Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Cold War on the Internet

Back to an important topic ... freedoms. Recently I had a look at the Optus FAQ on Internet filtering and it seemed very against the government mandate of applying a filter across the nation's internet. They stated this in their FAQ ...

Q.What about other content like adult content and things the government might like to stop people viewing but that is not classified as prohibited content?

Optus will NOT be filtering this type of content.
Client-side filters are readily available for people to download onto their home / business computers if they wish to filter out such content. Eg Optus Security Suite.

But it seems that Optus have jumped on board like every other ISP provider, headed by Telstra the governments communication henchman. Optus own Virgin here, so I wont even bother checking on Virgin's position.

The government conducted its main trial for the Internet filter in Tasmania. The State where I was born. Tasmania has had human rights issues before to do with personal freedoms and is a notorious Bible belt. A convenient place wouldn't you say to test an Internet filter? This of course allowed the test results to be overwhelmingly positive for the government.

Stephen Conroy our minister for Broadband communications is a Catholic and Kevin Rudd our Prime Minister is a conservative Anglican with Catholic ties. They are very much "in" with the religious right and Family First (A political Party of dubious values). Scary thing is, is that Australia hasn't really had a passionate climate of action and protest, in fact, the problem here is that we'll probably yelp about this matter a bit and then slump back into our routine and spend the rest of the time grumbling at the backyard BBQ. This cannot be allowed to happen. It's amazing really. Since this issue has occurred, I've been organizing my Online b-zine for anti-censorship ( which will be launched in Feb and constantly been updating my FB(i) page et cetera, yet everyone else on my FB(i) contact list are still just talking about what they had for breakfast. This is a real threat. C'mon peoples.

We need assistance from Global communities too. The problem is that the filter will potentially prevent Australians from Blogging if their site is refused classification. Get in touch with the No Clean Feed people of the Electronic Frontier and make contact expressing a willingness to help us.

The government has been going on and on about how this filter is meant to block out the real nasty stuff which in reality is not what is going to do. They have clearly stated in their more boring spin that the filter is intended to block out any material that has "refused classification" - now guess who classifies Australian Internet content? The OFLC (Office for Film, Literature Classification). From memory anything starting at an R-Rating and above is unable to be inputted or outputted on the Internet in Australia. Of course initially these were just policies of which most rational people ignored but now they are being enforced "physically".

We know it wont just be Adult content, we know what governments are like, we know how they will use it. Take the Stephen Conroy spoof site for example. It was a satire site that lampooned Stephen Conroy, our minister for Broadband and Communications. Telstra of the "au" domains took the site down. Already we see what they do when they feel threatened by the public. Giving them the "hand that signs the paper" is like, well we know what it is like, I don't even have to provide an analogy.

As for the children. To "protect our children" they say. They keep on saying it. A few years ago I bought my eldest son a laptop. I bought him a Macbook, he's been learning about the Internet ever since. He has his own Podcasting show on iTunes, he, with the help of me is learning about what global communication is. This is important stuff for kids to learn. Sure you may not want kids seeing material that may scar them psychologically but that is what home Internet filtering and security is about. The parental controls on your kid's personal computer is what it is all about. Your individual parenting and management of your home and family life is what it is all about. Just look at children who have been denied these freedoms and see what that has done for them. I gave the example on FB(i) of the Old Bailey Online, you can search through about 197,745 documents from 1674 until 1913 which will give you plenty of cases of children committing heinous crimes well before there was the Internet - and indeed during a time when morals were strictly enforced and children had very few rights.

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