Links for 29 April 2009

Here are the web links I’ve found for 29 April 2009, posted with postalness.

  • Australia 2020: Government Response: A year after the event which seemed so important at the time, we finally have the government’s response.
  • Developments in internet filtering technologies and other measures for promoting online safety | ACMA: The second of ACMA’s three annual reports on “developments in internet filtering technologies and other safety initiatives to protect consumers, including minors, who access content on the internet”.
  • The Full Story: “The Full Story is a media and information release portal where individuals and organisations can post breaking news, publicity, information or their side of the story on issues of local or national importance — free, as it happens, unedited and in full.”
  • Internet-Age Writing Syllabus and Course Overview | McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: “Course Description: As print takes its place alongside smoke signals, cuneiform, and hollering, there has emerged a new literary age, one in which writers no longer need to feel encumbered by the paper cuts, reading, and excessive use of words traditionally associated with the writing trade. Writing for Nonreaders in the Postprint Era focuses on the creation of short-form prose that is not intended to be reproduced on pulp fibers.”
  • NBN Luddites will be proven wrong | BuddeBlog: Analyst Paul Budde with another thoughtful piece.
  • RedR Australia: This organisation provides training for people working in overseas aid and disaster relief, covering everything from logistics to personal protection. Yes, there is a reason this is being bookmarked, but it’s secret.
  • Swine flu: Twitter’s power to misinform | Net Effect: Once more, the usual human trait of passing on information which may or may not be true is blamed on Twitter, not on the humans. Fail.

Links for 30 March 2009 through 04 April 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 30 March 2009 through 04 April 2009, gathered with the assistance of pumpkins and bees:

  • The Australian Sex Party: “The Australian Sex Party is a political response to the sexual needs of Australia in the 21st century. It is an attempt to restore the balance between sexual privacy and sexual publicity that has been severely distorted by morals campaigners and prudish politicians.”
  • Measuring the Information Society: The ICT Development Index 2009: Australia is ranked #14 based on figures from 2007. In 2003 it was at #13.
  • Ho Hum, Sweden Passes new anti File Sharing Legislation | Perceptric Forum: Tom Koltai’s analysis of that new Swedish law: It’ll make no difference long term.
  • As Sweden’s Internet anonymity fades, traffic plunges | Ars Technica: A new Swedish law that went into effect 1 April makes it possible for copyright holders to go to court and unmask a user based on an IP address. Sweden’s Internet traffic dropped 40% overnight.
  • Study: online sexual predators not like popular perception | Ars Technica: This survey rejects the idea that the Internet is an especially perilous place for minors, and finds that while the nature of online sex crimes against minors changed little between 2000 and 2006, the profile of the offenders has been shifting — and both differ markedly from the popular conception.
  • What Is Fail Whale?: The complete history of the Twitter’s error-bringing Fail Whale, along with all the art and craft it’s inspired to date.
  • Voda/Hutch merger rattles ACCC | ZDNet Australia: Australia’s competition watchdog tonight issued a strongly worded statement of concern that the proposed merger of mobile carriers Hutchison and Vodafone could lead to increased retail prices on mobile telephony and broadband services.
  • All the news that’s fit to tweet | guardian.co.uk: The Guardian has also announced a new 140-character commenting system. “You’ll never again need to wade through paragraphs of extended argument, looking for the point, or suffer the unbearable tedium of having to read multiple protracted, well-grounded perspectives on the blogs you love.”
  • Share This Lecture! | Viddler.com: Mark Pesce’s annual lecture for “Cyberworlds” class, Sydney University, 31 March 2009. About the significance of sharing across three domains: sharing media, sharing knowledge, and how these two inevitably lead to the sharing of power.
  • Twitter switch for Guardian, after 188 years of ink | The Guardian: One of the better April Fools’ Day pieces. I particularly like the extracts from the Twitterised news archive. 1927: “OMG first successful transatlantic air flight wow, pretty cool! Boring day otherwise *sigh*”
  • Flappers, wine, cocaine and revels (Pt II) | The Vapour Trail: A few hours after five Melbourne girls were arrested for vagrancy in late March 1928, the headline of Melbourne’s Truth broadcast their misdeeds: “White Girls with Negro Lovers. Flappers, Wine, Cocaine and Revels. Raid Discloses Wild Scene of Abandon”.
  • A Blacklist for Websites Backfires in Australia | TIME: Time‘s take on the leak of the Australian Internet censorship blacklist portrays it as a joke and a scandal. There are some factual errors in the story, but this looks like how it’ll end up being perceived internationally.

