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Protest against Internet Censorship in Australia

Save the Internet
In Australia, the government want to introduce compulsory internet censorship. More details can be read here: Stop The Clean Feed and here: No Clean Feed.

Next Saturday, 13th December 2008, there will be protests across Australia against this. The Melbourne protest will be at midday, outside the State Library: Facebook Event.

Poll #1312155 No Clean Feed

What would be a good slogan to write on a poster for the protest?

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Oooh-- I'll try to get along to that.

And wear my "Fuck Cen***ship" T-shirt. :)

The timing of this post is quite coincidental given that I've just posted about a similar issue affecting the UK at the moment. These trends are really worrying.

At first when I found out about the Australian clean feed, I thought I could just come back to the UK to escape it, but it sounds like it has got worse there than it has here. :(

Maybe I need a "No internet censorship in the UK" sign at the Australian protest as well!

Your post makes the mistake of assuming that the content being blocked isn't actually illegal.

It is illegal, essentially all images of a naked minor, or which could be interpreted as depicting a naked minor, are illegal in Britain thanks to the crazy way our anti-child-abuse legislation was written. In fact semi-naked photos are often illegal too, for example, if you're of a certain age you'll remember Samantha Fox appearing in the Sun newspaper topless. But you might not remember that she wasn't 18. So that's child pornography by the present UK legal definition, incurring a mandatory prison sentence if you were convicted of owning that picture. From being available in every corner shop to a 10 year prison sentence, overnight. More brilliant work by our legislature.

Keep this in mind when you see yet another upstanding member of society arrested for these child porn offenses. Some of them might well be up to no good, but a few of them will done nothing a reasonable person would understand as "wrong", but they had to be "made an example of" for whatever reason.

essentially all images of a naked minor, or which could be interpreted as depicting a naked minor, are illegal in Britain

I don't see how that can possibly be true, otherwise half the art galleries in the country would now be closed and their staff and clientele would be in prison.

For "images", you should read "photographs". Also, be careful of assuming that everyone who commits an offence gets caught and punished.

What is illegal? Publication or possession? Where is the law that states this? And if there is such a thing then how come this album cover has been allowed to exist for so long without a single prosecution?

Both. The relevant laws are section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978 (making and publishing) [note that the SLD version of this Act is somewhat out of date] and section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (possession). As for why no prosecution has been brought (assuming none has), that's a question for the police or the CPS, but I'd suspect they have easier targets.

The key word there is 'indecent'. I don't think many sane people would suggest that a simple nude photograph of a child is inherently indecent.

Edited at 2008-12-09 03:47 pm (UTC)

sqirmelia: Did you see my post about the guy getting done for child porn because of some Simpsons stuff?

cyclotronic: I don't think many sane people would suggest that a simple nude photograph of a child is inherently indecent.

Erm, if it's in an art gallery in Australia, trust me, people go completely batshit about it. Then again, who said the majority of the population was sane? We did have John Howards for ten years...

Yeah, I often forget to take into account the fact that there are large numbers of stupid and/or mad people out there. And that Simpsons thing was staggering and very alarming.

I wrote "images" for a reason. The law bans "pseudo-photographs". The inclusion of "pseudo-photographs" was done by a back door argument

* Bans on photographs exclude manipulated images (ie if it's not a photograph it wasn't banned)
* Therefore we need an additional ban on images created from photographs
* We mustn't draw a line that would allow abusers to sidestep our rule. Any image could be a "pseudo-photograph"
* We can't tell if such manipulated images are showing actual abuse
* So we'll assume that they always depict abuse, even if the evidence argues strongly otherwise
* Therefore all images of any kind, depicting a possible minor naked or in a "bad" way are illegal

See, it's brilliant, they start out with you nodding along, wanting to protect children, and by the end they have you agreeing that they need to protect Bart Simpson from Rule 34. This was a coherent strategy, from people whose long term goal is to return to the situation where you had to pretend that nobody had a sexual thought before 18 or outside the marriage bed, and where homosexuality was a sin and secret. "Won't somebody think of the Children" just turns out to be a better hook than "God told us to do it".

I too agree that there are worrying developments afoot, but I don't think there are laws currently in existence which cover what you're referring to. I don't know anything about the Sam Fox example, but are you sure that wasn't to do with exploitation of a minor on the part of the Sun, as opposed to prosecution against people for owning any pictures that might later have been published?

The Sam Fox example was the American's fault. At the time the photo was taken and published the definition of a child for 'child pornography' in the UK was 16 and in the US was 18. Therefore in the UK the papers could legally have page 3 girls who were 16. On one memorable case on her 16th birthday. And that was not child porn by the definition of the law in the UK (although it would have been child porn in the US). I believe the arguement was that if you could consent to having sex then you could consent to taking a picture of it.

The US pushed for a change in the rules so there was international standardisation to help with dealing with availablity of porn online (at least that was the excuse) and the law in the UK was changed to define a minor for the purposes of child pornography as being of persons under 18. This change in law was publisiced (ha ha) so that anyone in posession of pictures that were at that time legal but which were about to become illegal would have time to dispose of them. In much the same way that the current 'extreme porn' law is being publicised so that anyone owning pictures that are currently legal will have the oppotunity to dispose of them before they become illegal. Just nobody is totally sure which those are.

It should be noted that while some things are blatently illegal, other things may or may not be covered by covered by legislation (where there are shades of grey for interpretation) and so may or may not be illegal and that must be determined in a caught of law. Non-sexual nudes and non-photo realistic images may, or may not, fall into this category. For example there have been cases recently where a exhibit has been investigated and the CPS (or whoever) have decided that the images of naked children were not porn. Had they decided to prosecute then the defense would have argued that they were not porn and the court would then have decided if they were illegal or not.

man I'd save her internet.

I probably mean "banner" instead of "poster".

uhm I mean "Give Peace a Chance"

At the last protest there were signs such as "Honk if you like porn"!

this last weekend I had an overwhelming compulsion to hold a sign up saying "WHAT DOES GOD WANT YOU TO BUY?"

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