Charles Todd Medal winner for Communicator of the Year – Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. ATUG has appreciated the Minister’s focus on engagement with end users:
* seeking input from “feisty and fearless friends”,
* improving levels of customer service by guiding and working with industry,
* developing Australia”s digital economy,
* working through the platforms, the polices [sic], the opportunities and the obstacles,
* supporting ATUG”s Roam Fair Campaign- taking the initiative in APECTEL, the OECD and the ITU to secure fairer outcomes for end users.
ATUG debases themselves to the point of hilarity by giving a ‘Communicator of the Year’ award to the Ministard for Communications, who studiously avoided communications such as answering questions both in Parliament and in public about Labor’s proposed mandatory internet filter, until the ACMA blacklist was leaked. The leak forced Conjob to appear on ABC Q&A, SBS Insight and Triple J’s Hack program, on all of which the Ministard obfuscated and waffled over what materials would be banned, tried desperately to claim that ACMA’s ‘Refused Classification’ rating means ‘illegal,’and was in all cases handed his arse on a platter by anyone with a cursory understanding of how the internet works.
That pack of ‘feisty and fearless friends’ would include pro-censorship mobs like the Australian Christian Lobby (who want everything not in the bible removed from the internet), Webshield (ISP) CEO Anthony Pillion (and any other censorware vendors who stand to turn a fast buck off of mandatory internet censorship), ChildWise CEO Bernadette McMenamin (who doesn’t understand how the internet works yet calls those who do liars), etc. Feisty, fearless.. and absolutely unfettered by knowledge.
If Conjob merits a ‘Communicator of the Year’ award, Robert Mugabe is well past due for a Nobel Prize for Economics.
…even if Alice Bowie needs a Zimmer frame to get off stage and Man is still too high to work out he never gets double his weed.
In fact, they’re probably funnier.
[Chong] Up in smoke
Thats where my money goes
In my lungs
and sometimes up my nose
When troubled times
Begin to bother me
I take a toke
and all my cares
Go up in smoke
[Cheech] Up in smoke
Donde todos es mi rey
There are no signs
Que dice no fumer
So I roll un “bomber”
Y me doy, un buen toke-ay
Y despues I choke
Y todos mis cares
Go up in smoke
Come on let’s go get high
[Cast] Up in smoke
That’s where I wanna be
‘Cause when I’m high
The world below
Don’t bother me
When life begins
To be one long
and dangerous road
I take a toke
and all my cares
Go up in smoke
Tommy got 9 months in the Taft, California Federal Prison for playing a hapless stoner in a bunch of movies. Anyone other than Tommy Chong who sold a bong would get home detention. That little skirmish in the Bush/Ashcroft culture war on America didn’t do much more than resurrect the Cheech & Chong part of Tommy’s career.
I got to talk to the fellas after the 22 April show at the Enmore for a few minutes. When Tommy found out I was an American who had lived in Aus for about 14 years, he asked for my email address, but after seeing this video… I’m not holding out much hope for any notes. Tommy’s wife Shelby mentioned that they were considering moving out to Australia; I sure hope they check out the Blue Mountains before splashing out for a harbour view mansion.
Friday evening, in a motion to dismiss Jewel v. NSA, EFF’s litigation against the National Security Agency for the warrantless wiretapping of countless Americans, the Obama Administration’s made two deeply troubling arguments.
First, they argued, exactly as the Bush Administration did on countless occasions, that the state secrets privilege requires the court to dismiss the issue out of hand. They argue that simply allowing the case to continue “would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security.” As in the past, this is a blatant ploy to dismiss the litigation without allowing the courts to consider the evidence.
It’s an especially disappointing argument to hear from the Obama Administration. As a candidate, Senator Obama lamented that the Bush Administration “invoked a legal tool known as the ‘state secrets’ privilege more than any other previous administration to get cases thrown out of civil court.” He was right then, and we’re dismayed that he and his team seem to have forgotten.
Sad as that is, it’s the Department Of Justice’s second argument that is the most pernicious. The DOJ claims that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying – that the Government can never be sued for surveillance that violates federal privacy statutes.
