Internet Censorship Bill

Internet censorship will be a reality in Australia as of January 1, y2k...
or so says the law as set by the controversial Bill
that was passed on 30th June 1999.
That's the BroadcastingServicesAmmendment (OnlineServices) Bill 1999 to be precise.

Never heard of the Bill?
Of course not: in May, during the scheduled week of Senate voting,
the tabloids did not even mention it but they did have frontpage stories
on the proposed new technopolis at the Melbourne docklands
and (on another day) there was a scary-monster headline about internet crime.

Copyright laws clearly do not stop struggling
students from photocopying entire textbooks,
so will the Bill pose a *real* threat to our
information (that "wants to be free")?

The overhead of "filtering" will result in your
web browsing being either slower or more expensive (or both).
For what?
Any serious research shows that censoring the net is unworkable.

Apart from implementation headaches, the avenues for bypassing filtering are
So are the _MP's_ that voted in favour of the bill to be taken seriously?

If my children behaved the way most clowns do in Parliament,
(talking over the top of one another, name-calling,
 and basically showing no mutual respect)
they would get a clip over the ear.
Yet they insist on being entrusted with judging
(via the AustralianBroadcatingAuthority: ABA)
what information we are mature enough to have access to.

Concerned net users and parents can use physical keys
on computers and/or modems, they can install password protection,
they can install software (eg NetNanny) at *their* end to filter content.
It is about time some parents took *time* to show an interest in their
children's activities.
It would be cheaper for all to educate the parents than incur the overheads
of filtering.

And, besides, there are laws already in place to protect children from net
laws that are as effective as they ever will be.
In fact the new law will actually unwittingly *promote* more porn as
become lucrative (workarounds that will be used to bypass the hitherto
useful NetNanny)
There is collatoral damage too: useful web pages will be mistaken for porn
and be blocked if a filtering process is employed.
eg pages about "sexual discrimination", or "reporting rape" contain naughty
The politicians are not stupid; they know all this. So what is their hidden agenda?

The real point was to vote with the naive and paranoid moral-crusaders
Senators Harradine
and Colston; a mutual scratching of backs.
They proposed this Bill. They also opposed GST.
So if they were supported on this Bill then they would vote in favour
of the GST Bill they were blocking.
(It must be noted that the Democrats acted responsibly).

"So there is nothing dramatic to fear from this Bill?" you may well ask.
Actually, there is *much* to fear.
Though our politicians are generally short sighted,
you can be sure they warm to the long-term implications.

It is likely that the bill will eventually not be used to just "protect" us.
What is happening is the installation of a few "hooks"
to be used if/when govt/corporate power or profits are threatened.
The Bill is a Trojan horse.

The net (unlike paper publications) looks likely to be
subject to the same strict rules as film clasification.
The 97/98 the OfficeOfFilmAndLiteratureClassication (OFLC) stats show that
in 1997/98
68% films and 71% of videos were rated R by them
not for porn, violence, or foul-language reasons but for
exposing our fragile little minds to adult *issues*.

Orwell's 1984 concept of "thought crime" is here.
OFLC Classification Guidlines describe "adult themes" as
"verbal references to and depictions associated with issues such as
suicide, crime, corruption, marital problems, emotional trauma, drug and
alcohol dependency,
death and serious illness, racism, religious issues".

Only individual major infringements are likely to be targetted. Recall that 
Al Capone only got arrested because of outstanding tax evasion charges.
If you are not a gangster but a humanitarian you are still in danger.
Witness the AnandaMarga HiltonBombing frame-up:
the eventual pardon did not attract even a fraction of the initial media circus.
Any humanitarian ideas that threaten the current corporate-based climate of
"Do unto others before they do unto you"
will be susceptible to this legal bullying.
Remember that "sharing is bad for the economy" :)

The internet is the only example in modern histroy
of an anarchic society that works.
In fact it works so well that corporations and governments
all want a piece of the action, to control it, milk it, and destroy it.
This already happens with the physical environment
so you can be sure that the internet
(this instrument of free flow of information)
that allows for spiritual/social/political enlightenment
will suffer the same fate unless we fight it.

Some brave InternetServiceProvider (ISP) will no doubt
(for moral as well as publicity reasons)
disregard the Bill and take it to the high court.
It costs (via legal fees) to have your voice heard.
This is in keeping with the eternal trend for power mongers to distance
themselves from the
uncleansed masses, ie from you.
Don't bother getting angry on a complaints phone-line:
the operator will tell you "Sorry, I'm not responsible."
Who the fuck *is* responsible!? And why are they always invisible?

Hawke's famous rhetoric about Australia as the "clever country" is pure fantasy.
The majority of us are neither poor enough to be street-wise
nor affluent enough to be able to afford indulgence in
social activism or artisitic appreciation.

The quiet passing of the Bill is testimony.


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