The Rudd Filter

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elias.b...@gmail.com

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Nov 1, 2008, 1:54:36 AM11/1/08
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I've shared a document with you called "The Rudd Filter":
http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dhpcgn3_51cts4853n&invite=gs24c4

It's not an attachment -- it's stored online at Google Docs. To open this document, just click the link above.
---

Hi

I have kicked started a position paper on the Internet Censorship issue, with the goal to educate the government and the public.

Collaborators welcome! I am leading this effort and will be the editor of the final document, but your input will be recognised.

Elias Bizannes

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Nov 1, 2008, 2:20:52 AM11/1/08
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I am calling this the Rudd Filter. Why?
- filter has been used alongside the term clean feed by the ALP and government since 2006. It's an existing term.
- I think we need to associate Rudd with it, because the only way to defeat this, is if we make the ALP realise it is political suicide. It's not unfair to do this as he is ultimately responsible, but it's just highlighting attacking Conroy will only make Conroy defensive, not his boss who ultimately has the influence to withdraw this policy. So if you could from now on, lets drop "clean feed" because its a propaganda battle that favours the government. "Rudd filter" will shift the debate.
- For some of you, you probably don't understand the significance of the terms but all I ask is just trust us, those of us that make a big deal of it. The language frames the debate, and currently, we can't win because "clean" implies good, and "protecting children" and "preventing child pornography" are terms you can't fight against, but are terms that are used to manipulate the debate. In fact, it makes outright no sense (why would a child want to see child pornography and how does blocking access somehow stop child pornography distribution?)

As you will read, it is clear the government has evolved its policy based on the ambiguity of the words used, but I think its clear in the context of how words like "mandatory" have been used, Conroy's actions are a clear shift from what the public interpreted it.

--
Elias Bizannes
http://liako.biz

Elias Bizannes

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Nov 2, 2008, 9:38:21 AM11/2/08
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Attention: Senators of the Australian parliament 

With all due respect, I believe my elected representatives as well as my fellow Australians misunderstand the issue of Internet censorship. Below I offer my perspective, which I hope can re-position the debate with a more complete understanding of the issues. 

The following letter can also be accessed via
http://siliconbeachaustralia.org/ruddfilter/
http://siliconbeachaustralia.org/ruddfilter/The_Rudd_Filter.pdf

Background

The policy of the Australian Labor Party on its Internet filter was in reaction to the Howard Government's family-based approach which Labor said was a failure. Then leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley, announced in March 2006 (Internet archive) that under Labor "all Internet Service Providers will be required to offer a filtered 'clean feed' Internet service to all households, and to schools and other public internet points accessible by kids." The same press release states "Through an opt-out system, adults who still want to view currently legal content would advise their Internet Service Provider (ISP) that they want to opt out of the "clean feed", and would then face the same regulations which currently apply."


The 2007 Federal election, which was led by Kevin Rudd, announced the election pledge that "a Rudd Labor Government will require ISPs to offer a 'clean feed' Internet service to all homes, schools and public Internet points accessible by children, such as public libraries. Labor's ISP policy will prevent Australian children from accessing any content that has been identified as prohibited by ACMA, including sites such as those containing child pornography and X-rated material."


Following the election, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy in December 2007 clarified that anyone wanting uncensored access to the Internet will have to opt-out of the service.


In October 2008, the policy had another subtle yet dramatic shift. When examined by a Senate Estimates committee, Senator Conroy stated that "we are looking at two tiers - mandatory of illegal material and an option for families to get a clean feed service if they wish." Further, Conroy mentioned "We would be enforcing the existing laws. If investigated material is found to be prohibited content then ACMA may order it to be taken down if it is hosted in Australia. They are the existing laws at the moment."


The interpretation of this, which has motivated this paper as well as sparked outrage by Australians nation-wide, is that all Internet connection points in Australia will be subjected to the filter, with only the option to opt-out of the Family tier but not the tier that classifies 'illegal material'. While the term "mandatory" has been used as part of the policy in the past, it has always been used in the context of making it mandatory for ISP's to offer such as service. It was never used in the context of it being mandatory for Australians on the Internet, to use it.


Not only is this a departure from the Rudd government's election pledge, but there is little evidence to suggest that it is not truly being representative of the requests from the Australian community. Senator Conroy has shown evidence of the previous NetAlert policy by the previous government falling far below expectations. According to Conroy, 1.4 million families were expected to download the filter, but many less actually did. The estimated end usage according to Conroy is just 30,000 - despite a $22 million advertising campaign. The attempt by this government to pursue this policy therefore, is for its own ideological or political benefit. The Australian people never gave the mandate nor is there evidence to indicate majority support to pursue this agenda. Further, the government trials to date have shown the technology to be ineffective.


