Links for 16 March 2009 through 22 March 2009

Here are the web links I’ve found for 16 March 1009 through 22 March 2009, posted automatically.

  • Web of secrecy | ABC Unleashed: Mark Pesce’s essay on the leaking of the Internet censorship blacklist this week.
  • Chinese fight internet censors with “Grass Mud Horse”; cuddly toy | Times Online: Chinese Internet users have been fighting back at the censors with a children’s character, Grass Mud Horse, whose name in Chinese sounds just like a curse, but with a different tone. He’s fighting the evil River Crabs, who sound almost like the forces of “Harmony”, the Chinese euphemism for censorship. The result has been the ludicrous concept trying to ban a children’s character and stuffed toy for being subversive.
  • Unlocking IP 2009 Conference: “National and International Dimensions of the Commons” | UNSW: The Conference will explore the national and global dimensions of the copyright public domain, drawing on the Project’s research to provide a structure for further discussion. It will bring together a range of eminent local and international scholars from the field, as well as showcasing notable Australian achievements in the copyright public domain. The Conference will be structured to some extent around key themes in the 2008 Submission by project researchers Unlocking IP to Stimulate Australian Innovation — An Issues Paper, made to the Australian government’s Review of the National Innovation System.
  • Stilgherrian on Lateline | TwitPic: I look rather scary when appearing later than life on someone’s 42-inch TV.
  • Mandatory internet filtering. It’s not a debate. | Wazzapedia: In summary: The pro-filter lobby are offering a solution to the “problem”. It’s not enough for the anti-censorship campaign to demolish their argument — if we don’t start offering an alternative workable solution as part of our strategy, we will ultimately fail.
  • Govts website black list leaked on internet | Lateline: I appeared on Thursday night’s ABC TV program Lateline as part of a report on the leaking of a secret blacklist of naughty websites.
  • Blog, Podcast, Vodcast and Wiki Copyright Guide for Australia | CCI: I think the title explains it all. A handy reference for everyone, it’d seem!
  • Social Collider: Whatever this visualisation is visualising about my Twitterstrean, it’s pretty. I’ll come back to this later.
  • World War II: If Maps Could Fight | Strange Maps: A cartoon and cartographic interpretation of World War II by artist Angus McLeod.
  • Metropolitan Skin | Out to Space: Some of ’Pong’s photos are in this this exhibition on the video displays at Sydney’s World Square (George Street) through to 25 March. Also featured are images by Robert McGrath and Vitek Skonieczny .

Crikey: ACMA’s blacklist just got read all over

Crikey logo

I’m in Crikey again today with an 800-word essay about the leaking of a secret Internet censorship blacklist — exactly what I’d predicted only on Wednesday.

The article is free to read, but here’s a flavour:

Dear Government, look, I hate to say we told you so, but… we told you so. On Wednesday. The more you try to hide your controversial Internet blacklist, the bigger you make it, the bigger the incentive for someone to leak it.

For money. For political advantage. For the sheer bloody fun of sticking it to The Man. And, yes, maybe someone might even leak it because they’re one of that tiny number of sick bastards who get off on child pornography…

American bank robber “Slick” Willie Sutton was (probably apocryphally) asked why he robbed banks. “Because that’s where the money is.” ACMA compiles a virtual bank vault of nasty websites and hands the keys to the makers of filter software and from there, it’s planned, every ISP in Australia — including many low-margin businesses which, let’s face it, don’t have the security procedures of an ASIO or an MI5. As yesterday’s leak to whisteblower website Wikileaks proves.

I go on to analyse the leaked list — I judge it “a pretty shit piece of work” — and drop in a few thoughts from Greens Senator Scott Ludlam. Enjoy.

I’ll post my 5-minute interview with Senator Ludlam tomorrow morning.

ABC Lateline on the leaked Internet blacklist, with me

Screenshot of Stilgherrian talking on ABC Lateline

I was on the ABC TV program Lateline last night as part of a story on the leaked Internet censorship blacklist.

While Senator Conroy is saying this isn’t the actual ACMA blacklist, it’s certainly indicative of the problems that come with a manually-maintained list of banned content — especially when it’s kept secret.

As I told Lateline, further leaks are inevitable.

As soon as you try and make something secret, there will be someone who wants it to be not secret. Either because they feel politically that it’s wrong that it’s secret, or for monetary gain. I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who’d pay good money to get their hands on the current list and distribute it amongst people who would find the material of value to them.

The ABC has Real Media and Windows Media video streams plus a transcript, as well as a Flash video stream on the program home page. The vodcast will have downloadable MP4 and WMV files later today. And if none of them are suitable, there’s a copy on YouTube.

I’ll have more to say about this in Crikey later today.

First interview with Fake Stephen Conroy

Screenshot from Stilgherrian Live episode 40

Episode 40 of Stilgherrian Live is now online for your viewing pleasure, including the very first interview with Fake Stephen Conroy aka Leslie Nassar.

Nassar, a Telstra employee, outed himself as FSC on Tuesday. Given that Senator Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, oversees telcos like Telstra, this created some complications. He now appears to be over the worst of what sounded like anger Tuesday night.

The phone conversation with Leslie Nassar is just over 12 minutes into the program.

Of course we also had “Cnut of the Week”…

Continue reading “First interview with Fake Stephen Conroy”

Links for 11 March 2009 through 18 March 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 11 March 2009 through 18 March 2009, posted after considerable delay in some cases: