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Access Denied documents and analyzes Internet filtering practices in more than three dozen countries, The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering.
Table of contents

The NZ site, which promoted the supposed US urban Afro-American gangster culture, had been the subject of a NZ newspaper report subsequent reports in other media indicate the content was prepared by a person who had never visited the USA. The site was classified objectionable not because of material involving violence and speaking approvingly of killing and arson, but because its expressed attitude to women was found to contravene Section 3 3 e of the Act which prohibits material that: "Represents whether directly or by implication that members of any particular class of the public are inherently inferior to other members of the public by reason of any characteristic of members of that class, being a characteristic that is a prohibited ground of discrimination specified in section 21 1 of the Human Rights Act The R18 category covers all material that is classified restricted to adults, including sexually explicit material.

In , a NZ Parliament Select Committee the Government Administration Committee commenced an inquiry into the operation of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act and related issues including new communications media, the Court decision in Moonen see later herein , and numerous other matters. Public submissions closed on 4 May As at mid March , the Committee had not issued a report on its inquiry. Offline Classification: NZ law does not require publications, other than films and videos, to be classified and labelled prior to being made available to the public publications may be voluntarily submitted for classification.

Access Denied: Censorship and the Internet (Part 2)

Computer games are exempt from classification unless the game would be likely to be restricted if classified. Films and videos falling within exemption criteria in the Act e. Sexually explicit films and videos of the type classified X in Australia are classified "R18" in NZ with a descriptive note "contains explicit sex scenes" attached.

The R18 category covers all material that is classified restricted to adults, not only sexually explicit material. Under New Zealand law, " objectionable " material may encompass a smaller range of material than the nearest equivalent under Australian law. The NZ test for banning material is based on harm: whether the material is "likely to be injurious to the public good". The Australian test is based on offensiveness: whether the material "offend[s] against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults".

In addition, NZ classifiers must take the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act into account for every decision they make, even if the material clearly fits into the criteria set out in Section 3 2 of the NZ Classification Act. In this regard, the NZ Office of Film and Literature Classification states in an article titled Highlights from the Annual Report on its web site that: "Finally, a review of the year cannot go by without some comment on the Court of Appeal's interpretation of s3 2 in Moonen v Film and Literature Board of Review. That case concerned the classification of 37 photographs and one book as objectionable under s3 2 a because the Board of Review found that they "promote or support the exploitation of children, or young persons, or both, for sexual purposes".

Section 3 2 deems such publications to be objectionable. The Court overturned the Board's decision on the ground that the Board insufficiently demonstrated how such a classification was a reasonable and demonstrably justified limitation on the freedom of expression. The new media in Norway is not regulated by law so the only option is to try to keep the public informed. We publish book, booklets and reports on the subject matter.

We also use polling bureaus to help us monitor the development, and give lectures for schools and other interested parties. We also work internationally with these matters and try to stay on top of the events happening internationally, as with the technological developments and social impacts on the field.

Offline Classification: Cinema films are required to be classified by the Norwegian Board of Film Classification, an independent body reporting to the ministry of Cultural Affairs. Classification of videos and DVDs for sale or hire is not mandatory. Video distributors place an advisory age limit on the videos on a voluntary basis, or may obtain a penal code evaluation of the video from the Board.

The videos have to be registered in a video registry and a small number of videos are checked every year. Source: Norwegian Board of Film Classification web site. Saudi Arabia In Saudi Arabia, public access to and from the Internet has been funnelled through a single government controlled centre since February when Internet access was first made available.

From this centre, the government blocks access to Internet content deemed unsuitable for the country's citizens, such as information considered sensitive for political or religious reasons, pornographic sites, etc. The list of rules includes: "1. Anything contravening a fundamental principle or legislation, or infringing the sanctity of Islam and its benevolent Shari'ah, or breaching public decency.

Anything contrary to the state or its system Anything damaging to the dignity of heads of states or heads of credited diplomatic missions in the Kingdom, or harms relations with those countries. For further information, see: Saudi Internet Rules , Council of Ministers Resolution, 12 February Losing the Saudi cyberwar , by Brian Whitaker, The Guardian, 26 Feb "The authorities in Saudi Arabia, who recently boasted that they had found a way to censor the internet, are now licking their wounds in a cyberwar against an opposition group based in London.

But where there is a will there is a way, and there is no shortage of people willing to pay to log onto forbidden websites. Licensees are required to comply with the Class Licence Conditions and the Internet Code of Practice which includes the definition of " prohibited material ". Apparently the Scheme does not apply to all Internet content providers. The Internet Industry Guidelines on the SBA web site state: "Individuals who put up personal web pages are exempted from the Class Licence, unless they are putting these web pages for business, or to promote political or religious causes.

