Australia - Porn sites head offshore to beat law
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- Subject: Australia - Porn sites head offshore to beat law
- From: David Goldstein <david.g at start dot com dot au>
- Date: Tue, 08 Jun 1999 18:01:29 "GMT"
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Hi all A story from the Sydney Morning Herald regarding the legislation in australia to deal with the Internet. Cheers David Wednesday, June 9, 1999 Porn sites head offshore to beat law By MARK FORBES http://www.smh.com.au/news/9906/09/pageone/pageone2.html Major Australian Internet pornography operators are moving their operations offshore in an effort to frustrate the Federal Government's planned crackdown on "smut sites". The development heightens suspicions that the new legislation is unworkable and will be circumvented, according to leading industry figures. Detailed instructions on how to evade the new laws on online services have already been posted on the Internet. They include copying hardcore material onto many "mirror" sites, besieging authorities with spurious complaints, "masking" content and encrypting material. A spokesman for the Communications Minister, Senator Alston, expressed surprise that advice was being dispensed on evading the law. "These people should examine their legal position," he said. The changes, which aim to ban X-rated or unclassified material on the Internet and restrict R-rated material to adults, have been approved by the Senate and should become law after moving through the Lower House later this month. It has been estimated that there are more than 500 Australian adult sites, many containing X-rated material. Estimates of the turnover of the Australian sites range from around $10 million to more than $15 million. The operator of the most popular Australian-registered adult site, Dangerdave, saidhe had spent the past three weeks "de-Australianising" his operation. "We are all doing it," he said. All of his 70 sites were now located on American servers. Other big operators who were not already based offshore were also removing or relocatingtheir Australian-based links. Many smaller "hobby" operators were simply closing their sites, he said. Several other operators confirmed they were moving their sites. "Yes we are moving," one said. "And all of the half-dozen hardcore operators I know have moved offshore, too." The adult industry body, Eros, said it had been besieged with calls from American Internet service providers who believed the changes would boost their business. "It will be impossible to regulate these sites from overseas," said the spokeswoman for Eros, Ms Fiona Patten. The vice-president of Ozemail, which hosts more than 20 per cent of Australia's Internet traffic, Mr Michael Ward, said it could not block overseas adult content as required under the changes. "There are no reasonable steps that are technologically feasible or commercially viable to block that material," he said. "There is not the remotest possibility the legislation in its current form can meet its objectives. Short of creating a separate Internet in Australia with a filter between us and the rest of the world, there is no way of doing this." The president of the Electronic Frontier's Association, Mr Kim Heitman, said his organisation would post a range of "effective, legal and user-friendly tactics" to circumvent the new laws. Mr Heitman said keyword filters were the only technology available to block pornography. These shut down access to sites using common sexual terms. Such filters blocked many legitimate sites and could be avoided by removing the keywords while retaining hardcore images. "The bill simply won't work, it's so easy to get around it." ___________________ David Goldstein 5 Coles L, Oakington, Cambridge, CB4 5BA, UK email: david.g at start dot com dot au; ICQ:32130305; phone:+44 (0)1223 237 700(w); +44 (0)1223 574 857(h);+44 (0)7979 965 503(mob);fax:+44 1223 235 870 ___________________ __________________________________________________________________ Get your free Australian email account at http://www.start.com.au/ * APPLe: To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe" to apple-request at apnic dot net *