Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Because You Should Know

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  • Mark Harris,

    Doesn't this apply to everything off the internet as well? Shouldn't they use the same standards that the censors use in relation to books, magazines, dvds, computer games etc?

    They do, as Emma notes, already use different rules for different media, but they use the rules established by the Censor. They don't make up their own rules. And, where there's doubt, they can refer an item to the Censor for a decision.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    which is why you'll never see a book with an M15+ sticker on it.

    Must remember Kyles from Otago where even personal correspondence is run by the Censor...

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10584138

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Can I recommend Mr Harris' lengthy post about this topic a few months back. From a rare perspective.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Why thank you. ::blushes::

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I figure it's not linkwhoring if someone does it for you. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Kyle, that was in response to Tess's initial comment

    OK. I was just curious why you'd argue against blocking objectionable material on the internet. Is that an argument you'd use for all media?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    That was a good read. I particularly agree with:

    this stuff is pretty bad and keeping people from inadvertently stumbling over it is probably in their interest.

    as a primary focus. Question I have is as Emma mentioned; the DIA will be keeping a log of people who try to access these links. Weighed up against the secretive nature of the list, the process seems a little convoluted. If no one knows what's on the list what's to stop citizens from attempting to access the sites and being logged, of what value are logs of users inadvertently attempting to access contraband compared to say logs of those bypassing said filters and in turn intentionally accessing the contraband?

    Also with regards to the secrecy surrounding the list. It's not an impossibility that people will by whatever means compile their own version of the list and make it available, potentially profitably. The notion that the list should be kept secret seems to implicate the god fearing population's resistance around temptation.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I don't see how a non-secret list of that type becomes anything other than a menu for perverts, sadly.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Though I am mindful of the risk that non-harmful material may over time get added to the banned list by prigs and wowsers.

    Is there an arrangement anywhere that works?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    But Sacha are we primarily trying to catch the perverts or are we protecting the majority? Whose needs are the government catering for? Who is it their mandate to cater for? There seem to be two issues there.

    In China there's a forest of blocked sites, it's not going to take me long to make you a partial list of those that a blocked simply by trying to access them and making an educated guess as to why they're not opening. Likewise it doesn't take more than a few clicks to get warez to bypass the filters. To pretend that the filter is to stop the perverts is a misapprehension of it's limitations.

    By not making the list available are the DIA helping or a hindering the general line renting population's autonomy over their right to ensure their network is not habitually illegally used? Couldn't they possibly face termination, prosecution or at the very least the disruption of an impeding investigation into a user on their network?

    If you'll excuse my analogy; telling people that [blank] is an illegal film, is not sufficient information to ensure I won't inadvertently watch it. As mentioned, I think transparency is an issue. Especially in a democracy. If a site is blocked in NZ, and a user is using a proxy unaware that it is blocked, they may commit a criminal offence, but is there wrongdoing involved? and foremost were they or their children adequately protected from exposure to this material by a list of illegal sites that no one has seen?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Should not knowing what is illegal as part of good parenting be a criminal offence in New Zealand? If fourteen year old Tom is accessing these sites via a proxy, wouldn't any parent prefer to try to deal with that problem before it ends him up in court?

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    I'm finding this all a wee bit worrying.
    If one clicks on a link and it leads to one of the covertly banned sites, and you knew nothing about the content of the site (maybe the link label looked innocent, or the source of the link was an otherwise trusted correspondent) and suddenly the DIA is logging your details without you even knowing about it. All you know is that the link doesn't seem to work.

    So you try it a couple more times, setting alarm bells jingling at the DIA before thinking "bloody link's rooted" and giving up. Unknown to you, the thought police® now have you fingered as a suspect despite the fact that you are blissfully innocent.

    I understand Sacha's point about the list, if published, becoming a menu for perverts but how can they consider (if indeed, they are considering) taking punitive action against someone on the basis of trying to access something that no-one has indicated is illegal/unsavoury?