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For example, movie sites which are hosted in Singapore can promote and carry movie clips, even those which do not meet Singapore's standards. The "SBA takes a light-touch approach in regulating services on the Internet. For example, licensees [Internet Content Providers and Internet Service Providers] found to be in breach of regulations will be given a chance to rectify the breach before the Authority takes action.

It does not appear to cover information unsuitable for minors, nor does it contain a requirement that web sites attempt to restrict access to such material to adults. Briefly, "prohibited material" is that which is deemed "objectionable on the grounds of public interest, public morality, public order, public security, national harmony, or is otherwise prohibited by applicable Singapore laws".

The stated factors to be considered in determining what is prohibited material indicate this includes material of a pornographic nature; advocacy of "homosexuality or lesbianism"; depictions of "detailed or relished acts of extreme violence or cruelty" and material that "glorifies, incites or endorses ethnic, racial or religious hatred, strife or intolerance".

An additional factor is "whether the material has intrinsic medical, scientific, artistic or educational value". ISPs are currently only required to limit public access to some high-impact illegal sites [as identified by SBA] as a statement of Singapore's social values.

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Internet Content Providers ICPs are required to exercise judgement with regards to content posted on the Internet according to the definitions of what constitute prohibited material in the Internet Code of Practice. SBA is concerned primarily with pornography, violence and incitement of racial or religious hatred. SBA's purview only covers the provision of material to the public. Private communications, such as email and Internet Relay Chat between two individuals or parties are not covered.

Users can freely access any material on the Internet in the privacy of their own home.

  • The Industrial Communication Technology Handbook (Industrial Information Technology).
  • Access Denied | The MIT Press.
  • Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering;

SBA also does not regulate what companies provide to their employees. ISPs are encouraged to take their own initiative against offensive content through their own Acceptable Use Policies. They are not required to monitor the Internet or their users' Internet activities. ISPs are free to decide which newsgroups to subscribe to based on their business policy and the Code.

We require ISPs to make an initial assessment as to the likelihood of a newsgroup being a conduit for prohibited material. If any subscribed newsgroups is subsequently found to contain a significant amount of prohibited material, we encourage ISPs to exercise judgement on whether to unsubscribe to the newsgroup. There is no need to seek SBA's prior approval for content posted on the Net. ICPs should exercise judgement according to the definitions of what constitute prohibited material.

Licensees who are not sure if their content would be considered prohibited may check with SBA. Previously in May and November , a page on the SBA site stated that " high-impact pornographic sites" were blocked. The page had said: "What are the obligations of the Internet Service Providers?

Internet censorship and surveillance by country

According to the licensing framework, ISPs must exercise their best possible efforts to ensure that the main information highways stay clean. SBA does not want this task to be an onerous one for the ISPs, hence, they are only required to limit access to high-impact pornographic sites. The ISPs are also required to observe the SBA content guidelines to determine which newsgroups they should subscribe to.

SBA encourages industry self-regulation. According to media and other reports, the provisions of the Ordinance are controversial within South Korea. Previous content filtering provisions that were included in a Bill were not passed by the National Assembly due apparently to the harsh criticism it provoked from civic groups.

Recent information on English language web sites regarding the extent and manner of enforcement of the Ordinance is scarce. Information below has been obtained from articles and reports, principally from before and shortly after the Ordinance was enacted, as listed at the end of this section. The Ordinance reportedly contains a number of components including: requiring Internet Service Providers to block access to web sites on a government compiled list, requiring Internet access facilities accessible to youth, such as Internet cafes, public libraries and schools to install filtering software, introduction of an internet content rating system.

The ICEC is a Seoul-based non-governmental organisation that is mandated by the Law for Electronics and Communications Businesses to suppress harmful information and communication, and to foster a healthy information culture by "filtering national illegal and harmful information" and prevent "cyber sexual violence".

Internet Filtering at Schools Is Problematic - The Atlantic

The ICEC had released its "Criteria for Indecent Internet Sites" on 24 April which reportedly, among other things, classifies information concerning homosexuality in the category of "obscenity and perversion". As at August , according to media and other reports, the government had indicated an intent to require blocking of: sites in a list of over , that had been compiled by the ICEC; sites containing words in a control list of keywords, and sites rated in some categories of the government's Internet Content Rating System.

Technical and other reports (non-government)

As at 23 March , EFA has not been able to ascertain whether these indicated intentions of the government became fully operative, nor to what extent any of them are currently operative. With regard to the Rating System, it appears that rating of content may be largely voluntary, but may be mandatory for some types of content, such as sites deemed "indecent" by the ICEC.

The government is preparing to use new systems to block those "anti- social" Internet sites under the Internet filtering ordinance, which will take effect July 1. The contents filtering was included in the revised bill to promote information- technology activities last year, but the National Assembly didn't pass the bill due to the harsh criticism it provoked from civic groups. However, civic groups dismissed such defensive announcements, saying it could result in 'over blocking. Electronic bulletin board is defined so as to include storage of data on the Internet, such as web pages, etc thereby excluding personal e-mail that is only stored in individuals' mailboxes.