This is a radical assertion that is utterly unprecedented. No one – not the White House, not the Justice Department, not any member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration – has ever interpreted the law this way.
“We had hoped this would go differently” is the biggest understatement made in the US since 1776. This move by Obama fully undermines just about every argument made when he was a candidate. If I had any clue that Obama would have done anything like this, I would not have bothered voting at all.
While you gotta hand it to the guy for being able to bullshit on the fly, it was heaps better when Senator Conjob was hiding under a rock, refusing to answer any questions at all about the proposed mandatory filtering scam.
Stephen Conroy: We said that if the trial shows that this cannot be done then we won’t do it.
Kate O’Toole: And what is the definition of ‘cannot be done’? What would be the acceptable amount to slow the internet down?
SC: Now you’re asking me to pre-empt the outcome of the trial.
KO: No, no, no, I’m not, you’ve gotta have a… before you start the trial, you’ve got to have an understanding of what is… what’s a pass and a fail, like you’ve got to be able to measure, you can’t sort of wait until the trial finishes and then look back and decide how you’re going to measure the outcome.
SC: Well actually, actually, that’s how you conduct a trial. You wait to see what the results is and then you make a decision based on the results. If the trial shows that it cannot be done without slowing the internet down, then we will not do it.
And there you have it- Conjob will define ‘success’ after the results of the filtering trial are in- moreover, the trial won’t be held under anything resembling real-world conditions. Customers on filtering trial ISPs like Optus will be able to opt-out.
However, in the same breath, Conjob committed himself to an impossible goal- filtering without any speed degradation whatsoever. Simple as this, when a computer halts an access to a website while the URL is compared to a banlist, there will be an inherent delay while that task is performed.
You would have to have mountains of sympathy for Conjob’s primary school teachers. He’d be the only kid who could have homework eaten by the family dog twenty times yet turn it into a scholastic achievement every single time.
Child pornography is Labor’s WMD. It’s nothing but an excuse that few will disagree with to implement mandatory censorship, with the premeditated intent to use the filter for a much broader range of material, inclusive of political speech and peer-to-peer filesharing. Once the filter is in place, it will be expanded. The Australian Christian Lobby will see to that. ACL’s Jim Wallace has said in no uncertain terms that he wants all ordinary porn blocked, as well as numerous other subjects on his list of pet hatreds.
Frankly, the primary goal of the filter is blocking political speech critical of the government’s positions. The ACL and some of the less savvy child protection advocates are merely useful idiots to the ALP in driving the anti-porn furphy. These groups have access to a rather small but vocal base. Their sympathetic audiences are susceptible to emotive arguments, inclusive of conspiracy theories, instead of fact. They are likely to be distrustful of educated and intellectual arguments against filtering from well qualified people.
Clearly, despite Senator Conjob’s and the ACL’s protestations that ‘no one should be able to opt in to child pornography,’ no reasonable Australian supports free access to child pornography. However, there’s numerous reasons not to use internet filtering to address the problem, perhaps the most significant being that it’s like drawing the drapes because someone’s being murdered in your front yard. However, it’s really worse than that. In this metaphorical example, given how trivial it is to circumvent ISP level filtering, it’s like drawing transparent or even imaginary drapes. Plain old police work must be used to catch child pornographers, specifically and critically, those exploiting children to produce the material, to seize their files and shut down distribution.
If ordinary adult pornography is going to be handed up as a reason for the filter, that’s an argument that simply won’t win in Australia. Most of you will know from personal experience that Aussies don’t mind a bit of porn. However, there’s precious little proper research into Australians’ relationship with porn.
Thanks to Associate Professor Alan McKee, Dr. Kath Albury and Professor Catharine Lumby, there’s now a bit more in the body of evidence that not only do we like a bit of porn, it’s demonstrably harmless. (more…)
Fibre to the home has been on every internet user’s wishlist for years, certainly on mine… but will Rudd bundle internet censorship with it? Let’s hope he’s not laboring under the impression that it’s any harder to circumvent filtering with fibre than with any other transport means. Pardon my suspicion, but with the level of uninformed crap coming out of Conjob’s mouth, anything from government seems possible.