Monday, April 27, 2009

National Forum Series: The Tangled Web

From New Matilda (Similar events have been held in Brisbane and Melbourne - this evening)

New Matilda Sydney Event Tuesday 5th. May 2009


Fiona Patten, The Australian Sex Party
Geordie Guy, Electronic Frontiers Australia
Kerry Graham, Inspire Foundation

Tuesday 5 May, 6:00pm

NSW Parliament Theatrette
Parliament of NSW
Macquarie Street, Sydney

This is a free event. RSVP is essential: enquiries(at)
[Please inc: "Sydney Forum" in the subject line]

These events are part of a series of forums. will present an event in Adelaide in coming weeks. We held the first forum in Brisbane in late March.

posted by Bob Bain

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

MARCH IN MARCH 21st. MARCH 2009 Canberra ACT





Parliament House side of Federation Mall, Canberra

(Scroll down for how to get there!)


1:00 PM 21st of March, 2009

(Press conference at 11:00 AM)


The DLC have been organising rallies in capital cities for the past three months raising awareness as to the governments plans to censor the internet and the negative impact involved.

This is only the tip of the wedge of censorship being driven into our society by a vocal minority, as they say, the best time to defend your freedom is while you still have it.

While Senators change their minds daily, and the media report that the filter will go ahead, or won't go ahead almost as regularly--the fact remains--this issue will not be put to bed unless Australians defend their democracy against the very ideology of censorship

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Children in Artworks Protocols - effective January 1st. 2009

Art's Council releases children in Art protocols (Art Council Press Release)
16 December 2008

The protocols address the depiction and employment of children in artworks, exhibitions and publications that receive Australia Council funding.

The protocols include an overview of applicable state and territory laws which form the basis for a set of reasonable minimum standards that will apply to all Australia Council grants from 1 January 2009.

Australia Council chief executive officer Kathy Keele said the protocols will help artists and organisations who work with children do so with proper care and responsibility.

‘The Australia Council has addressed many of the issues raised during an extensive consultation process. We received 42 written submissions on the draft protocols that were released in November, and made several changes as a result. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time make comments and contribute to the protocols,’ she said.

‘We want to help the creative community take appropriate steps when depicting children in artworks, and we believe these protocols strike a good balance between upholding the right to freedom of artistic expression and the rights of children to protection from exploitation.

‘The protocols will have no impact on our assessment of artistic excellence through the peer review process. Applicants will ‘tick a box’ on the application form to indicate whether they plan to work with children. If successful, their contract will confirm the applicants are to comply with the protocols,’ Ms Keele said.

The main changes from the draft to the final protocols include:

  • clarifying that images of children in public situations do not require parental consent
  • clarifying the obligations for artists of getting parental consent
  • limiting the paperwork required for documentation
  • limiting the need for Classification Board review of images of naked children only to those created with the involvement of a real child in the last 18 years, not cartoons or drawings or digital creations made entirely from imagination
  • allowing service organisations funded to host websites where artists upload their own images, providing they have a web policy incorporating the key obligations of the protocols.


Critique by David Marr Sydney Morning Herald December 19th. 2008

"With a scrubbing brush in one hand and a packet of Ajax in the other, the Australia Council is scouring the internet of art. It's not the arts bureaucrats' fault, poor wretches. Being the cleaning ladies of the cyber age is not what they signed up for. They had dreams of "cultivating the nation's creativity" until the Rudd Government put them to work to scrub pictures of children from the net.

Not pornographic pictures. Not obscene pictures. Not just pictures of naked kids. We're talking any pictures of children at all. Once the council's new "Protocols for Working with Children" come into effect on January 1, arts funding will be ripped from anyone posting pictures of children on the internet unless onerous conditions are met.

The nation is moving deep into wacky territory. Trials of compulsory internet filtering are about to start.

A poor bloke in Queensland is in court for forwarding from one internet site to another a weird but happy sequence of an adult swinging a kid around. And now the Australia Council is getting into the business of busting art online.

Even the glimpse of a child will be enough to attract the council's scrubbing brush. A hand or a foot will do."

posted by Bob Bain

Monday, December 8, 2008

Desktop Internet Filtering (uncensored email from Content Watch)

Message received by nocensorshipaus on December 6th. 2008

 December 4, 2008

            We are writing on behalf of ContentWatch, Inc., makers of Net Nanny parental control software. Net Nanny has been the desktop Internet filter of choice for Australians over the last 10 plus years, as well as the leading parental control solution in the world currently installed in 157 countries.

