My first op-ed for CSO, “The Resource for Data Security Executives”, has just been posted. It’s voluntary ISP-level internet filtering, but a different angle from my Crikey piece earlier today.
After nearly four chaotic years, Australia’s internet filtering scheme is finally coming together in a way that makes sense technically and politically, if not necessarily for effective child protection.
The chaos wasn’t all communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy’s fault. The “clean feed” was announced as Labor policy back in March 2006 by then-leader Kim Beazley. ISPs would filter out the nasties hosted overseas, where they couldn’t be hit with a takedown notice from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
But Conroy’s name was on Labor’s Plan for Cyber-safety published just five days out from the federal election in late 2007, and once in government it was Conroy’s job to explain that plan and sell it to voters. Everyone presumably imagined it’d be a protect-the-kiddies no-brainer.
Problem was, neither the plan not Conroy’s explanations were clear…
As I say, it’s my first outing for CSO, but if all goes according to plan there’ll be more. And in case you’re wondering, CSO is a job title. Chief Security Officer.
A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets, once again done fortnightly because I forgot to do it last weekend. Suffer.
- Nile’s porn excuse doesn’t hold water, for Crikey. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph alleged that various NSW politicians had been using their parliamentary computers to access pornography, and that anti-sex-industry campaigner and Christian Democrats leader Reverend Fred Nile was the worst culprit. He denied it, but as the story stood on 2 September 2010 I didn’t believe him.
- NSW Parliament’s flawed porn hunt, for Crikey. By the following day, it was clear that the “audit” of parliamentary web browsing was deeply flawed.
- What the NBN will deliver to Windsor’s mob, for Crikey. Independent MP Tony Windsor said that the National Broadband Network was a major factor in him choosing to support Labor over the Liberal-National Coalition.
- ACMA and Nine demonstrate Australia’s institutionalised racism, for ABC Unleashed. Sam Newman’s continued low-brow bigotry on The AFL Footy Show gets “punished” with a slap on the wrist. Again. It took only six comments before someone accused me of political correctness gone mad and compared Australian with North Korea. And another commenter said that I “looked like a potato that had been boiled too far”. The standard of discussion at ABC Online isn’t all that flash.
- Patch Monday episode 55, “BYO computers: cloud security risk?”.
- Patch Monday episode 56, “Parliament’s poor porn probe exposed”. If ZDNet allowed longer headlines and more robust language in their stories, I’d have entitled this podcast “Pollies’ piss poor Parly porn probe exposed”. Poetry.
Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos eventually appear on Flickr.
[Photo: Enmore Village on a Spring evening, taken from one of my favourite afternoon working spots at the Warren View Hotel, corner of Stanmore and Enmore Roads. Compare it with the photo in this post, My village really is home.]
Google takes on China. Internet heavies and clueful people rip into Australia’s mandatory censorship plan. And Senator Conroy says he will release the NBN report… in May.
Here is episode 8 of The 9pm Edict.
You can listen to this episode below. But if you want them all, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 12:22 — 6.0MB)
For more information about tonight’s rant, you can check out my story for Crikey about Refused Classification, the Facebook sacking of Chelsea Taylor, a Google News search for Google versus China and Tony Abbott’s victory speech.
And here’s the story about the National Broadband Network report which I didn’t cover.
If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.
[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission.]
Yes, Australia will have a mandatory ISP-level Internet censorship system. It was announced earlier today by Senator Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy when he released the final report of the recent filtering trials.
According to the ABC News report, legislation will be introduced into Parliament next year which will require all ISPs to block material hosted in other countries which has been refused classification. That’s actualy not quite correct. It will block material which, in the opinion of an ACMA staff member, would potentially be refused classification if it were actually submitted to the Classification Board.
Provided, that is, that a concerned citizen went to the trouble of complaining about the material in the first place.
I’m still ploughing through the final report from Enex Testlab for a couple media articles I need to write tonight.
Meanwhile, have a listen to this 10-minute interview I did earlier today with Jason Jordan on Radio 6PR Perth.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 10:58 — 12.5MB)
[The radio interview is Copyright © 2009 Radio 6PR Perth Pty Ltd, but since they don’t archive these interviews it’s fair enough putting it here provided you just listen to it and I link back to 6PR and encourage you to listen. If you’re in Perth. Or if you want to stream it.]
Here are the web links I’ve found for 12 September 2009 through 19 September 2009, posted not-quite-automatically.
- Steak House or Gay Bar?: Can you pick the steakhouses from the gay bars, just by their names? It’s harder than you might thing!
- Greenpeace frees ocean life from Pacific longliner | Greenpeace Australia Pacific: Greenpeace’s report on their ship Esperanza “freeing tuna, sharks, marlin and an endangered sea turtle from a Taiwanese longliner”, the Ho Tsai Fa 18. Or, as I prefer to label it, Greenpeace committing piracy and endangering the lives of mariners going about their business.
- Fish Now, Pay Later | Greenpeace Australia Pacific: Darren Smith told me the article on dolphin-safe tuna wasn’t right, that Greenpeace didn’t support any kind of industrialised fishing. Here’s what Greenpeace is currently doing in the Pacific.
- The ecological disaster that is dolphin safe tuna | Southern Fried Science: By promoting “dolphin-safe tuna” — I prefer to spell it with a hyphen thusly — we’ve ended up with a system that’s unsafe for pretty much everything else.
- Meet my hot new stripper wife / Turns out the mid-life crisis is a cruel global phenomenon. Can it be stopped? | Mark Morford: Mark Morford is rapidly becoming one of my favourite writers. In this piece from February 2008 he explains a man’s mid-life crisis rather too well. And entertainingly. I’ll never be able to listen to Justin Timberlake in the same way again.
