Censor This? Censordyne

July 9, 2009

In 2008, the Australian Labor Party introduced a policy of mandatory Internet filtering for all Australians. While the policy has not yet come into force, it has generated substantial opposition, with only a few groups in support. The Labor Party does not have enough votes in the Senate to enact any legislation to support the filter, so that the filter has "effectively been scuttled" unless the government is able to implement the filter by other means.

Get Up – Action for Australia, an independent organisation giving everyday Australians opportunities to get involved and hold politicians accountable on important issues, have come up with their own ad that they want to put on TV to address the issue.

here it is:

I personally am against Internet censorship and according to multiple surveys I am not the only one. To protect our children, we as parents should take the responsibility and not our ISPs or the government.

Fake Stephen Conroy Twitter account censored by Telstra?

March 17, 2009

The @stephenconroy Twitter account has ‘reappeared’ since the initial writing of this article. It was certainly down for us (which the SMH also points out below).

– Telstra has published some ‘facts’on the situation (here):
– @StephenConroy has stated he has been asked to stop Twittering (here).

Much more than a prank – a piece of Twitter History:
So the Twitter account @stephenconroy as written by Leslie Nassar, a Telstra employee, was today shut down. Whilst some called Nassar a prankster, those who followed @stephenconroy know that this was a brilliantly written, satirical, entertaining and fun parody that was never in doubt as a fake. In fact it brought some well needed humour into a debate about censorship and the internet filter in Australia. We even played a part publishing a list of suspects (which really was all part of the fun and quite the opposite to being a witch hunt as some saw it).

image Even the real Senator Stephen Conroy seemed to think the character was healthy satire (as stated in an SMH article), and >1500 followers on Twitter were regularly drawn into @stephenconroy’s daily musings and conversations. Amongst the followers were many of the “Twitterati” (high reach Twitter users) as well as journalists and other key influencers. It is safe to say that Nassar has a strong base of support in the community.

The Censorship Debate:
It raises an interesting debate and all eyes will now be on Telstra to handle the matter with dignity and fairness. There is clearly a conflict of interest for the corporation given its pending deals with the government. However most neutral observers would agree that Nassar kept the debate a considerable distance from his employer. The broader reaction has been one of disappointment at the termination* of the @stephenconory twitter account (although it is suspected that Nassar may have removed this to avoid conflict with his employer). Many consider the profile a part of Twitter nostalgia given the brilliantly written tweets that were posted daily. History has shown that brands that censor rather than support in these situations do not fare well. We’ve set up a poll below to let you voice your opinion:

Did Telstra make the right decision in silencing @stephenconroy?

If you feel strongly (ie: should Telstra ask Mr.Nassar to continue to run the @stephenconroy account please post a comment below).

Todays smh article:

Click image to visit SMH story above.

Australia’s Great Firewall without an opt-out

October 16, 2008

Taken from Boing Boing

In a move that seems to be happening without comment from the Australian media, the Australian government is introducing a censorship regime ostensibly targeted at stopping teenagers accessing online porn.

But rather than being an opt-in system, it’s “opt-out”. I use the scare quotes because, and this is most insidious part, you can’t actually opt out – you can merely be placed on a alternative blacklist which, instead of blocking “content innappropriate for children”, block any material deemed to be illegal.

The fact that it will likely reduce everyone’s internet performance is secondary; It will most likely incorrectly block 1% of sites, and now what you are allowed to view online is determined and controlled by the state (although most likely quite inaccurately).

The rationale is that since they’re setting it up anyway, they’re morally obliged to block traffic deemed illegal:

“Illegal is illegal and if there is infrastructure in place to block it, then it will be required to be blocked — end of story.”

I don’t think I need to go into too much detail about the potential threat to our civil liberties.

People of Australia, please write to your MPs to voice your opposition to this.