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Date: 1999-10-05

Wieder Zensur/anlauf in AU

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q/depesche 99.9.

Wieder Zensur/anlauf in AU

Content Provider, die "verwerfliche" oder für Minderjährige
"nicht geeignete" Sprache verwenden sollen in Australien
künftig von Strafe bedroht sein. So will es der "Broadcasting
Services Act" und die für das Internet zuständige TV-
Aufsichtsbehörde [sic].

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For those interested in what governments keen on rating
speech can come up with in the way of criminal law, here's
the latest from Australia.

Australian State & Territory Govs. are currently considering
draft model legislation involving criminal penalties for
users/content providers who speak in a manner deemed
"unsuitable for minors" or "objectionable" (rated R, X or
Refused Classification). This is one tier of the Broadcasting
Services Act regime - Commonwealth regulates ISPs and
Internet Content Hosts under BSA/blocking regime,
States/Territories enact "complementary" legislation to
regulate users/content providers.

The proposed legislation criminalises material online that is
not illegal offline in Australia and requires users/content
providers to, in effect, rate their speech by
guessing/foreseeing how a majority of the members of the
government Classification Board would rate it. The Board
would/will effectively become a jury but without the need for
unanimity. Criminal penalties will apply to those who made
available material "unsuitable for minors" or "objectionable"
either knowing it was so, or if they were "reckless", i.e. were
"aware of a substantial risk" that the material "would be"
rated R, X or RC. To make matters worse, text on web pages
is to be rated using exisiting guidelines developed for movies,
rather than those developed for offline publications..

For info about numerous flaws in the proposed legislation,
see EFA's submission in response (being sent to all 8
State/Territory Govs). That contains
a 2 page Exec Summary, followed by detailed info.

Those interested in the finer detail of how "rating" speech
operates in Australia may find the case study in Appendix 1
of EFA's submission either amusing or horrifying, or both. It
contains my attempt to classify the first chapter of a best
selling Australian novel, "Eat Me" by Linda Jaivin, using
guidelines for films. (The first chapter became "Internet
content" recently).

Incidentally, some of you may have heard about Cyberpatrol
banning the entire web site of San Francisco's independent
Booksmith in Height-Ashbury because they put the -cover- of
"Eat Me" on their web site (the cover of the US edition had
bananas and plums on it). Linda's story about this is at

One hopes the State/Territory Govs. will gain more sense
and not enact this tyrannical proposal, but I wouldn't count on
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relayed by
Irene Graham <> via

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Fuer Lauschangreifer, Spitzelfirmen, Datenhaendler,
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edited by Harkank
published on: 1999-10-05
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