- The Lost Seasons | ABC: More details of the Australian Aboriginal six-season cycle, including a nice explanation of the system used by the Sydney basin’s D’harawal people.
- War 2.0: Political Violence & New Media | ANU Department of International Relations: I’ve been invited to attend this 2-day symposium in Canberra on 7-8 October. Now, to figure out who’s paying for it, which will be the key factor in deciding whether I can go.
- Jimmy Carter says that tea baggers hate President Obama because he's black | The Root: The former president points out a truth so self-evident you wonder how it could possibly be controversial. But controversial it is. Has modern journalism become so timid that it can’t handle the truth?
- Understanding the Telstra d-i-v-o-r-c-e | SearchNetworking.com.au: Richard Chirgwin’s backgrounder explains just how difficult it will be to separate Telstra into separate wholesale and retail divisions.
- The next generation bends over | 37signals: The makers of Basecamp, something I use every day, reckon the sale of online accounting software Mint to Intuit, the makers of Quicken and Quickbooks, is “indicative of a VC-induced cancer that’s infecting our industry and killing off the next generation”.
- Kid Cannabis | Rolling Stone: “How a chubby pizza-delivery boy from Idaho became a drug kingpin.” It’s just another product distribution business, just illegal.
- Rudd & Conroy Gambling On Mandatory Internet Censorship Working | broowery.com: An odd statistical analysis of the likelihood of stumbling across banned material online.
- ACMA Blacklists Iran Protest Video & Boing Boing: Another example of why the ACMA blacklist process is seemingly out of step with what the community might want. That’s not ACMA’s fault, they’re just implementing a dodgy policy.
- Why Sol Trujillo should be sued for stuffing up Telstra: Kohler | SmartCompany: There’s so many historical analyses of Telstra coming out this week, what with the government announcing its break-up and n’all. This one is marvellous.
- 2009 Menzies Lecture by John Howard (full text) | The Australian: “In the Australian context the adoption of a Charter or Bill of rights would represent the final triumph of elitism in Australian politics,” reckons our former Prime Minister. A fascinating read if only for its disingenuous use of political rhetoric and coded messages rather than rational argument.
- Oil Rocks | BLDGBLOG: Imagine a city of 5000 people built on stilts and causeways some 45km out into a lake. Well, it exists, and it’s called Oil Rocks, in the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan.
- The Mushroom Tunnel of Mittagong | BLDGBLOG: A fascinating look, with photos, of a mushroom farm inside a disused railway tunnel. The tunnel itself is still government property, with the farm existing on a 5-year lease.
- Death by Information Overload | HBR.org: “New research and novel techniques offer a lifeline to you and your organization,” it says.
- The Economics of Sex Work | Core Economics: Good to see an update of knowledge since I did a little research on the sex industry for ABC Radio all those years ago.
- CHART OF THE DAY: Primetime On Facebook Is Monday To Wednesday | Silicon Valley Insider: “Social media marketers, take note. The best days to spam, erm, publish wall posts on Facebook that you want your ‘fans’ to pay attention to are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.”
Stilgherrian’s links for 09 May 2009 through 17 May 2009, gathered intermittently and jumbled together at random:
- Frame grabbing: The art of drawing great photography from video | Nieman Journalism Lab: As the boundary between video and still camera blurs, photojournalists and other people we’d normally consider “photographers” are using video stills in mainstream media.
- How to kill five hours in Parliament House | Crikey Team: The wond’rously snarky Ruth Brown reports on a day in Australia’s Palace of Democracy. Great fun.
- Internet Meme Database | Know Your Meme: I haven’t explored it properly, but it does seem someone has decided to catalog all the stupid “memes” that proliferate online. Also, I hate this degradation of Richard Dawkin’s concept of memetics to mean “a joke we pass on”. Fuckwits.
- Computing in Melbourne: A Historical Tour: The next one’s on Sunday 31 May 2009, running 9.30am to 5pm, with plenty of tram travel and café-snacking along the way.
- Google outage lesson: Don’t get stuck in a cloud | Macworld: When I see stories like this, warning of the peril of relying on an external party for your IT needs, I often react by asking whether such an outage would be more or less likely on your own systems, given your own current contingency plans. But this piece also points out the interdependency of so many systems.
- Critical Mass, The Road, and a new wave of graphic nuke porn | Slate Magazine: Apparently our thrillers are no longer looking at the “before” and “after” of nuclear war, but more directly at what happens when the bomb drops.
- EWN – The Early Warning Network: The Australian Early Warning Network provides free emergency alerts covering everything from tsunamis through to severe weather, via SMS, pagers, phone (text to voice), web, email and their Desktop ALERT™. (I’m not sure how legit it is to trademark something as obvious as “Desktop ALERT” though.)
- Older Australians less likely to participate in the digital economy | ACMA: Nearly three out of four Australians (73%) have a home Internet connection and 87% of the population have used the Internet. In contrast, only 48% of people aged 65 and over have the Internet at home and 44% have never used the internet
- Anal Bleaching— NOT just for women | best of craigslist: When I posted this to Twitter, a disturbingly large number of people didn’t seem to realise that it was satire.
- 1952: London fog clears after days of chaos | BBC ON THIS DAY: Well, the “on this day” bit is for 9 December. Nevertheless, this has the echo of Kevin Rudd’s further delays in actually starting Australia’s response to global warming. In 1952, London's "Great Fog" killed 4000 people. Drastic action was called for. The Clean Air Act was rushed through… in 1956.
- 25 things about twitter that are pissing me off | The Bloggess: I couldn’t agree with her more. Also, she writes the best blog on the planet.
- China's Commercialization of Censorship | Far Eastern Economic Review: China’s government doesn’t have to do all the hard work of censorship itself, it just bullies commercial operators into doing it for them.