Censorship in Australia
Those Australians are such an amusing lot. Can you believe — they allow their government to decide what they are allowed to read! As if they were children! Go here to find the details of eight books which are banned in Australia (and there are lots more than these eight). If I were Australian I'd be pretty pissed off that someone, whether acting with the "authority" (ha!ha!) of the Australian government or not, would try to tell me what books I could or could not read.
The Australian government also bans films — can you believe it? How pathetic!
The Australian Office of Film & Literature Classification, which is responsible for deciding which books and films should be banned, presents itself as
Huh? "Informing your Choices"!? A good example of government deception. If the Australian government bans a book or a film then Australians do not have an informed choice as to whether to read that book or see that film, they have no choice, because the government has already chosen to ban it. "Informing your Choices" here really means: "We (your rulers) will choose for you as to whether you should read this book or see this film. Leave it (kiddies) to us. We know what is best for you."
If you wish to read how the Australian government attempts to justify its role as censor then you can read their Publications Guidelines, which states:
The matters to be taken into account in making a decision on the classification of a publication include:Who decides what "a reasonable adult" is? Who decides what these supposed "standards" are? That pathetic excuse for a [former] prime minister, John Howard? Or perhaps some faceless bureaucrat with a psychological problem, afraid of anything which challenges his (or her) concept of "morality"? And these "standards" are then to be imposed upon everyone in Australian society.(a) the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults;
Different people, all of them "reasonable adults", may have widely different interests and values. This is a clear case of "the tyranny of the majority" — or actually a tyranny of a minority, since in a pluralistic society no set of "standards" is likely to be those of anything but some minority of the population, which, by means of the Office of Film & Literature Classification, is then able to impose its "standards" on everyone else. So much for freedom in Australia.
Increasingly governments are attempting to prevent public criticism of government policy, even when that criticism is based on scientific evidence. The Australian government is no exception.
Minister denies gagging scientists
Australia, as other Western countries, suffers from a pervasive censorship-by-silence, whereby what is shameful about the country or its government is simply never mentioned in the mainstream media or in polite society. The Australian government's treatment of Australia's original inhabitants, the Aborigines, is shameful. More, it is disgraceful. (The brutality of some thugs in the Australian police force toward aborigines, which the author of this website personally witnessed in the center of Perth in 2002, in full view of the public, is particularly disgusting.) John Pilger exposed this disgrace in a speech he gave on the occasion of his receiving Australia's human rights prize, the Sydney Peace Prize:
Breaking the Australian Silence
Australian Senate Approves Net Censorship PlanOn 1999-05-26 the Australian Senate approved The Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Bill to block information on the Internet. The Australian authorities seem to produce more than their fair share of stupidity. Is it something in the water over there? The fluoride perhaps?
Here is the GILC Member Statement opposing proposal. See also the EF Australia campaign pages.
It took them ten years, but they're finally back:
- Australian government secret ACMA internet censorship blacklist, 6 Aug 2008 (2009-03-18)
- Australian Government adds Wikileaks to banned website list (2009-03-27)
The Australian communications regulator has issued a stark warning that websites who link out to 'banned' hyperlinks are liable to fines of up to Aus $11,000 a day.
- Australian government to censor the Internet by 2011 (2009-12-15)
ZDNet Australia reports that the federal government has announced plans to amend the Broadcasting Services Act, which will require all ISPs to block unapproved content on overseas servers. The legislation will be introduced around mid-2010 and the filtering technology will roll out over a one-year period thereafter.
"Unapproved", eh? And who will do the approving? Will criticism of the Australian government for its Big Brother censorship policy and practice fail to win "approval", thereby denying Australians the right to hear (or rather, read) all sides of an issue? Is Australia worse than China in this respect? What is the Australian government afraid of?
- Google and Yahoo criticise Australia's 'heavy-handed' internet filter plans (2010-03-29)Lucinda Barlow of Google Australia told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the proposal raised the possibility of banning politically and socially controversial material and went beyond filters used in Germany, Canada and Italy. Other critics say the filtering would put Australia in the same censorship league as China.