On the 27th of October, some 9,000 people had signed a petition to deny support of a government filter. At the time of writing this letter on the 2 November, this has now climbed to 13,655 people. The government's moves are being closely watched by the community and activities are being planned to respond to the government should this policy continue in its current direction.


I write this to describe the impact such a policy will have if it goes ahead, to educate the government and the public.


Impacts on Australia

Context

The approach of the government to filtering is one dimensional and does not take into account the converged world of the Internet. The Internet has - and will continue to - transform our world. It has become a utility, to form the backbone of our economy and communications. Fast and wide-spread access to the Internet has been recognised globally as a priority policy for political and business leaders of the world.


The Internet typically allows three broad types of activities. The first is that of facilitating the exchange of goods and services. The Internet has become a means of creating a more efficient marketplace, and is well known to have driven demand in offline selling as well, as it creates better informed consumers to reach richer decision making. On the other hand, online market places can exist with considerable less overhead - creating a more efficient marketplace than in the physical world, enabling stronger niche markets through greater connections between buyers and sellers.


The second activity is that of communications. This has enabled a New Media or Hypermedia of many-to-many communications, with people now having a new way to communicate and propagate information. The core value of the World Wide Web can be realised from its founding purpose: created by CERN, it was meant to be a hypertext implementation that would allow better knowledge sharing of its global network of scientists. It was such a transformative thing, that the role of the media has forever changed. For example, newspapers that thrived as businesses in the Industrial Age, now face challenges to their business models, as younger generations are preferring to access their information over Internet services which objectively is a more effective way to do so.


A third activity is that of utility. This is a growing area of the Internet, where it is creating new industries and better ways of doings, now that we have a global community of people connected to share information. The traditional software industry is being changed into a service model where instead of paying a license, companies offer an annual subscription to use the software via the browser as platform (as opposed to a PC's Window's installation as the platform). Cloud computing is a trend pioneered by Google, and now an area of innovation by other major Internet companies like Amazon and Microsoft, that will allow people to have their data portable and accessible anywhere in the world. These are disruptive trends, that will further embed the Internet into our world.  

The Internet will be unnecessarily restricted 

All three of the broad activities described above, will be affected by a filter.  

The impact on Markets with analysis-based filters, is that it will likely block access to sites due to a description used in selling items. Suggestions by Senators have been that hardcore and fetish pornography be blocked - content that may be illegal for minors to view, but certainly not illegal for consenting adults. For example, legitimate businesses that used the web as their shopfront (such as adultshop.com.au), will be restricted from the general population in their pursuit of recreational activities. The filter's restriction on information for Australians is thus a restriction on trade and will impact individuals and their freedoms in their personal lives.

The impact on communications is large. The Internet has created a new form of media called "social media". Weblogs, wiki's, micro-blogging services like Twitter, forums like Australian start-up business Tangler and other forms of social media are likely to have their content - and thus service - restricted. The free commentary of individuals on these services, will lead to a censoring and a restriction in the ability to use the services. "User generated content" is considered a central tenet in the proliferation of web2.0, yet the application of industrial area controls on the content businesses now runs into a clash with people's public speech as the two concepts that were previously distinct in that era, have now merged.

Further more, legitimate information services will be blocked with analysis-based filtering due to language that would trigger filtering. As noted in the ACMA report, "the filters performed significantly better when blocking pornography and other adult content but performed less well when blocking other types of content". As a case in point, a site containing the word "breast", would be filtered despite it having legitimate value in providing breast cancer awareness.


Utility services could be adversely affected. The increasing trend of computing 'in the cloud' means that our computing infrastructure will require an efficient and open Internet. A filter will do nothing but disrupt this, with little ability to achieve the policy goal of preventing illegal material. As consumers and businesses move to the cloud, critical functions will be relied on, and any threat in the distribution and under-realisation of potential speeds, will be a burden on the economy.

Common to all three classes above, is the degradation of speeds and access. The ACMA report claims that all six filters tested scored an 88% effectiveness rate in terms of blocking the content that the government was hoping would be blocked. It also claims that over-blocking of acceptable content was 8% for all filters tested, with network degradation not nearly as big of a problem during these tests as it was during previous previous trials, when performance degradation ranged from 75-98%. In this latest test, the ACMA said degradation was down, but


The Government has recognised with the legislation it bases its regulatory authority from, that "whilst it takes seriously its responsibility to provide an effective regime to address the publication of illegal and offensive material online, it wishes to ensure that regulation does not place onerous or unjustifiable burdens on industry and inhibit the development of the online economy."


