I don’t know whether it’s the first time an Australian legal trial has been covered live via Twitter, but the Twitter coverage of the AFACT v iiNet hearing in the Federal Court is breathing new life into court reporting. So, why don’t we just stream everything live to the Internet, audio and video?
That’s the question I ask in my first opinion piece for ZDNet Australia, Twitter in court: Why not streaming video?, which was posted on Friday afternoon after I’d spent half the week watching ZDNet.com.au‘s Liam Tung and The Australian‘s Andrew Colley bring us their observations as the case unfolded.
As it happens, the ban on live broadcast coverage from courtrooms dates back to the 1930s. Although there have been experiments with TV coverage, it’s still rare. But apart from the obvious cases where you’d want to keep it banned, why shouldn’t we allow it? That’s what I explore over at ZDNet.com.au. Have a read and let me know what you think.
If you want to follow the hearing, which is expected to last until mid-November, monitor the Twitter hashtag #iitrial.
This week’s A Series of Tubes podcast is up and running. Richard Chirgwin talks with Colin Goodwin from Ericsson Australia about 500Mb/sec DSL, and with me about Senator Conroy’s comments on the iiNet lawsuit, ACMA’s research into social networks behaviour, and the Vodafone-Hutchison merger. A Series of Tubes is part of the IT Radio family of podcasts.
If this report about Senator Stephen Conroy’s comments this morning is right, then he’s either completely out of touch with what actually happens in an ISP, or thoroughly disingenuous.
In what was at times a heated morning at the CommsDay Summit in Sydney, Conroy told an overflowing room that the idea that iiNet “have no idea if any customers are illegally downloading music” on their network is a “stunning defence”.
“The capacity to be able to ignore what your customers are doing on your network is being fought out in the Courts but I thought the defence of ‘we have no idea what anyone is downloading over our network’ was a classic,” Conroy said.
Is Senator Conroy aware that it’s completely unethical — if not downright illegal — to monitor or otherwise intercept the contents of someone else’s communications?
As a “common carrier”, iiNet or any other ISP does not and indeed can not monitor the content of communications flowing through their network any more than Telstra or another telco can listen in to our telephone conversations, or Australia Post can open our mail and read it. At least not without a warrant or other due legal process.
Anyway, how can an ISP tell whether a particular data stream is an “illegal” copy or not? A music file looks just the same whether it’s being used legally under the terms of its license or under fair dealing, or not. Does Senator Conroy imagine illegally-made copies are stamped “pirate” or something?
It looks like the report is true, because ZDNet just posted their version.
If Conroy is still saying such daft stuff even after last week’s episode of Q&A, then tonight’s edition of Insight should be a laugh too.
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…
- The World As Seen From Chang’an Street | Strange Maps: A nice piece of work from The Economist, in the style of Saul Steinberg’s ironic as well as iconic The World As Seen From New York’s 9th Avenue.
- A battle rages for control of the internet in China | PM: ABC Radio’s current affairs program PM covered the Grass Mud Horse phenomenon on Thursday.
- Conroy’s Blacklist Responses | TinyPic: A satirical take on who Senator Stephen Conroy planned for his appearance on Q&A.
- “conroy fail” T-Shirt Design by disgruntled [2807035-3] – RedBubble: Available in 15 colours, and only AUS$30.
- Song of the Grass Mud Horse (Cao Ni Ma) | YouTube: One version of the song, with handy subtitles showing both the respectable words and the anti-censorship subtext.
- Blocking the Net | SBS Insight: Senator Stephen Conroy has a chance to make up for his stumbling performance on Q&A with a guest spot on SBS TV’s Insight this coming Tuesday 31 March at 7.30pm (plus repeats).
- Podcast of The Tangled Web: Beyond an Internet Filter | Peter Black’s Freedom to Differ: The audio recording of New Matilda‘s public forum on Internet censorship, with Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, Irene Graham of Libertus.net fame, and Nic Suzor from Electronic Frontiers Australia. The panel was chaired by the infamous QUT law lecturer, Peter Black.
- Right To Know Free Speech Conference | Alliance Online: The record of a liveblog of Tuesday’s “Right To Know” Free Speech Conference, run by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
- 60-foot penis painted on roof | BBC News: An 18-year-old has secretly painted a 60ft drawing of a phallus on the roof of his parents’ £1million mansion in Berkshire. It was there for a year before his parents found out. They say he’ll have to scrub it off when he gets back from travelling.