The law places an obligation on service providers who store information not those who only provide connections to the Internet to remove or make inaccessible content that is obviously illegal they do not have to decide in doubtful cases according to the penal code, that is: instigation of rebellion section 16 article 5 racial agitation section 16 article 8 child pornography section 16 article 10 illegal description of violence section 16 article 10 or when it obvious that the user has infringed copyright law.

According to explanations of the law made by the government, in computer areas where illegal messages often occur, the service providers must check what is stored, but in other areas, it is enough compliance for service providers to check when someone complains that something illegal has been stored.

The United Kingdom has not enacted censorship legislation specific to the Internet and appears to have no intention of so doing. The paper includes principles under which a new telecommunications and broadcasting regulator, the Office of Communications OFCOM , will operate. In relation to regulation of Internet content, the White Paper states that research suggests people want tools that help them control what they and their children will see on the Internet, "rather than third party regulation" and that government and industry partnership provides the best approach: "6.

We recognise, for example, that partnership provides the best approach for Internet services. In this area, therefore, we will expect OFCOM to continue to support the Internet Watch Foundation's work to allow Internet users to regulate their own Internet experience, or that of their children, by using rating and filtering systems, as outlined in section 6. It will also promote rating and filtering systems that help Internet users control the content they and their children will see.

The Government sees enormous benefits in promoting new media, especially the Internet. But it is important that there are effective ways of tackling illegal material on the Internet and that users are aware of the tools available, such as rating and filtering systems, that help them control what they and their children will see on the Internet. Research suggests that this is what people want in relation to the Internet, rather than third party regulation.

The IWF's establishment followed the London Metropolitan Police sending a letter to all Internet Service Providers on 9 August requesting them to censor Usenet news groups or else police would find it necessary to prosecute ISPs in relation to illegal material made available via their systems. The IWF operates a hotline to enable members of the public to report child pornography or other illegal material on the Internet. According to the White Paper : "When the IWF receives a report, it reviews the material and decides whether it is potentially illegal.

If it is, it then tries to determine the origin of the material and notifies the UK police or appropriate overseas law enforcement agency. It also notifies UK ISPs that they should take the material down from their servers; if they do not, they risk prosecution.

The Government will continue to encourage and support this work. IWF said it envisaged it would concentrate its efforts on the offences referred to as "Threats of Direct Violence" in the guide. The BBFC's film classifications are not binding. Local councils have statutory powers in relation to films and may and sometimes do overrule the BBFC's decisions for films exhibited in their jurisdiction.

Video recordings other than those covered by exemptions offered for sale or hire commercially in the UK must be classified by the BBFC, which is the classification authority designated by the Home Secretary under the Video Recordings Act Under the OPA, an obscene article is one which, in the view of the court, tends to "deprave and corrupt" those likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear it. Article 10 of the ECHR contains a right to freedom of expression and requires that any restriction of freedom of expression imposed by national law must be capable of objective justification as being necessary in a democratic society for one of the purposes set out in Article Non-violent sexually explicit films and videos in the UK are classified "R18".

Sale of such videos is restricted to adults through licensed adult shops, and mail order sales are illegal. This is exactly the opposite of the situation in Australia. On 18 July , following an appeal case and public consultation , new less restrictive R18 classification guidelines for sexually explicit material were issued. See also the BBFC web site.

Neither of these laws are in force as at March The second law the COPA , which is more narrowly focussed and covers only communications that are made for commercial purposes on the World Wide Web, is the subject of a Court injunction also on First Amendment grounds preventing its enforcement pending a decision of the Supreme Court.

The Court decision is expected to be handed down in the latter part of Since , four U. These laws have been struck down on Constitutional grounds. Information about the two Federal laws is provided below. In the same month, a US Court issued a restraining order preventing its enforcement. In so restricting Internet users, the CDA provided two affirmative defenses to prosecution; 1 the use of a credit card or other age verification system, and 2 any good faith effort to restrict access by minors.

In holding that the CDA violated the First Amendment, the Supreme Court explained that without defining key terms the statute was unconstitutionally vague. To understand the profound and somewhat ironical historical significance of Sec. I also appreciated Sec. But those opportunities for each of us to make a difference can only be realized if governments worldwide are willing to let them happen.

The sheer volume and scope of online activity alone makes it an enormous undertaking. Probably not any time soon, but thanks to the bold vision and steps that Secretary Clinton and Obama Administration announced today, we are a little bit closer. SHARE: comments. Follow adamthierer.

The Technology Liberation Front is the tech policy blog dedicated to keeping politicians' hands off the 'net and everything else related to technology. Follow techliberation.