Advice wanted, regarding kiddie porn email

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke@anu.edu.au
Tue, 22 Oct 1996 08:35:11 +1000


Robert Hart wrote:
>>I have been advised to report this to the state police. I am not sure
>>about this - anyone got any suggestions? I am really concerned that just
>>having what purports to be material promoting paedophilia on a system
>>under my control might land me in trouble.

Irene Graham replied, suggesting 'better not' ...


At this stage most police forces are somewhat bemused by things like this.
Pioneers get arrows in their backs, so if you value your own peace of mind,
cautious handling is the best idea.

On the question of 'is it illegal to have on your machine an address from
which illegal materials might be acquired?', check out:
http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/II/CensCope.html

This is, of course, not advice;  but a stolid attempt to assess the nature
of the law and its applicability in such circumstances.  One bit says:

"It is an offence to possess Refused Classification material.

"It is an offence to import into the country, and it is an offence to sell
or hire:
-   materials of all three regulated kinds (publications, films and games)
    that have been Refused Classification (RC);
-   publications classified Category 1 Restricted unless they are contained
    in a sealed package (except in Queensland, where their sale is illegal
    in any circumstances);
-   publications classified Category 2 Restricted except in a restricted
    publications area (except in Queensland, where their sale is illegal in
    any circumstances);
-   materials that have not been submitted for classification and should
    have been.  This includes all films (including videos, CD-ROMs, etc.),
    all games, and 'submittable publications', i.e. those that contain
    depictions or descriptions of sexual matters, drugs, nudity or violence
    that are likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult to the extent
    that the publication should not be sold as an unrestricted publication;
    and X-classified films (except in the Australian Capital Territory and
    the Northern Territory, including by mail-order)".

I see *nothing* that suggests that possession (or even publication?!) of
the means of acquiring infringing materials is itself an infringement.
[That doesn't mean that some ill-educated and probably ill-advised
policemen mightn't see it as their duty to try charging someone with a
non-offence].

I suggest that an approach to John Dickie, Chief Censor, at OFLC (details
in the Bibliog. of the above paper) would be likely to elicit a useful and
much more authoritative answer.  I would expect John to accept such a
communication as an enquiry, i.e. not as an admission of having received
such materials (i.e. he is definitely *not* Constable Plod, but rather a
senior policy-maker, with a tendency to think before acting).  [He may well
also be a lurker on link, but he'd be unlikely to blow his cover by
answering this thread, now would he?!]

Sorry, but I'm away all day today, at the W3C Conference in Melbourne
tomorrow, and interstate Thursday as well, so (for busyness reasons only) I
can't perform the role of anonymiser of such a request to John.

Regards  ...  Roger


Roger Clarke              http://www.anu.edu.au/people/Roger.Clarke/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd, 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel:  +61  6  288 6916                       Fax:   +61  6  288 1472

Visiting Fellow, Faculty of          Email:  Roger.Clarke@anu.edu.au
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