            Net Nanny has proudly worked with ACMA (the Australian Content and Media Authority) over the last 10 years in accepting lists of illegal sites to be blocked to Australian citizens upon installation of Net Nanny.

            Net Nanny was submitted into the original PAFO (Protecting Australian Families Online) scheme and went through several rigorous tests that proved the effectiveness of Net Nanny’s patent-pending Dynamic Contextual Analysis filtering engine. At the time of testing, we were confident that the most trusted brand of consumer Internet filtering in the world would be accepted into the program to help increase the visibility and take-up of desktop filters in the PAFO program. Net Nanny did indeed pass the Additional PC Filter Product invitation, but the PAFO program was frozen before we could be added to the list of approved vendors.

            Since that time, we have followed the Netalert program and the current proposed ISP filtering plan. As a company that provides both consumer desktop filters and filtering appliances that ISPs can use on their back-end, we share many of the same concerns that Australian citizens and ISPs have been voicing as well as some other issues rarely mentioned in this debate.

            At the forefront, the issues around censorship, network performance, filter effectiveness, and ISP liability have been discussed in newspapers, editorials, blogs, etc.  As this is being written, the first ISP in Australia has volunteered to trial the ISP filter program and we all eagerly await the results. We at ContentWatch do not believe the ISP filtering plan goes far enough to help protect Australian families from not only inappropriate and illegal content, but from inappropriate contacts and conduct as well. When looking at the ISP filter plan, a few questions arise:

·    How does the plan help protect families against online predators, cyberbullies, scammers and other people online who have ill-intentions?
·    With the rise of Internet addiction, how will families be able to control the amount of time children are spending online?
·    How does ISP filtering address secure and non-secure proxy web sites and anonymizers, which allow users to circumvent filters to gain access to illegal content?
·    How will the plan prevent P2P downloads and copyright infringement?
·    How can families adjust the filter to meet their personal family values based on religious or cultural preferences?
·    How does the ISP filter keep up with new content and web sites as they are created, in particular in the Web 2.0 paradigm and the social networking phenomenon?
            With a desktop parental control solution such as Net Nanny, every family in Australia can have confidence that not only are illegal web sites like child porn being blocked for their safety, but all of the above issues are addressed in such a solution.

Net Nanny 6.0, released 2 weeks ago, features unprecedented protection for families by issuing parental alerts around instant messages involving cyberbullying and cyberpredators, incorporates social network profile reporting and also aggressively blocks and filters anonymizers and encrypted proxy servers commonly used by teens to circumvent filters. This recent release of Net Nanny has earned the top software review award for the 2nd year in a row in the U.S., the PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award for Parental Controls. Additionally, Net Nanny has now been selected as the top ranked Internet filter for 5 years running on as well as rated #1 by 6 other review sites. Net Nanny is also proud to announce that we also now protect families who use Macs.

            If the Australian government were to take a more aggressive  and pro-active role in actually facilitating the distribution of desktop filters to all Australian families, the program would go a long way in being more effective and allowing families to take responsibility for what comes into their home over the Internet. The current funding for the program allocates dollars to both ISP and PC level filters. As the most widely accepted and recognized desktop PC filter in Australia, Net Nanny is supportive of the program to protect families and would help ensure the uptake of the software and visibility of the initiative.

            This could be done in a cost effective manner by using the ISPs to deliver the software freely to their customers. For example, TTNet, the largest broadband services provider in Turkey has over 235,000 customers using Net Nanny filtering as part of their value-added services. In a more far-reaching proposal, the government could send a CD to every home with children as well as making CDs freely available in places that families and children frequent, such as stores, restaurants, schools, libraries, sporting events.  All of these physical locations can take part in raising awareness of the issues while distributing the needed tools for families.

