t byfield on Tue, 1 Jun 1999 04:58:53 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> (fwd) IPA Bulletin: Internet Censorship Legislation [.AU]

>  From: Simon Hackett [SMTP:simon@internode.com.au] 
>  Sent: Saturday, May 29, 1999 4:04 PM 
>  To: ipa-contacts@adelaide.on.net 
>  Dear IPA customer 
>  We don't normally step outside of the boundaries of operational information 
>  and new service announcements in our IPA bulletins. However, this one 
>  exception is being made because the issue it concerns is incredibly 
>  important to all Internet users - and that means to YOU. 
>  If the mandatory censorship of Internet content in Australia is of concern 
>  to you, please take the time to read this entire message. 
>  If this topic is not of interest to you, you should ignore this message, 
>  but please bear it in mind if you receive 'permission denied' messages in 
>  the future, while accessing the Internet. 
>  Those messages will indicate that we have been required to block your 
>  access to an Internet site, or to censor or delete email from a mailing 
>  list or a newsgroup you participate in, before it reaches your computer, 
>  because the federal government forced us to do so. 
>  As you may have heard through the Media, Internet Content Regulation 
>  legislation was passed through the Senate on Wednesday afternoon. It is 
>  expected to be passed in the house of representatives early in this coming 
>  week. 
>  The stated aims of this legislation were set out originally in the 
>  following press release: 
>  http://www.dcita.gov.au/nsapi-graphics/?MIval=dca_dispdoc&ID=3762 
>  This says, in part: 
>  **** 
>  "The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, 
>  Senator Richard Alston, today introduced legislation to protect Australian 
>  children from illegal and highly offensive material online. 
>  'The Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Bill 1999 
>  meets the Australian community's legitimate concern to control the 
>  publication of illegal and offensive material online, but without placing 
>  onerous or unjustifiable burdens on the internet industry and thus 
>  inhibiting the development of the online economy,' Senator Alston said. 
>  [...] 
>  'The issue is very simple: Labor either supports measures to protect 
>  children from paedophiles and drug pushers on the internet or Labor does 
>  not support the need to protect 
>  children. 
>  'Which is it?' 
>  **** 
>  While these sentiments sound noble at first glance, unfortunately their 
>  intended implementation mechanisms in the new law are fundamentally and 
>  unrecoverably flawed. The legislation is incredibly bad. The press release 
>  above was made on April 21st, and in slightly more than one month, the 
>  intentions of the goverment are about to become law - allowing scarcely 
>  enough time for people to become aware of the existence of the law, let 
>  alone to consider it and respond to it. 
>  Despite being convened on a ludicrously tight time schedule, a senate 
>  standing committee to hear public comment on this law received over 100 
>  submissions, practically all of which strongly opposed the proposed new 
>  laws. The committee decided to approve the passage of the law without 
>  ammedments, despite the evidence against it doing so. For whatever reason, 
>  this law is being railroaded in the most cynical of manners, into becoming 
>  a part of the legal framework in this country. 
>  Commentary on this senate committee outcome may be viewed at the following 
>  web location: 
>  http://www.anatomy.usyd.edu.au/danny/freedom/senate/index.html 
>  Please take a look at the majority and minority reports from the committee 
>  which are at the URL noted above. The minority reports are articulate and 
>  clear in their explanations of what is wrong with this new legislation. 
>  Other detailed analysis of the bill, including discussions and much 
>  background information about its consequences, are available on the EFA web 
>  site, at http://www.efa.org.au/Campaigns/99.html. We urge you to read this 
>  information. 
>  The proposed law has already attracted substantial and damning 
>  international criticism for its attempts to do these things in an 
>  increasingly borderless world. 
>  In specific terms, this law will: 
>  * Prevent adults from accessing material intended for adults; 
>  * Impose a censorship regime which is more stringent than the policies 
>  of Malaysia and Singapore, both of whom introduced and then rescinded 
>  content censorship legislation *less* onerous than the Australian 
>  proposition. 
>  * Stifle the development of electronic commerce in Australia; 
>  * Restrict academic research by making material which is available 
>  to researches everywhere in the world inaccessible to Australians; 
>  * Drive the cost of Internet access up by pushing up prices for 
>  wholesale bandwidth; 
>  * Force ISPs to install expensive content filtering hardware and 
>  software, which will raise costs and slow down your use of the 
>  Internet; 
>  * Drive smaller ISPs out of business, thereby reducing competition and 
>  further raising prices; and 
>  * Force ISPs to monitor traffic (such as email and web) initiated 
>  by users, including information sent through mailing lists, and to block 
>  content deemed by the Australian Broadcasting Authority to be in 
>  contravention of this new act. 
