Philosophy Hurts Your Head

The blog of a cranky Philosophy PhD Student from Newcastle, Australia.

Archive for December, 2008

Goodbye to the Conroy Blog

Posted by Sam D on December 23, 2008

The day after finally posting on the topic that everyone wanted to discuss, the DBCDE blog is closing comments. I don’t have the words right now to say what I think of this. 

 

Anyway, if you want to say your piece there, you should do it before 3 pm tomorrow.

Posted in News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Conroy Finally Blogs about ISP Filter!

Posted by Sam D on December 22, 2008

Stephen Conroy has finally adressed the questions regarding the ISP Filtering plan ALP internet censorship policy on his department blog. I use the term ‘adresed’ very loosely, because having read “Minister Conroy on: Promoting a civil and confident society online“, I can say that he has allayed none of my fears regarding this plan. 

 

In fact, he actually confirms one of my concerns, that material will be blacklisted in accordance with the ACMA prohibited content rules. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, I will seek further clarification. In the meantime, if you like anything on that list, then you had better get downloading!

I’ll post more detailed analysis later, right now I’m off to spread the word!

Posted in Censorship, Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

We hear you…

Posted by Sam D on December 12, 2008

This was the title of the latest post on Senator Conroy’s Digital Economy blog.

With all due respect Senator, no you don’t! If you did, the online community in Australia would not be having this conversation. Again, I encourage all Australians to comment on the Digital Economy blog and let the Minister know how you feel about his policies.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

ISP Filtering – A lesson in History.

Posted by Sam D on December 12, 2008

There have been some very good articles coming out of the Australian Blogsphere regarding the IPS filtering plan. My favorite for this week has been Liberal tyranny on the World Wide Web at Spiked Online by Kerry Miller, (who blogs at Strange Times ) which describes the role that Clive Hamilton has played in the development of this policy. I note that his new employer CAPPE ( Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics)  has minimised reference to his pro-filter position or articles.

It is worth noting that across a political spectrum (not that it is the best way to categorise political views) the more coherent and critical reactions have come from the libertarian right. That said the Greens have come out strongly against this, and in some ways they are libertarian left-ish. However you cut it though, the response from much of the left has been pretty weak. I was surprised by this. Is it because left leaning ideologies have a weaker sense of individual rihgs or liberties? I don’t know. What I do know is that at least one of my friends is going to say “I told you so” (or something along those lines, but more eloquent) when I see him next.

Posted in Censorship, philosophy & politics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Digital Economy Future Directions blog: What is this about?

Posted by Sam D on December 11, 2008

What is this about indeed? The following is take from the front page of the new Digital Economy Future Directions blog launched recently by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy has announced that the Australian Government will develop a Future directions paper for the digital economy—a roadmap for Australian businesses, households and government to maximise participation in the digital economy. And we would like you to help us create the roadmap.

We want to hear your thoughts and ideas about the digital economy. Click on the blog topics (starting with Minister Tanner’s welcome) in the column at the right or in the list at the bottom of this page to start engaging with the blog. We plan to release a draft of the paper for detailed feedback shortly; but in the meantime, it seemed logical to us to use one of the key communications platforms of the digital economy—blogs—as a way to engage with you and your ideas.

Oh, the Minister has discovered blogs! Surely we are living in the future! Time will tell if the feedback the online community gives to this blog will be taken into account. I’m deeply cynical/realistic, so I will put my money on most suggestions being ignored. Be that as it may, I’d encourage all Australians to comment on the blog as is their right.

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Live trial of ISP level Filtering not actually Live.

Posted by Sam D on December 5, 2008

In an email regarding the ISP Level Filtering trials to be held later this month, Senator Conroy has seemingly admitted that the part of the trial testing the effect of an expanded blacklist will not be live as such.

In consultations with ISPs, concerns have been raised that filtering a blacklist beyond 10 000 URLs may raise network performance issues, depending on the configuration of the filter. The pilot will therefore seek to also test network performance against a test list of 10 000 URLs.
This will be a closed network test and will not involve actual customers. The list of 10 000 sites will be developed by the technical organisation assisting the Department on the pilot, which has access to lists of this size. As this test is only being performed to test the impact on network performance against a list of this size, and actual customers are not involved, the make-up of the list is not an issue.

This might explain why Senator Conroy failed to answer Senator Bernardi’s questions regarding the trial, as reported by BanThisURL. If Senator Conroy had got to the point quicker he would have had to let this cat out of the bag in question time, but luckily (for him) the Senate President cut him off.

Massive hat-tip to frankfil for publicizing this on Whirlpool and Twitter.

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Australian Bill of Rights

Posted by Sam D on December 4, 2008

The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that the federal Government was considering the creation of an Australian Bill of Rights. The SMH article quoted Australian National University’s Professor Hilary Charlesworth as saying that “the bill of rights would probably include civil and political rights such as the right to free speech and protection from discrimination.” In the context of the current discussion over internet censorship here, I think it is somewhat ironic for a government to propose the formation of something to enshrine our rights at the same time as it is trialling technologies designed to curtail them. It did occur to me (rather cynically) that the Bill of Rights will be primarily a political tool to lull people into a false sense of security – “Your liberties can’t be under threat, the Bill of Rights will keep them safe”. I admit though that despite it’s sense of righteous outrage, the ALP may see the pro-liberty, anti-filtering brigade as a small enough minority to ignore and therefore to attribute the Bill of Rights idea as a reaction to their efforts may be an error of proportionality. Either way, the formation of this document should be an interesting process and I’m looking forward to participating as much as I can.

In other news:

  • It seems that the Australian Young labor Party has broken ranks with its parent organisation to pass a motion against the mandatory filtering regime . This of course has no actual effect on anything that the grown-up politicians are doing, and while I like to think it could indicate dissent within the greater party, I know that it probably doesn’t. (Thanks to BanThisUrl)
  • The GetUp! campaign against internet filtering has collected 76,157 signatures on it’s electronic petition.

Posted in News, philosophy & politics, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »