Anti-censorship group censored
Wednesday May 06th 2009, 10:08 pm

EFA have been served with a link deletion notice by ACMA. They’ve been ordered to remove a link to http://www.abortiontv.com/Pics/AbortionPictures6.htm, a site which was added to the ACMA blacklist after anti-censorship Whirlpool user xFOADx baited them to do so.

As a good measure of the circular futility of internet censorship, ACMA served Whirlpool with a link deletion notice when xFOADx published the content of a letter to him from ACMA indicating the page on the abortion.tv site had been blacklisted. EFA rightfully wonder where it all will end:

If a link to a prohibited page is not allowed, what about a link to a link? At what number of hops does a hyperlink ecome acceptable?

Indeed, is http://tinyurl.com/3ya5js a prohibited link? It points to http://www.abortiontv.com/Pics/AbortionPictures6.htm. How about http://tinyurl.com/cgyla3? It points to http://tinyurl.com/3ya5js.

EFA have also reproduced a copy of the ‘Final Link Deletion Notice‘ as received from ACMA. Page 3 of the Notice contains the evil offending link. Should ACMA ban EFA from publishing ACMA’s own Notice?

1984 much?

mgk’s host has not yet been served with a link deletion notice for the several times I have published the http://www.abortiontv.com/Pics/AbortionPictures6.htm, but hope springs eternal. I’m aware that a complaint has been made to ACMA about mgk, but whether a single blogger is worth ACMA’s attention or if they will focus on attacking large harbours of criticism of the government like EFA & Whirlpool remains to be seen.

One thing’s certain; the first rule of censorship is that you cannot discuss censorship.

-weez



FIGJAM: Internet censorship works! Just ask Exetel!
Tuesday May 05th 2009, 8:42 am

SCOOOOOOOOOORE!

It has been predicted several times that ‘trials’ of mandatory internet censorship would invariably be heralded as great successes, given the lack of definition of ‘success‘ before trials were commenced.

ISP Exetel have just completed what they are calling a ‘trial’ of mandatory internet censorship. And ya know what? It’s a runaway success!

Never you mind that the ‘trial’ they ran bore no resemblance whatsoever to the requirements of Rudd’s plan. But that’s not important! Exetel claim it works… depending upon your definition of ‘works,’ of course.

Mysteries abound, though. Exetel’s Steve Waddington is now so convinced of the need for and lack of harm of mandatory filtering that he’s gone from staunch filter opponent to calling staunch filter opponents ‘crazies‘ in the span of 5 months. Waddington’s coarse and completely unprofessional flaming of an unhappy home & commercial Exetel customer is fully gobsmacking. So, how exactly did Waddington’s opinion change so radically? Was he sold a pup by the censorware vendor? Was he told to change his mind by Exetel Boss John Linton? Who knows. Regardless, I’ve been shopping for a replacement for my Optus service since they announced they’d be participating in a flawed ‘trial’ as well. Exetel’s well and truly earned a spot on my never-in-a-million-years list.

But, if Exetel’s results are to believed, internet filtering WORKS… as long as your banlist is infinitesimally small, involves a statistically insignificant number of users and doesn’t filter YouTube or Wikipedia.

You can score a squillion points a minute if you have Conroyâ„¢ brand goal posts. A mile wide, fully portable, put ‘em anywhere you like!

-weez



Geofiltering tomfoolery: one of the two downsides to being a US expat
Sunday May 03rd 2009, 7:04 am

In the nearly 14 years I have lived in Australia to date, the only American stuff I have truly missed is Ben & Jerry’s. I certainly did not miss living in the US during the reign of King George the Torturer. Up ’til this point, pretty much any US TV offerings worth seeing (and those are damned rare) have been readily available, either on the ‘torrents or through the kindness of producers of such shows, who have made them viewable via their websites.

Well, a couple of days ago, the folks over at Comedy Central decided that it’s more important to please international copyright holders than the fans of the shows and so have geofiltered the availability of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Never you mind that TDS & TCR either don’t air at all in Australia or don’t air in their entirety. TDS is occasionally aired in Aus in a weekly ‘global edition’ digest form- and often a week (or more) later than the US airing, while TCR doesn’t air in Aus at all. This is suicide for a news and current affairs program. Who cares about month-or-more-old satires of current events?

While I’ve not succeeded over the years in getting any New York Super Fudge Chunk here in Aus, geofiltering of US websites is trivial to beat. The only thing that Comedy Central have accomplished by slamming the door on overseas fans of TDS & TCR is to generate an awful lot of badwill, particularly after Jon Stewart has bragged so many times that TDS is available for free, worldwide, via the TDS website. Well, that and will force TDS fans to get the show (probably illegally) off the ‘torrents.

American insularity is something that Stewart has railed against for all the time TDS has been on air. Lets hope commonsense prevails, but in the meantime, proxying, IP spoofing and torrents will keep any dedicated TDS/TCR fans from missing anything. One thing geofiltering will definitely not accomplish is to force fans in Australia to buy cable/satellite services so they can get old or truncated versions of the shows.

-weez



Australia’s monarchist hangover
Friday May 01st 2009, 8:07 am

The government is in the process of conducting a ‘Human Rights Consultation‘ with a view toward establishing some sort of Bill of Rights or human rights declaration. Good idea. We don’t have basic human rights codified in Australia, not even freedom of speech/expression.

However, the Terms of Reference for this consultation negate its very existence. Last note in the Terms:

The options identified should preserve the sovereignty of the Parliament and not include a constitutionally entrenched bill of rights.

Rights doctrines do one thing and one thing only- protect citizens from excessive exercise of government power. They’re of little value if they are enacted on a statutory basis, where they can be modified, overridden or even dissolved by a simple act of Parliament.

The notion of ‘preserving the sovereignty of the Parliament’ could only be acceptable to authoritarians and monarchists. Governments in liberal democracies are constituted of, by and for the people, not the other way around. You don’t get imbued with the right to deprive others of human rights merely because you have been elected to a public office. The only sovereignty which should be established by a rights doctrine is that of the citizen over the government.

If there’s to be a human rights declaration, it must be a constitutional instrument or it has little value. Regardless, GetUp are pushing participation in the human rights consultation:

This government consultation is a once in a lifetime chance to call for a Human Rights Act to permanently protect human rights in Australia.

Sorry, but the Act as framed will not ‘permanently protect human rights in Australia.’ It will be white-anted by the present or subsequent governments, merely because it will not be entrenched as part of the Australian Constitution, which offers some resilience against tampering by a simple Parliamentary vote. I can’t support GetUp’s campaign unless they lobby to change the terms to specify a constitutional rights declaration.

-weez