I’m regularly being surprised by the number of people who are letting their anger at the Australian Rabbit-Proof Firewall cloud their judgement and ability to analyze things clearly. I too am completely opposed to the Rabbit-Proof Firewall in its current form, but lets take some realistic looks at what can be seen on the list.
One thing that majority of people seem to be forgetting, Michael Meloni and Mark Newton included, is that it’s not just about the content hosted on the site. It is also about the delivery methods. I know people hate comparing new media to old media, but it’s the clearest way I can think of to give an example of what I am talking about.
When it comes to pornography on old media, most people think magazines. There’s limites to not only what you can and can’t show in magazines, but also in what you can and can’t show depending on the restriction methods. If you want to have skin showing but no boobs or genetalia on the cover, your magazine is allowed to have its entire cover being displayed on the stand. Exposed boobs require a bit of censorship, the more you show inside the magazine and on the cover the more restrictions you have in place right down to the magazine having to be in a sealed plastic cover with a large non see-through patch covering the magazine.
Now in the final example where the magazine is one that must be in a non see-through sealed plastic bag, although the content itself (the pictures in the pages) themselves are legal. If you take two copies of the magazine, take one out of the sealed plastic cover and put both back on the shelf, what do you have? One is now illegal and one is now legal. They are both the EXACT same magazine with the EXACT same content, but because one is being distributed WITHOUT the required age verifications, that makes that particular magazine’s distribution illegal.
For new media I will use an example which has been mentioned on almost every website with an article about the blacklist … abbywinters. The ONLY parts of Abbywinters which are blocked are the free tours and the base page, both of which display full frontal nudity without age verification. This method of distribution according to all Australian laws is illegal. These are examples of the magazine that is not inside the sealed plastic cover.
The sections of abbywinters behind the login page (which does adequate age verification at time of signup) and the login page itself are all accessible! These are examples of the magazine still inside the sealed plastic cover. The difference is the distribution method, nothing more nothing less.
This is the key to what can be seen on the ACMA blacklist. Same website, same images in some cases, but examples of legal and illegal distribution. It is only the sections being distributed illegally that appear on the 18th March 2009 ACMA blacklist.
99.99% of the list then can be summed up as the following: Illegally distributed porn, childporn, terror on teh interwebs (anti-zombie website which tells you how to make a small bomb), incest, euthenasia instructions (not just discussion).
There’s that, and 3 other pages.
1. A website link anonymiser. The idea behind it is that the linked-to website cannot see in the server logs where the person who clicks on the link is coming from. I am completely at a loss as to how this is illegal.
2. The dutch blacklist. Again, I’m at a loss as to how this is illegal. The best possible excuse I can think of is that it is a link to a link to a page of links to illegally distributed content.
3. A ballroom dancing website’s guestbook which has had the crapola spammed out of it. Again the best possible excuse I can think of is that it is a link to a link to a page of links to illegally distributed content.
Can anyone tell me if it is actually illegal to link to such things in this country, or are all three examples above overly-zealous?
I’m sure there’s more 100% legal pages and sites I missed when perusing the list, but that’s the best I have found for now.