- Some Obligatory Reading On The Internet Filter Issue (2009-12-27)
- Daily Kos: Wikileaks' Founder Has Passport Confiscated (2010-05-18)
Last year, Wikileaks posted information about the Australian government's then secret Internet blacklist, supposedly designed to prevent child pornography but which contained many sites having nothing to do with kiddie porn. The great public outcry against the China-like plan to filter and block Internet content has made Mr. Assange persona non grata in many Australian government official's views.
- Glen Greenwald: WikiLeaks founder has his passport confiscated (2010-05-19)
The Australian document was so damaging because the Australian government claimed that the to-be-banned websites were all associated with child pornography, but the list of the targeted sites including many which had nothing to do with pornography. That WikiLeaks was then added to the list underscores the intended abuse.
- Wikileaks removed from ACMA blacklist (2010-11-29)
In March 2009 the ACMA revealed that a number of pages on Wikileaks were put on the blacklist of banned websites because the pages linked to websites on Denmark's blacklist. However, the ACMA today revealed that Wikileaks was no longer on its blacklist of websites.
- Gag Order On International Corruption Investigation Leaked (2014-07-31)
A secret injunction issued in Australia that forbids reporting bribery allegations involving international leaders has been released by WikiLeaks.
Censorship of Historian David Irving
Australian Government Denies Right of ExpressionThe Australian government has refused three times to grant a visa to historian David Irving. Some people in Australia (could they be Jews?) are afraid that if he visits Australia some Australians may hear him speak. With what consequences? Some might begin to think. Oh, horror!
In accordance with the principles of libertarianism enunciated by John Stuart Mill every person has a right to express themselves in public to any others who care to listen to them, provided only that that expression is not an incitement to violence. David Irving's claims that the number of Jews killed by the Nazis has been grossly exaggerated (see also Norman Finkelstein on The Holocaust Industry) is a historical claim, and clearly is not an incitement to violence. Therefore he has a right to speak. By denying him a visa the Australian government is denying him this right, in effect censoring his words before he even has a chance to utter them.
For further details about this matter see: Documents on Free Speech in Australia, and the country's Ban on David Irving. In late 2003 David Irving was finally granted permission to visit Australia to give public talks in defense of his views.
In November 2005 David Irving was arrested in Austria. For links to documents relating to the subsequent 2006 show trial of David Irving in Austria click here. And on the same page are links concerning attempted censorship of any criticism of the official story of "The Holocaust".
Censorship of Academic Research
- Liam Tung: Dangerous minds: Are maths teachers Australia’s newest threat? (2015-06-08)
Australian academics who teach mathematics may need to run new ideas by the Department of Defence before sharing them or risk imprisonment. ...
From November 2016 Australian academics could face a potential 10-year prison term for sending information overseas if their ideas fall within the Defence Strategic Goods List (DSGL). Put another way, they could be jailed for delivering online course material to foreign students or providing international peers with access to a server hosting that material. ...
Academics ... are nervous that "overly broad" definitions in the DSGL could land them in court for teaching cryptography, high performance computing, image and signals processing and a number of other fields.
As somebody working in a field that may be affected by this legislation, I can say that this does not just cover "extremely high level mathematics " associated with modern cryptosystems. It covers all information security research, including attempts to remediate vulnerabilities that may potentially be useful to the Intelligence services of Australia or the other Five Eyes (including the US). An example might illustrate what I mean. Let's say that you discover a 0-day vulnerability in a popular web browser. Rather than revealing this to the manufacturer so that they can patch it and thus improve the online safety of the general public, you need to reveal it to Defence so that they will decide whether you are permitted to disclose it to anybody at all - even if it is secretly being exploited in the wild. Not only are you forbidden to reveal your research under penalty of serious criminal sanctions, but also you are prevented from revealing (especially to the press!) that you have been gagged. Also, if the DSD or some intelligence agency at home or abroad decides that your research is useful to backdoor people's computers, they can take possession of your work without paying you any compensation whatsoever. I can understand in an abstract sense why the government wants the DSGL to include non-material information transfers, but the potential abuse of the legislation to stifle legitimate security research conducted in the public interest is downright frightening. I have no doubt it will be used to increase the power of the state at the expense not only of individual liberty, but also the security of general public against both cybercrime and government snooping.
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