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<nettime> ACTION ALERT - Australian Internet Censorship
felipe rodriquez on Wed, 31 Mar 1999 08:36:47 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> ACTION ALERT - Australian Internet Censorship



Please help distribute and send this to your contacts:


---<start of message>---

From:	Electronic Frontiers Australia (http://www.efa.org.au)
Subject: ACTION ALERT - Australian Internet Censorship 


*** Please redistribute, but only before April 30th 1999   ***
*** and only to appropriate newsgroups, lists and contacts ***


INTERNATIONAL ACTION ALERT


Please send the message attached below the -<cut here>- mark
at the bottom of this message to your local member, and to these 
emailaddresses:

			richard.alston {AT} dcita.gov.au
			Stephen.Smith.MP {AT} aph.gov.au
			Tim.Fischer.MP {AT} aph.gov.au 
			senator.newman {AT} aph.gov.au 
			D.Kemp.MP {AT} aph.gov.au 
			Kim.Beazley.MP {AT} aph.gov.au
			david.flint {AT} aba.gov.au

and fax numbers: 	+61 2 6273 4154
			+61 3 9650 0220
			+61 2 6277 8520
			+61 2 6273 4100
			+61 2 6277 8495
			+61 2 9334 7799
			+61 2 6273 4128
			+61 2 6273 4122
			+61 2 6273 4117

From: 	Electronic Frontiers Australia
		http://www.efa.org.au




								Sydney 31st March 1999


AUSTRALIA NEEDS YOUR HELP TO FIGHT DRACONIAN INTERNET CENSORSHIP


INTRODUCTION

The Australian ministry for Communications, Information Technology and the
Arts has announced a proposal to introduce draconian measures to block
information on the internet that is rated RC, X or R according to Australian
film and video classification standards. The Australian Broadcasting
Authority (ABA) will administer this regime.

The Australian Government requires that online service providers take
responsibility to remove RC and X-rated material from the Internet once
they have been notified of its existence. The regime also provides for
self-regulatory codes of practice for the online service provider industry,
to be overseen by the ABA. These codes of practice must include a commitment
by an online service provider to take all reasonable steps to block access
to such content hosted overseas, once the service provider has been notified
of the existence of the material by the ABA. Many millions of websites are
likely to be blocked if the proposals are effectively implemented.

RC rated content, to be completely censored from the Internet under this
regime, includes, but is not limited to, the following types of content:
Information that depicts, expresses or otherwise deals with matters of sex,
drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent
phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality,
decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults, depicts it in
a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult. Or if the
content promotes, incites or instructs in matters of crime or violence, the
use of proscribed drugs, depictions of practices such as bestiality. Or if
it appears to purposefully debase or abuse for the enjoyment of viewers, and
which lack moral, artistic or other values, to the extent that they offend
against generally accepted standards of morality, decency and propriety. And
also includes gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of violence
with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent,
prolonged or detailed, cruelty or real violence which are very detailed or
which have a high impact, sexual violence, sexual activity accompanied by
fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent, incest fantasies or
other fantasies which are offensive or abhorrent.

X-rated content, to be completely censored from the Internet under this
regime, is material which contains real depictions of actual sexual
intercourse and other sexual activity between consenting adults, including
mild fetishes.

R-rated content, to be subjected to a mandatory adult verification scheme,
includes information about, or containing,  drug use, nudity, sexual
references, adult themes, horror themes, martial arts instruction, graphic
images of injuries, medium or high level coarse language, sex education,
health education and drug education.




WE NEED YOUR HELP !


If you care about your ability to speak on the Internet, read from the
Internet, and exchange ideas on the Internet, without the Australian
government deciding for you, it's time to act before these proposals become
law.

Please take some time to speak out against this government action,
by signing and then E-mailing or faxing the attached letter the
minister for communications, and other relevant people. For your
convenience we have added some addresses:


Richard Alston, Minister for communications, IT and the Arts
richard.alston {AT} dcita.gov.au
Fax: +61 (0)2 6273 4154 AND +61 (0)3 9650 0220

Stephen Smith, labor Shadow Minister for communications, IT and the Arts
Stephen.Smith.MP {AT} aph.gov.au
Fax: +61 (0)2 6277 8520

Timothy Fischer, Deputy Prime Minister; Minister for Trade
Tim.Fischer.MP {AT} aph.gov.au 
Fax: +61 (02) 6273 4128

Jocelyn Newman, Minister for Family and Community Services
senator.newman {AT} aph.gov.au 
Fax: +61 (02) 6273 4122

Dr David Kemp, Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs
D.Kemp.MP {AT} aph.gov.au 
Fax: +61 (02)6273 4117

John Howard, Prime Minister
Fax: +61 (0)2 6273 4100

Kim Beazley, leader of the opposition
Kim.Beazley.MP {AT} aph.gov.au
Fax: +61 (0)2 6277 8495

David Flint, Chairman of the ABA
david.flint {AT} aba.gov.au
Fax: +61 (0)2 9334 7799





--------------------------------------------------------------------------
PLEASE FAX AND/OR EMAIL THE MESSAGE BELOW TO THE PERSONS MENTIONED ABOVE
----------------------<cut here>------------------------------------------

to: 	richard.alston {AT} dcita.gov.au
	Stephen.Smith.MP {AT} aph.gov.au
	Tim.Fischer.MP {AT} aph.gov.au 
	Kim.Beazley.MP {AT} aph.gov.au
	D.Kemp.MP {AT} aph.gov.au 
	david.flint {AT} aba.gov.au
	senator.newman {AT} aph.gov.au 


Dear Senator Alston,


I consider that the following issues are important with respect to
the Internet censorship proposals of the Australian government:

The filtering and blocking regime that has been announced by the Australian
government will restrict freedom of expression and limit access to
information. Government-mandated use of blocking and filtering
systems violates basic international human rights protections.

These measures will prevent individuals from using the Internet to exchange
information on topics that may be controversial or unpopular. They may
enable the development of country profiles to facilitate a
global/universal rating system desired by governments, block access
to content on entire domains, block access to Internet content available
at any domain or page which contains a specific key-word or character
string in the URL, and over-ride self-rating labels provided by content
creators and providers.

Government mandated blocking and filtering of content is unreasonable
because it does not consider the dynamic nature of the Internet. A
website on the Internet that is deemed offensive or illegal today may
contain harmless content tomorrow, but is likely to remain blocked in
the future by the proposed blacklist model.

The effectiveness of the proposed regime will be minimal. It is unlikely
that the government blacklist will cover a substantial percentage of adult
or offensive content, as there are millions of such locations on the
Internet. Tunneling and other technologies that are available make it
relatively easy for informed users to access any website they wish despite
the existence of a filter.

The proposals will not protect minors on the Internet, as they intend to,
but will prevent lawful access to information by adults. Additionally the
introduction of mandatory adult verification mechanisms poses a threat to
privacy of the adult, as these mechanisms are likely to store information
about the behavior of adults on the Internet.

I believe the great appeal of the Internet is its openness. Efforts to
restrict the free flow of information on the Internet, like efforts to
restrict what may be said on a telephone, would place unreasonable burdens
on well established principles of privacy and free speech.

I encourage the Australian government to further take the lead in creating
an environment that will help local communities find the best answers to
providing greater access to the Internet. I observe that blocking and
filtering software programs cannot possibly filter out all objectionable
material and instead may provide communities with a false sense of security
about providing access. I believe that filters cannot offer the protections
provided by education and training. If protection of minors is the intention
of the Australian government then minors should be taught the critical
skills that are needed as citizens of the information society.

<message ends here>

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