What now for Senator Conroy and the Magic Filter?

Photograph of Senator Stephen Conroy

After Senator Stephen Conroy’s disastrous week last week — the ACMA blacklist of banned Internet content leaked and shown to be rubbish, the Classification Board’s website hacked and his damagingly poor performance on Q&A — what next? And what’s Conroy’s exit strategy?

Last month, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam wondered how we can move beyond criticism of the highly-flawed Internet filtering plan:

We’re all in vociferous agreement about what won’t work. But what will? Can this enormously empowered campaign speak with one cogent voice about what we’re for?

How do we empower parents to make the best choices for their families, and law enforcement agencies to prosecute the creators and distributors of the worst material trafficked over the internet?

Is there a way to adequately prepare children to understand other threats such as cyber-bullying, without asphyxiating the greatest information sharing tool in history?

Can we directly challenge the epidemic of sexualised violence against women and children in this country and place the online tip of the iceberg into its proper context?

All very good questions. And as Warwick Rendell points out, this isn’t just an abstract debate.

Continue reading “What now for Senator Conroy and the Magic Filter?”

Links for 19 March 2009 through 28 March 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 19 March 2009 through 29 March 2009, posted not-quite-automatically in a great lump for your weekend reading pleasure:

I really must think of a better way of doing this…

Crikey: Two thirds of ACMA blacklist out of date

Crikey logo

Not only is the list published by whistleblower website Wikileaks over the weekend “definitely” the ACMA blacklist of banned internet content, it’s also “rubbish”, according to an industry source.

That’s how I started my Crikey story today, which continues in this vein:

ACMA’s blacklist is compiled from complaints received from the public. Manufacturers of internet filters pay $15,000 for the list, which must be included in their products to be eligible to participate in the government’s current field tests of ISP-level internet filtering.

Our contact in the internet filtering industry is highly critical of the ACMA blacklist’s quality.

“I’ve had a look at the list and it’s rubbish,” they told Crikey this morning. “I wouldn’t pay $100 for it, let alone $15,000. That list would make my filtering look really bad,” they said.

The article is free for all to read, i.e. not behind Crikey’s paywall. It also talks about the German police raid on the homes of a Wikileaks volunteer. Enjoy.

Another leaked blacklist, another two Crikey stories

Crikey logo

Since Friday’s Crikey story about the leaked blacklist — which Senator Stephen Conroy denied was the actual ACMA blacklist of banned Internet content — there have been further leaks. And two more Crikey stories.

Monday’s piece was Yet another ACMA internet blacklist springs a leak. I explain how the leak unfolded, and how Wikileaks published instructions for extracting the cunningly-named file Websites_ACMA.txt from a certain brand of Internet filtering software — one of the Internet Industry Association’s Family Friendly Filters and one of those provided free to (a few) Australian families by the Howard government’s now-defunct NetAlert scheme.

I also run through Wikileak’s’s legal threats, and Senator Conroy’s latest spin — that the government never intended to block all of the ACMA blacklist, just the “Refused Classification” items. It’s a shame that doesn’t match a list of seven public statements about what’s planned to be blocked.

Tuesday’s was It certainly looks like the ACMA blacklist, eh Senator Conroy?. There’s further evidence that the most recent leaked list is, almost certainly, the actual ACMA blacklist. I also look at Senator Nick Minchin’s daft attempt to portray Conroy as Big Brother over a perfectly ordinary-looking government tender for media monitoring service.