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Wasn't my personal point really, and I haven't done the issue justice at all. Generally, keeping things like that secret is too open to misuse by those with access to power. Just saying I can see the argument for not making the list public, though as Emma suggests it's an easy target to start with and then the list is likely to be extended into all sorts of areas that harm nothing other than people's prejudices.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I was just curious why you'd argue against blocking objectionable material on the internet. Is that an argument you'd use for all media?

    Kyle, I've listed my actual problems with this scheme in the article. None of them is 'because it's blocking child pornography'. Regardless of media, 'objectionable' is a subjective term, and I sometimes have problems with the way it's been applied.

    If you do want to read what I think should be done with the net, it's here. It evolves through the comments on that thread. My main focus in re child pornography is on co-operation between different jurisdictions to catch the people making the stuff.

    All you know is that the link doesn't seem to work.

    That's what happens in Britain. Here in NZ you'll get one of these. Our system will at least be honest.

    Is there an arrangement anywhere that works?

    My research over the last couple of years into filtering methods being used in other countries is the reason I'm opposed to ISP-level filtering. This scheme that's being brought in here is the best I've seen, except for the way it's been implemented. I'd still like to know why a list that covers a small fraction of the categories the ACMA list does is seven times as long.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Thanks, Emma. Is that last question ripe for its own Ministerial or OIA request?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Kyles from Otago

    Argh. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    That's what happens in Britain. Here in NZ you'll get one of these. Our system will at least be honest.

    Seems from the details provided in the link that the menu will be made available on the internet dish by dish. Looking for bestiality? heck no this site has been blocked because it has been used for the distribution of images of Child Sexual Abuse. Do children need that much info? Isn't that just an invitation for the would be criminal to turn on the proxy? Maybe it's a peculiar distinction to make, but I'm more in favor of the reasoning for the blockage not being so easily provided (but made available elsewhere), so the average user can just continue their web session unperturbed , while the concerned user can find out more as required. Also would seem that if an error were made by the list compilers that this explanation is unquestionably defamatory. Just a personal view though, probably not held by many.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    @Emma, thanks for clearing up that little matter of what happens if/when you find you have clicked on one of the covert 'dodgy' links. At least one will know one has 'transgressed'.

    I wonder how often (or just how many times) one would have to transgress before being regarded as a possible suspect?

    [I am not an afficionado of dodgy websites, but nor am I keen on people being put under suspicion without knowing the parameters.]

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Is that last question ripe for its own Ministerial or OIA request?

    Might I have spent the last couple of days trying to frame weird indirect questions that might actually get answered? Like, asking about what's NOT on the list? Or OIA-ing them every couple of months and asking if they've blocked any site for any reason other than child pornography? Had occured.

    I have a book to write...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Tess Rooney,

    What if there was an independent review committee to go through the secret list of blocked sites? Perhaps not all the sites, but a random 20% of them, making sure that mission creep had not occurred.

    Since May 2009 • 267 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Stevenson,

    An independent committee to review review government decisions that are not made public?
    So you have to a) find the independant paragons who could do this and b) get the government to appoint them
    Might be easier to get Emma appointed internet Czarina/Chief Censor

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Independent auditing was one of the things my partner suggested while we were discussing this, and the problem is who does it, not least because they have to have the appropriate knowledge base. Would it be an improvement? Yes.

    I should say, in case it sounds otherwise, that it's not that I don't trust the censors or think they're currently doing a good job. It's about protecting the process from potential abuse, when it's all happening behind closed doors.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    It's about protecting the process from potential abuse, when it's all happening behind closed doors.

    That's the real problem: secrecy automatically begats suspicion, and deservedly so. Just look at what the Australians got away with before someone leaked their list.

    Oh, and speaking of the Australians, their scheme seems to be attracting opposition...

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    Might be easier to get Emma appointed internet Czarina/Chief Censor

    I would support that on the condition I could see David Lane's face when he heard.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Logan O'Callahan,

    If words is enough, you can add Petronius' Satyricon to the list of block worthy classics.

    Since Apr 2008 • 70 posts Report Reply

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