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[Amiga Report Magazine supports the free exchange of information over the
Internet in all nations.  While the content of Amiga Report does not fall
under anybody's current interpretation of "objectionable", we believe that
the successful dissemination of all forms of information depends on free
access to all others.  Any restrictions on Internet access and exchange are
impediments to our mission, and censorship of any material is only a
precedent for more control.  As such, we urge interested Australians to
investigate this event, and urge our readers worldwide to take steps
now--even in those countries where your rights have not yet been
threatened--to ensure that publications like Amiga Report retain free and
clear channels of distribution.  -Jason]

Zip Australia supports the right to free speech on the Internet, and would
like to see that the proposed laws censoring the internet are NOT
implemented.  We would like to see all Zipsters (and non-Zipsters alike:)
participating in this march on state parliament.

The lowdown is that the state Government wants to make only 'G' rated
material available on the 'net, meaning that various things including
medical information and some on line art will be illegal to obtain, and
making the provider responsible.  A bit like prosecuting Teltsra for
customers using colourful language during a conversation (even if the two
people consent!).  Even some material that can be freely broadcast over the
radio will be illegal!

As well as this being a law against free speech, the nature of the internet
makes it impossible to police fairly.

Below is a repost of some of the discussion going on about the leaflet to
be distributed to the public and MPs.  Note that the final content will
most likely change slightly, with lots of people chipping in with ideas.

(Thanks to Thorfinn (thorfinn@zip) for informing us)

Hope to see you all there!


> From: Peter Merel <pete@zip.com.au>
> Subject: Re: Electronic Freedom March on NSW Parliament - leaflet
> Date: 22 Apr 1996 01:00:30 +1000

Okey-doke, I've had a go at revamping Richard Ling's pamphlet.  I liked the
form that Richard adopted quite a lot, but I didn't think he phrased things
so that our average Joe Blow could understand them.  What follows is, like
Richard's effort, tentative and preliminary, but imho it's close to
something that will penetrate the average mind.  Might make a good web page
too if Danny thinks it's worth formatting.

Any and all comments, criticisms, refutations, rewrites and replacements
very very welcome.  If folks think that Richard's original works better
than this, I have no problem with that either.  Perhaps Mick can tell us
whether the length is okay, and if anyone has any ideas about graphic
images to go along with this, that'd be great too.  Don't sit on your
hands!

--

                       5 MYTHS ABOUT THE INTERNET
                       --------------------------

MYTH 1:  The internet is full of pornography.

In fact, pornography on the Internet is just a tiny fraction of what goes
on there - it's like the number of sex-shops in Sydney as opposed to all
the other shops.  Just like in Sydney, if you look up "sex-shops" in the
online Yellow Pages, you'll find a few.  But if you don't actually go
inside them, you'll never see any pornography at all - just like real
sex-shops.

The Carr government doesn't understand this.  Carr has never used the net,
and he imagines it's like some kind of TV show.  He thinks all the porn on
the net will be right there in everyone's faces.  This is the same as
thinking that Sydney is nothing but an X-rated cinema.

Because of this stupid misunderstanding, the Carr government will make
every NSW Internet user a target for extortionists and hooligans from all
over the world.  Under Carr's new Internet laws, if an extortionist sends
you a pornographic picture, which any one of 100 million people on the
global Internet could do, for free, in perfect anonymity, with just one
click of the mouse, you'd be up for a $25,000 dollar fine and/or 6 months
in jail.

This new legislation will neither prevent access to Internet porn nor shut
down the real pornographers.  What it will do is make you and your Internet
provider into targets for extortion and entrapment.

MYTH 2:  Internet users are constantly at risk of being exposed to
         objectionable material.

Imagine you're down at the pub, and someone starts telling a dirty joke. 
Happens all the time, doesn't it?  No one minds much, because if you don't
want to hear the joke, you don't need to hear it - you can walk off and go
talk with some other people.  No one forces you to listen.

It's exactly the same on the Internet.  On the net you will only see what
you go looking for.  You can filter out what you don't like.  You can
always let both a dirty-joker and any interested Internet users know how
you feel about what is said.  The net is conversational, like a world-wide
pub.

The Carr government doesn't understand this.  It wants to spend hundreds of
millions of dollars to install policemen with sensitive eavesdropping
equipment all over NSW.  The moment one of Carr's police hears someone
start to tell a dirty joke, they'll fine them $25,000 and throw them in
jail.

Even worse, if you happen to be within earshot of a dirty-joker, even if
you're asleep or not listening, Carr will drag you into a courtroom to have
you prove that you weren't involved.  And if you can't prove it, then Carr
will fine you $25,000 and shove you in the clink too.

MYTH 3:  Pornography can be stopped by imposing a statewide or national ban.

Teenagers scrawl rude words and pictures of genitals on the walls of public
lavatories.  While these things are distasteful, no one gets particularly
upset about them, because, unless you spend all your time reading lavatory
walls, these things are only a momentary nuisance.

