning enough stuff! Ban more stuff!

Sweeping generalisations.
Uninformed opinions.
Scary clowns (What? I don't like clowns, OK?)
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:39 PM on June 23, 2011


Blonde beers
Internet filters
Weak as piss left wing politicians
posted by bystander at 1:34 AM on June 24, 2011


Eddie McGuire
Auto-tune
People operating coffee machines who think that makes them 'baristas'
posted by harriet vane at 2:41 AM on June 24, 2011


Auto-tune
Auto-tune
Auto-tune
Auto-tune
Auto-tune
Auto-tune
Auto-tune
posted by pompomtom at 7:05 AM on June 24, 2011


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