Links for 29 January 2009

Here are the web links I’ve found for 29 January 2009, posted automatically with some manual editing and lubricants.

  • Media 09: I’ll be going to this and liveblogging on 13 February. “Media 09 is a one-day international gathering of the world’s leading digital media executives and entrepreneurs, showcasing global best practice in digital media innovations. Media 09 is designed to assist you shape successful digital media content offerings, business models, and advertising appeal to make the best weather of these turbulent times.”
  • Labor’s Plan for Cyber-Safety | Australian Labor Party: This is the actual text of the ALP’s policy, as it was stated for the 2007 federal election. Note on page 5 that the policy talks about it being mandatory to “offer” a “clean feed”, not make it compulsory.
  • 2007 policy documents | Australian Labor Party: The complete official ALP policy documents for the 2007 federal election are listed under “downloads” on this page.
  • Modern Security Thinkers | Kotare: A list of current thinkers in the realm of strategy and security. Much to explore.
  • SYN: Student Youth Network: Launched in January 2003, SYN is proudly Melbourne’s only independent youth media organisation. SYN broadcasts on 90.7 FM, and has 5 hours per week on Channel 31 community TV. Plus there’s a regular email newsletter and this website. I shall explore further!
  • Netspace’s Government ISP Filtering Survey Results: When asked “Do you agree with the Federal Government’s policy to make ISP level filtering mandatory for all Australians?”, 79% of respondents said they disagreed or strongly disagreed. There were 9700+ respondents, roughly 10% of Netspace’s customer base.
  • Time Line of Mandatory ISP Filtering Proposals 2003-2006 | Electronic Frontiers Australia: An invaluable chronology of the current push for mandatory Internet filtering in Australia. It all really does seem to have started with Clive Hamilton.
  • How the Press, the Pentagon, and Even Human Rights Groups Sold Us an Army Field Manual that (Still) Sanctions Torture | AlterNet: Yes, the new edition of the US Army’s field manual still permits the torture of “unlawful enemy combatants”, that strange new category of people invented by the US to circumvent the provisions of the Geneva Conventions.

EFA: money “wasted” on Internet filtering

Photograph of computer monitor overlaid with CENSORED

Internet lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has expressed “disappointment” at the government’s decision to fund the “clean feed” Internet plan in this week’s budget. They’ve also launched a campaign website at

“At a time when the Government is cutting services to fight inflation, it’s bewildering that they would decide to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on a filter before feasibility trials are even complete,” said EFA spokesman Colin Jacobs…

“Australians are very uncomfortable with the idea of having the Government decide what’s appropriate for them and their families,” said Jacobs. “In fact, in a survey of 18,000 Internet users, only 13% agreed with the policy. That’s why we feel it is a shame, when the Government has identified real needs for better education and policing, that their approach to Internet policy is so skewed towards the filter initiative. There are greater risks to Australian children online, and real steps can be taken to mitigate these risks. That’s where the funding should be going.”

Unfortunately EFA made a fundamental mistake which could allow critics to dismiss their arguments. They talk about the Cyber-safety Plan costing $24.3m this financial year and rising to $51.4m next. However only part of this is for Internet filtering. There’s also things which critics could say EFA would support: AFP investigations and plenty of education programs.

Govt Internet filtering plan “quarter-baked, at best”

Photograph of Irene Graham

Free speech campaigner Irene Graham (pictured) has updated her page on the Australian government’s Internet filtering plan.

Very little detail has been made publicly available, although the Labor Party (ALP) announced a mandatory ISP filtering policy in 20 March 2006. Two years later, all indications are that their “plan” is still quarter-baked at best.

A good non-technical summary, opening with a great quote:

“[P]reventing information flow, communication or the exchange of art, film and writing on the internet is a task only King Canute would attempt.”
— Bob Debus, (then) NSW Attorney General, Speech at the OFLC International Ratings Conference 2003.

Ms Graham also has a quick world tour of Internet blocking. For a good technical summary, Electronic Frontiers Australia’s paper is still one of the best.