One time I wish I wasn’t right

May 11, 2009 — 12 Comments

The Register: Aussie censors implement six degrees of separation policy

This article received massive attention overseas since it was published late last week, including top of Reddit and Digg. It notes that EFA received a link deletion notice for “linking to a link to allegedly harmful content.”

The crux confirms a concept I mentioned in Crikey March 20, although in that case I referred to Google links (however noted the 6 degrees of separation theory, saying

Here?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s the catch: if the Google search results are declared prohibited content (which they should be if ACMA is to apply the law evenly to all sites), linking to those search results would also be illegal. Any site linking to the search results becomes illegal, and any sites linking to the sites linking to the search results become illegal ?¢‚Ǩ¬¶ and sometime next year, every site on the internet is illegal in Australia because of the Government?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s crusade to save us all from the things they don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t like.

In a later column, I noted that Google was bizarrely exempt, but noted the idea was still the same: linking to a site that links to something that is RC, is in breach of the Act.

The story also runs counter to the claims by Kim Holburn that the proposition that linking to a page that links to RC isn’t illegal.

It’s worst nightmare stuff, and in this case I wish I wasn’t right, and Kim Holburn was.

The unanswered question though is how far is ACMA going to take the link to a link policy? For example, if the EFA was hosted in the United States, would linking to the EFA who linked to the link to the RC then become subject to a takedown notice and/ or fine? (yes, that’s a tongue twister, but that’s part of the point on how stupid this is.)

That’s the perilous question. We’ve gone past direct linking, but how far will it now go down the chain? Could half the internet, or more one day be RC according to ACMA?

12 responses to One time I wish I wasn’t right

  1. Oopsie. The LInk post you mention quotes Kim Holburn at the top, but it's actually by the redoubtable Irene Grahem, who maintains the superb resource Libertus.net.

  2. Ummm… you might want to re-read the Reg article you link to and read the original article ( http://www.efa.org.au/2009/05/05/efa-gets-link-… ) because you've taken the quote out of context.

    The EFA published a link direct to the R rated content.

    The ACMA asked them to remove the direct link.

    The EFA then pondered whether a link-to-a-link would also be disallowed.

  3. Intro from The Reg
    The Australian Government yesterday broke new records for web censorship by requiring the takedown not just of a page containing harmful content, nor even a page linking to harmful content, but a page linking to a link to allegedly harmful content.

    However, reading the EFA I see where they ponder the broader implication.

    There's also a side issue here I didn't cover, that is that the page in question actually ended up getting a R classification from the censorship board, not an RC, with ACMA then reinforcing that an R online is the same as RC….that actually confirms something that Conroy has previously denied.

  4. Oopsie. The LInk post you mention quotes Kim Holburn at the top, but it's actually by the redoubtable Irene Grahem, who maintains the superb resource Libertus.net.

  5. Ummm… you might want to re-read the Reg article you link to and read the original article ( http://www.efa.org.au/2009/05/05/efa-gets-link-… ) because you've taken the quote out of context.

    The EFA published a link direct to the R rated content.

    The ACMA asked them to remove the direct link.

    The EFA then pondered whether a link-to-a-link would also be disallowed.

  6. Intro from The Reg
    The Australian Government yesterday broke new records for web censorship by requiring the takedown not just of a page containing harmful content, nor even a page linking to harmful content, but a page linking to a link to allegedly harmful content.

    However, reading the EFA I see where they ponder the broader implication.

    There's also a side issue here I didn't cover, that is that the page in question actually ended up getting a R classification from the censorship board, not an RC, with ACMA then reinforcing that an R online is the same as RC….that actually confirms something that Conroy has previously denied.

  7. Oopsie. The LInk post you mention quotes Kim Holburn at the top, but it's actually by the redoubtable Irene Grahem, who maintains the superb resource Libertus.net.

  8. Ummm… you might want to re-read the Reg article you link to and read the original article ( http://www.efa.org.au/2009/05/05/efa-gets-link-… ) because you've taken the quote out of context.

    The EFA published a link direct to the R rated content.

    The ACMA asked them to remove the direct link.

    The EFA then pondered whether a link-to-a-link would also be disallowed.

  9. Intro from The Reg
    The Australian Government yesterday broke new records for web censorship by requiring the takedown not just of a page containing harmful content, nor even a page linking to harmful content, but a page linking to a link to allegedly harmful content.

    However, reading the EFA I see where they ponder the broader implication.

    There's also a side issue here I didn't cover, that is that the page in question actually ended up getting a R classification from the censorship board, not an RC, with ACMA then reinforcing that an R online is the same as RC….that actually confirms something that Conroy has previously denied.

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