Banned user....204.31.246.47

Glenn Azlin (Glenn.Azlin@eng.monash.edu.au)
Tue, 18 Jul 1995 10:00:24 +1000


The subject of censorship on the Internet raises its head from time to
time... but probably without as much of the fireworks shown recently.

The problem facing all of us is that the world has shrunk dramatically due
to the use of evolving computer technology and each country's laws have
simply been unable to keep up with the pace of change.

The problem here is that an action of one person, was found to be offensive
to many. OK, the laws of his country may well allow that sort of behaviour,
but surely, all of us are mature adults who understand that others have
rights as well... the right to use a service without being confronted with
this sort of rot.

This then begs the question... who is going to be 'big brother' and police
the Internet? Some months ago, there was a site in Holland which made
available some rather explicit material. Within a week or so, the 'word' was
out and the site become flooded. The service provider adopted a very
responsible approach... because that sort of thing appears to be quite
acceptable in Holland but not in other countries, which was the why the
service provider was swamped in the first place, all e-mail addresses of
users were vetted at login time. If they were local, then no problems.
However, if they were from elsewhere, then it was 'goodnight Charlie'.

Perhaps pressure should be applied to the service provider in this case, or
indeed any other such cases, as they are the ones closest to the offender.
I'm quite sure that regardless whatever type of connection, the provider in
this case would soon be able to identify the user. The service provider is
then in a better position to deal with the problem.

If we, as serious users of the Internet, do not adopt some sort of mutual
understanding of the personal feelings and censorship laws of others in
other countries... to adopt a 'code of practice' which actively discourages
that sort of behaviour, then I am very confident that 'big brother' will
indeed step in and take over.

This sort of incident has happened before... but generally in a less public
arena. There will always be some idiot somewhere who wants to 'try the
system' and insist on exercising his/her rights as they percieve them to be,
but I don't believe there is any place for that sort of expression in this
forum.

Glenn.

Glenn Azlin
Technical Officer - Electronics/Computing
School of Engineering - Gippsland
Monash University, Churchill 3842. Australia.
Phone: 03 9902 6493, 041 614 1254 Fax: 051 226 500
(International: Replace leading 0 with +61)