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Updated monthly editorial from Vixsin Magazine

Foreplay - February

 

Most people in the swinging scene now use the internet as one of the ways they connect with other people, or to find out about swingers parties/events etc, and this is only going to increase as time goes on. However, the ease with which you will be able to do these things in the future is under direct attack from the Australian Federal Government. Some of you will have heard of the federal government’s proposal to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide what’s called a ‘clean feed’. At first glance a clean feed sounds great. It's a plan to censor the internet to protect children from child stalkers and pornographic material. I don’t have a problem with that concept at all, but the proposal will not have the desired effect. It’ll simply drive those guys underground, making it more difficult for police to monitor and ultimately catch them. For the average internet user though, and particularly those who have an interest in perfectly legal sexual activities with consenting adults, it will make life very unpleasant. A technical report by the Internet Industry Association, commissioned by the Federal Government itself, found the technology would block access to legitimate sites, slow internet speeds drastically -- and not block all the porn they want to block. In fact, all the evidence tells us the proposed system will slow access to the internet by more than 80 per cent at a time when the Rudd Government's broadband minister, Stephen Conroy, continually waffles on about that fact that "…this country needs fast, affordable broadband". And guess who’s responsible for trying to force this so-called clean feed on to all of us. Yep, Senator Stephen Conroy. The really worrying aspect of the filter is the concept of the Government deciding what the people of Australia can and cannot see. The government has already identified 1300 websites that it wants to blacklist as part of the clean feeds scheme, and they’ve said that the number of banned sites could easily go up to 10,000 or more. Conroy said the sites mostly contained child pornography and other unwanted content, including images and videos….but he refuses to tell us which sites they are, and he won’t define what he considers to be ‘unwanted content’. Now I don’t know about you, but in 15 years of Internet surfing I’ve never once come across a child porn site….so I’m deeply suspicious about what those 1300 sites they want to ban actually contain. I’ve been told by a senior Victorian policeman that people into child porn are far more likely to use private servers and peer-to-peers networks such as MSN or Yahoo chat to connect with others, and file-sharing services such as Limewire and Bit Torrent to share photos and videos. How does the government plan to control those, or do they intend to ban people from using them at all? If that’s the case, those of you downloading songs, movies and TV series without paying for them could easily find it impossible to do that in the future. You can bet that the music and film industries will rush to Parliament House to try and make this happen. Other countries using similar systems to monitor internet traffic have blacklisted political critics, or discussion on topics they don’t want debated. Are you comfortable with the idea of your government deciding that you can’t use the Internet to research Euthanasia, or Marijuana, or Gay marriage, or any other subjects that are illegal under Australian law? And consider this - there has been no groundswell of public opinion asking for this filter to be created. Parents are free to install filters on their own computers if they want to, but most don’t, so why are Conroy and his fellow travelers so obsessed with forcing this filter on us, when practically nobody wants it? Is this really the direction we want our country to be heading? This filter is the digital equivalent of the post office opening every piece of mail and deciding if they think you should be allowed to read it. John Howard’s Liberal Government passed a law a few years back that banned most R-rated and all X-rated material from being hosted on Australian servers. It achieved nothing except forcing every Australian based porn producer (ourselves included) to move their sites to overseas servers. Sites banned by Howard’s law included every swinger’s website currently in operation in Australia. If it is Conroy’s plan to use his filter to enforce Howards law and ban access to swinger’s websites, amongst other adult ones, then it’s time for all of you to get off your collective arses and tell the politicians to fuck off out of your bedrooms. Just got to http://www.aph.gov.au/House/members/mi-alpha.asp and click on the appropriate link and send an email to your own MP and Senator, as well as to Conroy himself. Be firm in your comments, but don’t be abusive. Your aim is to either get Conroy and the rest of the Labor MPs to realize what a stupid and unworkable idea the clean feed is and hopefully get them to abandon the whole thing, but if they’re stubborn enough to go ahead with it you want to try and get the Greens and Liberals to block it in the Senate. Don’t wait – do it today, and let’s knock this insane idea on the head while we still can.

 

Ed - 1/2/2009

       

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