8 Dec. 2008

The strong arm of internet censorship

Two incidents in a short period of time seem to presage things to come with new internet laws; these pertain to existing laws about the depiction of children on the internet.

A 60 year-old Queensland man arrested for uploading an already widely disseminated video of a man playing with a baby in a way that is dangerous, although not evidently harmful to the baby and asexual.

A NSW man is convicted for possessing (not disseminating) a video depicting Bart and Lisa Simpson engaged in sexual acts, which is covered by the child pornography laws according to the presiding judge, though he sensibly rules that this is not as serious as the depiction of actual children. Nevertheless, the very fact that the mere possession of a single video of actual children is said by this judge to warrant incarceration seems deeply OTT. I could right now (I presume) with a few clicks and keystrokes find and download an image of such actual child pornography, possibly in error. The mere possession would then potentially earn me a jail sentence, despite the fact that there would be no link between my actions and any abuse depicted in the video.