- How do you get others onboard with using 37signals tools? | 37signals: I love 37signals’ tool Basecamp for managing communications on client projects. One perennial problem, though, is getting people to actually use it, rather than just replying to random emails.The comment stream for this blog post has some useful thoughts.
- DBCDE wouldn’t agree to blind filter trial: iiNet | iTnews Australia: iiNet’s chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, said the ISP had told the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) that if customers knew they were being filtered, they were more likely to attribute any problems to the filters. This would likely skew the results of the trials. Several customers calling into iiNet’s call centre already to complain the filters were slowing their connection speeds, even though the ISP isn’t part of the trials.
- David Weinberger: 4.5 lessons from Twitter| The Huffington Post: Amongst the flood of articles about Twitter, here’s one which offers some genuinely new observations, well expressed.
- The Tangled Web | newmatilda.com: On Tuesday night, newmatilda.com hosted the first in a series of public forums about internet regulation in Australia. If you’ve managed to miss the raging “clean feed” debate, here’s Rachel Maher’s overview to get the conversation started. Obviously nowhere near as good as mine.
- iiNet quits Conroy’s filter trial | ZDNet Australia: “It became increasingly clear that the trial was not simply about restricting child pornography or other such illegal material, but a much wider range of issues including what the government simply describes as ‘unwanted material’ without an explanation of what that includes,” [iiNet CEO Michael] Malone said in a statement.
- Google submission hammers section 92A | New Zealand PC World Magazine: In its submission regarding the controversial new s92 of New Zealand’s copyright law, Google notes that more than half (57%) of the takedown notices it has received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998, were sent by business targeting competitors and over one third (37%) of notices were not valid copyright claims.
- 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 last 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 .
Stilgherrian’s links for 31 January 2009, arranged by intensity of floral attitude:
- Twittering away standards or tweeting the future of journalism? | Reuters Blogs: Reuters News editor David Schlesinger tweets from Davos, beats his own news wires, and then blogs about the experience. If Twitter is changing journalism, his response is “Bring it on!”
- The LEGO Turing Machine | YouTube: The Turing Machine was a hypothetical computing device created by Alan Turing in 1936 to explain basic theoretical concepts in computing. While very simple, a Turing Machine is mathematically equivalent to any other general purpose computer, if slower. So, these guys have built one using LEGO Mindstorms components. The video has a bonus soundtrack via The A-Team.
- A radical idea: Charge people for your product | 37signals: The blog post is from November 2008, but the message is current given all the media flutter about Twitter — which has yet to earn a single dollar of revenue. Need income? Um, charge for your product!
- FORA.tv: “Videos Covering Today’s Top Social, Political, and Tech Issues.” I haven’t checked them out properly yet, so this is really a reminder to self.
- GoodBarry: These guys provide an integrated “Software as a Service” (SaaS) system for small business, covering eCommerce, content management (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM), email marketing and analytics. All hooked together, and all at good prices. I’m checking them out for a client.
- Life Matters’ Mandatory Internet Filter Transcript | Off Topic with Ashley: An unofficial transcript of ABC Radio National’s Life Matters program with network engineer Mark Newton and Jim Wallace, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.
- Mandatory internet filter | ABC Life Matters: On Thursday, ABC Radio National’s Life Matters interviewed network engineer Mark Newton and Jim Wallace, Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby. Audio available for download.
- The Economy According To Mint | TechCrunch: Mint is an online accounting system for consumers. Tracing their 900,000 customers through 2008 shows how their spending patterns have changed as the Global Financial Crisis worsens.
- Labor’s “deafening silence” as web censorship trials delayed | theage.com.au:
- Newspapers Saw the Digital Train A-Coming | Advertising Age: Bradley Johnson points out that the newspapers themselves were exploring digital delivery of news in the 1980s, but failed to do anything about it in terms of reviewing their business models.
- OpenNet Initiative: “ONI’s mission is to identify and document Internet filtering and surveillance, and to promote and inform wider public dialogs about such practices.”
- The Unmistakable Smell Of Decay | newmatilda.com: With the NSW Labor zombie army smelling worse all the time, party hacks are considering swapping their front-line cadaver, writes Bob Dumpling.