Philosophy Hurts Your Head

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

Posts Tagged ‘Australian Politics’

Labor to monitor Blogs

Posted by Sam D on March 23, 2009

The Age reported yesterday that the Government will begin “trawling blog sites” as part of a new media ‘monitoring’ strategy, with documents singling out popular forum Whirlpool for special atention.  

Soon after Senator Conroy praised Singapore’s Government for reducing monitoring of blogs, tender documents issued by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy reveal it is looking for a “comprehensive digital monitoring service for print and electronic media”.

The department later attached a clarification confirming the term “electronic media” included “blogs such as Whirlpool”.

Coming from other politicians, this might seem like some sort of move towards community consultation. But coming from Senator Conroy, it comes across as something of a thinly veiled threat, especially in light of recent exchanges between Whirlpool’s host and ACMA over linking to so-called ‘prohibited’ content. 

Apart from being a waste of taxpayer money, this will no doubt inspire a degree of paranoia in some Whirlpudlians, as many users on the forum have been passionately and intelligently opposed to Senator Conroy’s ISP level Filtering plans, as well as his handling of the National Broadband Network. In fact, Whirlpools ISP filtering discussion threads have been pivotal in diseminating information, debunking myths and honing the arguments of those opposed to the Mandatory  ISP Filtering/Internet Censorship plan. 

But the threat fails in many ways. Over time, it has become apparent that the DBCDE has followed the discussion on Whirlpool for many months already, so many people are used to this anyway. The moderators of WP police the policy of not linking to ‘prohibited’ content quite dilligently, so  it’s unlikely that the site, or any of the users can be cought out and used as a political scapegoat.

More importantly, as I have stated elsewhere, systematic cataloguing of the ISP Filtering discussion will provide an immense amouint of material hilighting just how unpopular Senator Conroy really is with the industry he is supposed to represent. This would be a compilation where we demolish every argument provided by the minister and his supporters, where we take great pleasure at his misfortune, where we regularly make a fool of him and prove him incompetant or a liar (or both) before the ink is dry on his own press releases.  I would dearly love for this material to land on the desk of Kevin Rudd, and to be distributed at the ALP national conference in August, so the party can see just how much of a political liability this Minister, and this plan have become. 

I have to agree with Stephen Conroy is  C#nt , this does not bode well for Senator Conroy’s future as the Minister. At least that is what I hope, becuase the alternative is that it does not bode well for us.

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

Australian Internet Blacklist Leaked!

Posted by Sam D on March 19, 2009

A list of URLs, allegedly the ACMA blacklist, has been posted on Wikileaks today. It is hard at this stage to go into much detail, or link directly to the list, as Australians have been threatened with up to 10 years jail for distributing the list .

However, the intrepid author of Somebody Think of The Children (STOTC) has started to have a quick look at the list. A few things are quickly apparent. There are more URL’s on it than previously thought. And (surprise!) the list contains some completely legitmate websites.  It’s reported by STOTC that these sites include Abbywinters.com, which is pretty benign stuff if (unless you have a real problem with nudity), as well as Betfair.com. Xtube also gets  caught in the ACMA net.

The EFA report that other surprises in the list include: “YouTube videos, a MySpace profile, online poker parlours and a site containing poison information were present, as well as many apparently harmless sites such as that of a tour operator and a satirical encyclopedia.”

Websinthe wonders who leaked the list? I doubt we will ever know for sure.

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

Another Censorship Round Up

Posted by Sam D on February 25, 2009

Internet filtering — reasons to oppose it By Peter Robson at Green Left Weekly – Keep up the good work Pete!

Conroy confesses: web filtering will hit ‘other content’ Bernard Keane at Crikey reports that the goverment is considering the adding of legal contentbeing blocked by the mandatory filtering. 

Internet Black-list revelations raise further questions about Labors Mandatory Filtering. Nick Minchin highlights the Liberal’s concerns over the content of the blacklist and the publication of the anti-abortion site after it was added to it.

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

Who’s afraid of Peer Review?

Posted by Sam D on February 20, 2009

Websinthe reports that Clive Hamilton has accused him of trying to silence him because he asked Charles Sturt University to peer review his public commentary.

I don’t have time to comment at as much length as I’d like, but here is my take on it: Anyone, academic or not, can state their opinion in public – it’s a right I strongly support. But strong claims have to be put to the test. And for academics, one of the most recognisable and strongest tests is peer-review.

Clive does not have to have his public comments peer-reviewed, that would excessively infringe upon his right to express opinions publicly. But without the application of academic rigour, including peer-review, they are only opinions, nothing more.

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

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 »

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.

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

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 »