ALP the new Stalinists

/rant mode on

Today’s rant is unusual as it’s not about the USA election, USAn attitudes on sex and education [lack thereof], creationists being morons, or sporting broadcasts.  Today I’m frothing at the mouth about something that’s going on here in Australia, that the population is not getting upset enough about – but that’s the berloody apathetic Aussies for ya – and is not being brought to attention what with all media focus on global financial crisis and the fact that Sarah Palin has a vagina [one presumes].

Australian Labour Party IT Minister Stephen Conroy [oops sorry, Minister For Broadband And The Digital Economy] has long been talking up his new “Plan For Cyber-Safety”, which will cost the government at least $ 125.8 million, and is a nationwide internet filtering system.  Yep just like the one China has about which Australia and other “First World” nations have been criticising and bleating stuff about “human rights abuses”. 

Apparently it’s to make the internet safe, “to provide greater protection to children from online pornography and violent websites”.  Okay, fair enough, you may say – child porn is nasty.   But let me ask you, how much of the transactions, information searches and knowledge gained on a daily basis with this marvel of modern times is done by five year olds?

And how much of what kids watch on television is abusive and violent?  From the news to Home & Away, there’s plenty of abusive and frightening material out there.  The kind of TV they watch is more likely to impact children’s behaviour than anything other apart from peer pressure . . . which is usually gained from the shite they watch on TV.

Basically I think it is completely fucking stupid legislating for censorship, this totalitarian Orwellian crackdown, for what is essentially a parenting issue.  Hey first thing you do is not allow the child access to a computer when you’re not there – keep it in the kitchen, don’t give them their own laptop for flying fuck’s sake.  And put your own controls on that computer.  You superviseAnd talk to your kids about the nasty people that can live inside / on the other side of your computer.  Talk to your kids about these topics and body image and drugs and sex and peer pressure.  

Or miscellaneous pagan gods forbid you actually take a little responsibility and communicate.  No, no, no, the government must crack down and save us all aaaiiieeeeee!!!  [in which case – relying on the government to save us all – we’re totally screwed.]

. . . . . . . . . .

It doesn’t matter how many times Stephen Conroy and Kevin Rudd repeat that there is “an option” to “opt out of any Internet ISP filtering scheme”.  That is a big fat whopper of a lie.  Under the Cyber-Safety plan it will be mandatory for ALL Internet Service Providers [ISPs] to filter content – what the Government is calling a “clean” internet feed, to all homes, schools and public Internet points accessible by children.

Those who do choose to “opt out” will be placed on a blacklist.  Ooooh I am interested in reading about health information and research, human rights, maybe even sex education and toys therefore I’m a terrorist ooooooooh.  I’m engaged in “illegal” and “illicit” activity.

So apart from crippling internet speeds, the Cyber-Safety Plan will cripple free speech and our access to information.  Reading about issues such as drugs, euthanasia, sex education, whatever the government decides is “illegal”.  It is inevitable that protest and public dissent will also be met with a crackdown.  According to Blogotariat, the fantastic OzBlog’s news commentary, censorship on this issue alone is already occurring [article here].

* Don’t bother trying to access Senator Conroy’s January 2008 media release in which he promised the ‘opt out’ feature in his Internet censorship proposal – you will receive a 404 notice and immediately be re-directed to http://www.minister.dbcde.gov.au/ and surprise, surprise, media release 70 is no longer to be found.

Nor can one find his reported media release of 30-31 December 2007 on the same subject.

* No Clean Feed  (which protests Minister Conroy’s plan) is currently receiving complaints that the NSW Government is blocking its website. I can verify that entering this site will frequently see Internet Explorer close it within a minute.

FOR FUCKS SAKE LOIKE.   George Orwell intended Nineteen Eighty-Four to be a critique and warning – not a fucking street map!

. . . . . . . . . .

I couldn’t resist attaching a copy of Tuxedo’s letter to the Minister.  I think it’s fucking brilliant and I encourage every responsible, thinking Australian to follow his lead.

Dear Minister,

May I firstly congratulate you on your proposed waste of public Australian funds on a nationwide filtering system that will reduce internetworking performance internationally for all Australians and conversely non-Australians conducting internetworking transactions with Australian business, and secondly for your attitude that the internet should be cleansed so that it is suitable for 5 yr olds.

I would like to point out that business transactions (which are the principal reason for Australia’s investment in the NBN) on the internet are conducted by people who are older than 5. Introducing a censorship scheme that is this vast in nature introduces immense responsibility that government cannot be trusted with. When presented with an easy opportunity to limit information that is potentially damaging to you what would you chose to do?

When you propose the cleansing of the internet so that only material fit for 5 year olds is allowed through (and I do realise that yes news sites will be available as long as you haven’t banned them although the news is pretty shocking these days, what with murders and car smashes and whatnot, you might want to sort that out too), you risk seriously damaging the intellectual capability of those of us who are tucked behind your proposed firewall. You will block 10’s of thousands of legitimate web sites that will be erroneously labelled as illicit by your proposal. Even then there will be ways around your proposed system, I won’t detail them because after-all you are the minister supporting this project, you can’t be trusted with that kind of information. While the world chastises China for its restrictive controls on net freedom  and dissenting opinion, why are you implementing elements of a communist state in Australia?

I propose that instead of re-affirming my opinion of Australia (and thereby yourself) as the ‘Global Village Idiot’ the better option is that you re-enforce the message that parents should be watching their children’s internet usage, that won’t cost $125 Mil, and it might actually encourage parenting skills, which this legislation will not address. The rest of us grown up’s are old enough to make our own decisions without your interference and your thinly veiled attempt to curtail the freedom of information in this country in a digital age using the most ineffective methods available.

I wish to offer my warmest disregards,

[Tuxedo]

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Comments

  • Dave  On Sunday 26 October 2008 at 12:07 am

    Oh. My. Fucking. GOD.

    Livid now. Fuck me.

  • otterkat  On Sunday 26 October 2008 at 11:25 am

    F’ing unbelievable isn’t it? I’m furious and keep saying “but-but-but they can’t DO that” – except they can and will. I mean, what century are we living in again? I’ve always voted ALP b/c I can’t bear the other shower, never believed the more Left of the parties would pull a paternalistic regressive stunt like this! Scarey, scarey shit and loads worse than China since we’re apparently a democratic not a totalitarian / communist country. [And hey, my home is child-free, shouldn’t that make me exempt? FFSL!]

  • otterkat  On Sunday 26 October 2008 at 11:28 am

    oh yes, and with all the “urgent” calls for “immediate and drastic action” viz a viz the energy and climate change crises, this is what they spend the $$$ and effort on. Um how are we even going to RUN the fuckers [computers] without electricity and 50 metres underwater?

  • tuxedo  On Monday 27 October 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Well, this is nothing compared to what is going on in the UK right now. Recently Jacqui Smith anounced proposals to intercept all inbound and outbound telephone conversations for the whole of the UK along with capture of transmission of every e-mail sent to and from the UK. Welcome to democracy 2.0. Where your rights stop at the door on your way in.

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