>  While ISP's will be legally protected from the consequences of implementing 
>  this new law, they will not be protected from being forced out of business 
>  by having to try implement the impossible, and from being forced to spend 
>  money and time to make the attempt or incur fines up to $22,500 or more per 
>  day for failures to immediately comply with all censorship orders issued by 
>  the ABA. 
>  On the other hand: 
>  * Childrens' ability to access material which is unsuitable to them 
>  will not be affected at all; 
>  * Material which is illegal on the Internet in Australia under this law 
>  will still be available overseas, and will be able to be accessed 
>  by circumventing the filtering laws in ways that are technically 
>  infeasible to stop, by those who wish to do so. 
>  * Australian-hosted banned web sites will simply move offshore. 
>  * Content filtering hardware and software is not technologically 
>  capable of performing as advertised, despite Senator Alston's 
>  claims to the contrary. These claims underpin the onus for 
>  framing the bill as a technology-based information access 
>  filtering regime that can be effective. These claims are false. 
>  * It will cast the jobs of the thousands of people employed by the 
>  Internet industry into doubt, as content moves overseas and ISPs 
>  close down. 
>  * It will prevent overseas investment in the Australian IT industry, 
>  since we will have grave difficulty attracting technologically-savvy 
>  overseas companies as one of the only countries in the world with 
>  content regulation slowing down our access, making it expensive, 
>  and making content difficult to find. 
>  You will not be able to avoid this censorship by changing ISP's, because 
>  all ISP's in the country will be forced to participate in this content 
>  regulation. Compulsory unionism of ISP's will ensure that all of them must 
>  join in and participate in this outcome. 
>  Your Internet access performance will be reduced by forcing every item of 
>  information you retrieve to be subject to examination by filtering systems 
>  that all ISP's will be forced to install, whether they work properly or not.
>  Any member of the public who objects to content that you create and host on 
>  the Internet can complain to the ABA, who can force all Australian ISP's to 
>  remove it if they believe, in their sole discretion, that it is appropriate 
>  to do so. 
>  All Australian ISP's will be required to immediately block such content (by 
>  6pm of the next business day at the latest, under threat of huge fines for 
>  non-compliance). 
>  If your commercial activities on the Internet become the subject of such a 
>  'takedown' order under this regime, your business will be banned from 
>  appearing on the Internet in Australia until and unless you have succeeded 
>  in taking your case to the adminstrative appeals tribunal, who may or may 
>  not agree with your point of view. You will have to wait until they can 
>  hear your case, in their own time. In the meantime, you're banned from the 
>  Australian Internet instantly, and the effects on your business are obvious.
>  If you agree that this legislation is not the correct approach to achieve 
>  the government's stated aims, you can take the following actions to express 
>  your disapproval to the politicians who are responsible for the law: 
>  * Telephone or fax your member of Federal Parliament (details provided 
>  below) 
>  * Attend the protest rally on Sunday May 30 at 3:00pm on the steps 
>  of the State Library on North Terrace. 
>  * Make it clear that your future voting patterns are affected by the 
>  outcomes on your life of the implementation of this new law. 
>  * If you run a business taking advantage of the Information Revolution, 
>  tell your MP what you think this bill will do to your growth prospects. 
>  Thank you for your attention and support, 
>  The staff of Internode Professional Access 
> Name Canberra Canberra Fax Electorate Electorate Electorate 
> Phone Fax Phone 
> Andrew, John (02)62774000 (02)62772050 Wakefield (08)85230511(08)8523 0555 
> Downer, Alexander(02)62777500 (02)62734112 Mayo (08)83708166(08)8370 9288 
> Draper, Patricia (02)62774370 (02)62778407 Makin (08)83960785(08)8265 2236 
> Gallus, Christine(02)62774840 (02)62778538 Hindmarsh (08)82340456(08)8234 5877> Pyne, Christopher(02)62774842 (02)62778581 Sturt (08)83630030(08)8363 0666 
> Secker, Patrick (02)62774217 (02)62778541 Barker (08)85312124(08)8531 2466 
> Southcott, Andrew(02)62774283 (02)62778476 Boothby (08)83743071(08)8374 0511 
> Wakelin, Barry (02)62774943 (02)62774431 Grey (08)86455933(08)8645 4255 
> Worth, Patricia (02/62774337 (02)62778465 Adelaide (08)82231174(08)8223 1130 

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