It's the same on the Internet; pornography is usually scanned in by
teenagers and "scrawled" onto public forums that are automatically copied
to every computer in the world.  But most users don't see any of this,
because there are millions of different "walls" on the net, and only a
handful are devoted to the equivalent of lavatory graffiti.

The Carr government doesn't understand this.  Rather than ignore lavatory
grafitti as the momentary nuisance that it actually is, Carr wants to set
up the Internet equivalent of video-cameras monitoring all public urinals.
Never mind the fact that this would cost hundreds of millions, Carr says
that if you have the online equivalent of a call of nature, and you see an
obscenity on an online "lavatory wall", that's worth $25,000 and 6 months
in a prison surrounded by rapists and murderers.

Even if this insane policy were pursued, it would catch no one but the
innocent.  Real online pornographers have free worldwide access to
"encryption" and "steganography" software on the Internet - the equivalent
of a graffiti-kid wearing a mask and writing in invisible ink.  Carr's
monitoring software could never catch the originators of the grafitti,
because these schemes are so mathematically tough to decode that it would
take all the world's computers working for a thousand years before even one
pornographer could be found.  And even then Carr would have no way of
proving whose finger was on the mouse.

So the only people Carr can catch will be the poor unsuspecting folks who
wander into the wrong stall at the wrong time.  And, to justify the massive
expense of this absolutely futile campaign, you can bet he'll crucify them.

MYTH 4:  There's no existing solution to this problem.

Places like King's Cross exist online.  Right now, none of them exist in
Australia, but they're directly accessible from here.  They'll tell you how
to mix up the drugs, they'll sell you the vilest pornography imaginable,
and they'll seduce your children into addiction and sickness, just like the
real King's Cross.

But the Internet also offers your children all the advantages of the finest
university education, unlimited access to the most beautiful artworks, and
expert advice on absolutely anything that interests them.  The net holds
out unlimited financial, social and educational advantages to your children
- any Australian child who can't use these advantages is already well on
their way to the 21st century scrap-heap.  If you love your kids, you can't
afford to deny them these opportunities.

Now keeping your kids away from the real King's Cross is *YOUR* job, not
Bob Carr's.  No one can watch your kids for you.  No one can keep them out
of trouble but you.  And it's just the same on the net.  Filter programs
like "Net Nanny" and "SurfWatch", are very helpful in keeping an eye on
your kids, but at the end of the day it's *YOUR* job to supervise your
children on the net.  If your kids are going to be able to cope with the
revolutionary technology of the next century, they need you to give them
the advice that only you, as a parent, know how to give.

But the Carr government doesn't understand this.  If your kids stumble onto
an online "Playboy" then Carr isn't satisfied with you giving them your
parental advice.  Instead, he wants to fine you $25,000 dollars and throw
you in jail for six months.  And if he can't get you, then he wants to get
the administrators and owners of the business that sells you access to the
Internet - or anyone, so long as he can look like a "tough guy on porn".

MYTH 5.  Censoring the Internet is just responsible government.

What's the big deal with the Internet?  If the net is just people talking
to one another, why crack down on it?  If two consenting adults want to
share naughty bits online, is that worse than what they want to do in their
bedrooms?  If you want to discuss sex, drugs or anything else online, is
that worse than what you talk about down at the pub?

In fact, it's just the same thing.  People are just the same online as they
are offline.  If Bob Carr has no business telling you what you can do in
your bedroom, then neither does he have any business telling you what you
can email to your partner over the Internet.  If Bob Carr doesn't have any
business monitoring your conversations in the pub, then neither does he
have any business eavesdropping on your transactions on the net.

But, worse, Carr's new laws will stop you and your children getting
financial, educational and social opportunities that can hugely enrich your
lives.  That's the same kind of thinking that burns books, that jails
dissidents, and that opposes freedom of speech.  Carr's legislation is a
vastly expensive PR exercise that belongs in Beijing, not in Sydney.

Let's stop this Big-Brother rubbish right now.  If we don't want Carr
monitoring every phone call in NSW, making us vulnerable to online
extortion, destroying our kids' opportunities for a first-world future and
squandering hundreds of millions of dollars of our taxes on his paranoia,
then we need to make ourselves visible. 

On May 27, at 12.30, lunchtime, protestors will gather in the Sydney
Domain.  At 1pm we're going to march on the NSW parliament.  This will be a
peaceful protest, and if the police tell us to disperse then we will. 
Smiles, food and music are very welcome.  Please encourage your friends and
colleagues to come along.  Many people are also going to wear blue ribbons,
the international symbol of free speech.  But the main thing is to turn up
- show Carr that you care.  And that you vote.

-- 
mailto:pete@zip.com.au                 |            Accept Everything.  |
http://www.zip.com.au/~pete/           |            Reject Nothing.     |

BB et al.

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