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Australia goes stark raving mad over Net censorship

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The South Australia Parliament is pushing an Internet censorship bill that will make it an offence for anyone to post any information deemed offensive to children anywhere on the Internet. And it's the police that get to decide what is and isn't offensive.

In what is clearly politicians gone barking mad, fines of up to $10,000 can be levied against any individual that posts material seen as unsuitable for minors. The country's film certification system will be used to rate how strong material is - but the police will NOT have to go through an independent adjudicator, they can decide themselves whether the posting breaks the law.

It is expected that the Bill will be pulled into all other Australian states' legislation in the future.

The basic premise of the legislation appears to be that since kids are able to access Internet sites at any time, then everything on the Internet ought to be acceptable to children. This is clearly bonkers thinking seeing as Australia's laws will have no effect on the rest of the world - which contains more than its fair share of "unsuitable" material. Unless of course Australia is thinking of going China's route and running ISPs through the government and blocking any sites outside the country.

Even crazier is that removal of the content is no defence to the legislation. If it goes up at all, you are guilty. The only exception is ISPs - otherwise the entire Internet in Australia would grind to a halt.

And how come a film certification system is to be used to rate Internet content? Bonkers. Anyway, so ludicrous is this legislation that we decided we'd have to get it from the horse's mouth. Sadly South Australia and UK time zones don't interact with one another. We searched the South Australia Parliament Web site but their search function is useless and the site is poorly updated.

Therefore, we have found a news story, which we shamelessly use as defence in case this whole thing is some kind of bizarre joke. It comes from Australia IT. It also has more information if you're interested. Have a look here. ®

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Our defense if this insane Bill turns out to be a sick joke.

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