Links for 30 September 2009 through 13 October 2009

Stilgherrian’s links for 30 September 2009 through 13 October 2009, gathered automatically but then left to languish for two weeks before publication.

There’s so many of these links this time that I’ll publish them over the fold. I think I need to get over my fear of the link being published automatically without my checking them first, and my concern that my website won’t look nice if the first post is just a list of links.

Maybe I should just stick these Delicious-generated links in a sidebar? Or do you like having them in the main stream and RSS feed?

Continue reading “Links for 30 September 2009 through 13 October 2009”

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 | 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! | 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.

Special Melon Pepperoni Edition now online!

Screenshot of Andrew Bolt as Cnut of the Week

Episode 41 of Stilgherrian Live is now online for your viewing pleasure — although of course the live chat is a vital part of the experience and you really ought to be watching it live.

The clear winner of “Cnut of the Week” was Andrew Bolt (pictured) with 79% of the vote, for his continuing denialism regarding climate change and for failing to understand that the debate about Internet censorship has moved well past calling everyone a pedophile. His comment on Thursday night’s Q&A drew particular ire.

Well, I think a lot of people are getting very worried about something that hasn’t actually been decided or rolled out. I think it’s incredible and it’s not as if there’s only one right at stake, which is the right to masturbate over photos of children being raped. I mean, that’s not the only right at stake here. There’s another right, and that’s the right to protect children, and I think it all comes down to how does it actually work in practice. And if it does, indeed, do what some of these people are getting hyper about, you know, slow internet speeds by 87 per cent or stop people from looking at legitimate political sites, I’m sure I would bet my bottom dollar that Steve won’t approve it.

We had many fine nominations, but those that made the shortlist were overwhelmed by Bolt’s cnutery. The Leslie Nassar / Fake Stephen Conroy / Telstra debacle received 12% of the votes, then Senator Stephen Conroy on 7% and the German police on a mere 1% for their raid on the Wikileaks volunteer.

The question has been raised: Should Stilgherrian Live move to Friday nights permanently? Whaddyareckon?

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.

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.