            Anything that ContentWatch can do to help clarify and further the discussion around the best options to protect families in Australia, we are more than willing to do. We look forward to being engaged in this important Australian government initiative. 
Larry Aiken                                         Peter Ferioli    
Director of Channel Sales                    Director of Net Nanny Operations

.gif images of signatures were included with the email

posted by admin (nocensorshipaus)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cyber Law Centre ISP Level Filtering Forum 27th November 2008

 These are a few media responses to the  Cyber Law Centre ISP Level Filtering Forum (University of NSW)

Net Filters Debated by Experts at Cyber Law Forum Kathryn Small 28th November 2008

But the mood of the day was summed up by a sixteen-year-old student who addressed the conference about her experiences with web filters.

“I have been surfing the web for most of my school life, at school and home, with filters and without, and I have never accidentally stumbled upon pornographic material,” she said.

“We want education, not restriction.”

A National banter on Filtering James Hutchinson 28th November 2008

Guess what Mr. Conroy? There's a sound coming from UNSW Kensington campus, and it's a big and resounding "NO". It's not a "no" as in, "we want free Internet so we can look at kiddy porn guilt-free". In fact, anyone who linked freedom and child pornography at the discussion was guaranteed to be shown the front door.

Instead, it appears that even those present at the discussion that would have a hand to play in imposing the filter - namely representatives from Optus and Cisco - are negative toward the entire process and for good reason. The filter won't work and people will simply bypass it. Our government might have the same ambition as China, but it certainly doesn't have the will or guts to police it.

Brisbane Times Asher Moses November 28th 2008

Support for the Government's plan to censor the internet has hit rock bottom, with even children's welfare groups now saying that that the mandatory filters, aimed squarely at protecting kids, are ineffective and a waste of money.

posted by Bob Bain 29th. November 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Quote from "Good Weekend" 4th. October 2008 (Bill Henson)

"Is there a point in trying to control, almost as a kind of thought police, the endless ever-changing  infinitely various unstoppable
human imagination that's out there?  Every back fence you go over has got a different bunch of people and a different bunch of whatever is in their heads.  I think it's a  pointless exercise trying to control it."

 quote attributed to Bill Henson (artist and photographer) SMH Good Weekend October 4th. 2008. (article by David Marr)

posted by Bob Bain

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Aboriginals can't be trusted with raunchy pay TV: Opposition

The Liberals are pushing in the Senate for a "blanket ban" on pornography on pay TV available in Aboriginal communities, claiming that it leads to abuse.

In a move that combines all the usual suspects - hand waving arguments, save-the-children hysteria ("watching pornography led to child abuse"), and government paternalism, they have managed to add racism as well. It's hard for me, personally, to imagine that any aboriginal Australian would not be insulted by this call which paints them as such out-of-control child abusers that they can't be allowed to watch a blue movie on the telly.

Of course, since the South Australian senator Cory Bernardi was quoted as saying, "the Coalition supports a blanket ban on pornography on pay TV," it may be the case that want to push this campaign even further in the future. Fortunately the Rudd Government has so far not indicated any willingness to play along either in the NT or the country as a whole.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Software Freedom Day Melbourne

At the Software Freedom Day to be held in Melbourne ( Saturday 20th September 2008 )

Dale Clapperton of Electronic Frontiers Australia will spend a hour from 12 noon "presenting on a range of issue concerning your on-line freedoms and rights".

Brianna Laugher will spend an hour from 2 pm discussing 'How Free Software makes Wikipedia Possible".

Both of these presentations and discussions could refer to censorship related issues.

posted by Bob Bain

Friday, September 12, 2008

ALP warns against censorship (2003) !

From The Age Saturday 5 July 2003, 8:05 AM

ALP warns against film censorship

The closing down of the screening of banned film Ken Park in Sydney was disturbing, the federal opposition said.

Police intervened to stop the film being shown at a public meeting in the inner-Sydney suburb of Balmain and confiscated three DVD copies of the film.

The event's organisers, including film critic Margaret Pomeranz, are likely to receive an official police caution.

Shadow minister for the arts, Kate Lundy, said there was community concern that the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) was making "increasingly conservative and restrictive decisions".

"I believe that in a free society adults should be able to view whatever they want, provided that those involved in the making of the film have broken no laws," she said in a statement.

"I am concerned that the OFLC seems to have made a decision at variance with many other countries.

"Ken Park has been shown commercially at many other film festivals around the world and has been sold commercially to 30 countries."

Senator Lundy questioned whether the OFLC decision genuinely reflected community standards.

"Our classification regime must not be allowed to become a censorship regime," she said.

©2003 AAP

posted by Bob Bain

Live ISP filtering trial coming soon

Australian IT reports this morning that live ISP Filtering trials are set to commence after next month. Expressions of interest will be sought from ISPs during October.


The Government will seek expressions of interest in the second half of October for ISPs to participate in live trials, a spokesperson for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said.


About $49 million of the allocation has been slated for online law enforcement, but it remains unclear how much has been set aside solely for web filtering, as the budget includes research, international collaboration and education programs.

But the actual cost of internet censorship to taxpayers has yet to be quantified.

Some industry observers believe internet users, not ISPs, could be forced to subsidise the program, with early estimates pointing to $60 million a year.


posted by Michael Meloni

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Other wikis - Encyclopedia Dramatica

The article Internets (from Encyclopedia Dramatica - a wiki) contains images and material arguably far more controversial than anything Wikipedia may publish but in my view it is both informative and educational.

It is somewhat of a mystery if wikis such as Encyclopedia Dramatica would fall under the "banned and/or offensive" category of Senator Stephen Conroy's censoring (filtering) plan and/or if adults in Australia would be permitted to view it.

Warning the site referred to may contain images or material potentially more offensive than anything contained in Wikipedia as mentioned in a reply to a response to an entry regarding alleged offensive content in Wikipedia. ( link to earlier posting and my answer to that response )

posted by Bob Bain

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sexually graphic images on Wikipedia stir debates (continuation of a theme)

According to Computerworld today (10 Sep 2008)

Wikipedia has come under fire from some child protection groups over the inclusion of graphic sexual images in some entries. Childwise head Bernadette McMenamin told News Limited that some of the images easily accessible via the site crossed the line to what is deemed sexually explicit. The page on 'hardcore pornography', for instance, includes two stills from behind the scenes at a pornographic movie set, including one featuring explicit sex.


The article continues..

Wikipedia has a strict anti-censorship policy – the phrase 'Wikipedia is not censored' is included in what is essentially the group's mission statement. As is the warning that "Wikipedia cannot guarantee that articles or images will always be acceptable to all readers, or that they will adhere to general social or religious norms."


The Wikipedia article (embedded link above) notes that "Since 1969, most of the world's liberal democracies have taken steps to legalize hardcore pornography. or they increasingly fail to enforce legislation to prohibit it resulting in de facto legalization."

The latter statement is to all intents and purposes the case in New South Wales, where the alleged pornographic image depicted in the Wikipedia article would be considered mild to inconsequential by those familiar with what is on sale and often mislabeled as being "X" rated (a legal rating for the Australian Capital Territory) despite often falling outside the official "guidelines" - noting that "guidelines" are just that.

The law does not state that a legal classification has to satisfy the guidelines. The process of classification is a discretionary one as is the right to import from overseas - qualified by statements such as "to the extent the item should not be classified/imported" (paraphrased) and in my view the onus of proof should lie with those who wish to hinder freedom of sexual expression as to why an item should NOT be classified or imported rather than the reverse situation that appears to apply)


I have noted in the past that some corporate filters block access to wikis (of which Wikipedia is just one) thus depriving employees of a useful and frequently updated source of information. This poster is not convinced that this is a healthy trend. There is a trend for some Universities to debunk Wikipedia, but again I feel this is merely to bolster their position as one of the major sources of legitimate information - despite the fact that much of that information is itself censored and I would suggest the recent book "The Porn Report" is an excellent example of this (based on a talk given by the author to the Sydney Institute) which is at the time of posting available for download from the Sydney Institute(click on the podcast section and click the podcast download for the 21st May 2008 ). I understand the research framework forbade investigation into illegal sources of pornographic content thus confining research into items legally classified by the Australian Classification Board.

It is known that University staff use Wikipedia as a source of information. We live in a changing world.

posted by Bob Bain

Wiki Worries ?

YouTube Video (link)

The clip above was captured from the Channel 7 Sunrise Program this morning (10th Sep 2008) and discusses possible censorship of Wikipedia in respect of information and images regarding sexual content (referred to as "pornographic" by Professor Brooks).

Commentary by Media Studies Professor Karen Brooks.

posted by Bob Bain