The compliance costs alone will hinder the online economy. ISP's will need to constantly maintain the latest filtering technologies, businesses will need to monitor user generated content to ensure their web services are not automatically filtered and administrative delays to unblock legal sites will hurt profitability and for some start-up businesses may even kill them.


And that's just for compliance, lets not forget the actual impact on users. As Crikey has reported (Internet filters a success, if success = failure), even the best filter has a false-positive rate of 3% under ideal lab conditions. Mark Newton (the network engineer who Senator Conroy's office attacked recently) reckons that for a medium-sized ISP that's 3000 incorrect blocks every second. Another maths-heavy analysis says that every time that filter blocks something there's an 80% chance it was wrong.


The Policy goal will not be met & will be costly through this approach

The Labor party's election policy document states that Labor's ISP policy will prevent Australian children from accessing any content that has been identified as prohibited by ACMA, including sites such as those containing child pornography and X-rated material. Other than being a useful propaganda device, to my knowledge children and people generally don't actively seek child pornography, and a filter does nothing to prevent these offline real-world social networks of paedophiles to restrict their activities.


What the government seems to misunderstand, is that a filter regime will prove inadequate in achieving any of this, due to the reality of how information gets distributed on the Internet.


Composition of Internet traffic by you.

Peer-to-peer networks (P2P), a legal technology that also proves itself impossible to control or filter, accounts for the majority of Internet traffic, with figures of between 48% in the Middle East and 80% in Eastern Europe. As noted earlier, the ACMA trials have confirmed that although they can block P2P, they cannot actually analyse the content as being illegal. This is because P2P technologies like torrents are completely decentralised. Individual torrents cannot be identified, and along with encryption technologies, make this type of content impossible to filter or identify what it is.  

However, whether blocked or filtered, this is ignoring the fact that access can be bypassed by individuals who wish to do so. Tor is a network of virtual tunnels, used by people under authoritarian governments in the world - you can install the free software on a USB stick to have it working immediately. It is a sophisticated technology that allows people to bypass restrictions. More significantly, I wish to highlight that some Tor servers have been used for illegal purposes, including child pornography and p2p sharing of copyrighted files using the bit torrent protocol. In September 2006, German authorities seized data center equipment running Tor software during a child pornography crackdown, although the TOR network managed toreassemble itself with no impact to its network. This technology is but one of many available options for people to overcome a ISP-level filter.


For a filtering approach to be appropriate, it will require not just automated analysis based technology, but human effort to maintain the censorship of the content. An expatriate Australian in China claims that a staff of 30,000 are employed by the Golden Shield Project (the official name for the Great Firewall) to select what to block along with whatever algorithm they use to automatically block sites. With legitimate online activities being blocked through automated software, it will require a beefed up ACMA to handle support from the public to investigate and unblock websites that are legitimate. Given the amount of false positives proven in the ACMA trials, this is not to be taken likely, and could cost hundreds of millions of dollars in direct taxpayers money and billions in opportunity cost for the online economy.


Inappropriate government regulation

The governments approach to regulating the Internet has been one dimensional, by regarding content online with the same type that was produced by the mass media in the Industrial Era. The Information Age recognises content not as a one-to-many broadcast, but individuals communicating. Applying these previous-era provisions is actually a restraint beyond traditional publishing.


Regulation of the Internet is provided under the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Act 1999 (Commonwealth). Schedule Five and seven of the amendment claim the goal is to:

  • Provide a means of addressing complaints about certain Internet content
  • Restrict access to certain Internet content that is likely to cause offense to a reasonable adult
  • Protect children from exposure to Internet content that is unsuitable for them

Mandatory restricting access can disrupt freedom of expression under Article 19 of theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and disrupt fair trade of services under the Trade Practices Act.


It is wrong for the government to take the view of mandating restricted access, but instead should allow consumers that option to participate in a system that protects them. To allow a government to interpret what a "reasonable adult" would think is too subjective for it to be appropriate that a faceless authority regulates, over the ability for an individual adult to determine for themselves.


The Internet is not just content in the communications sense, but also in the market and utility sense. Restricting access to services, which may be done inappropriately due to proven weaknesses in filtering technology, would result in

  • reduced consumer information about goods and services. Consumers will have less information due to sites incorrectly blocked
  • violation of the WTO's cardinal principles - the "national treatment" principle, which requires that imported goods and services be treated the same as those produced locally.
  • preventing or hindering competition under the interpretation of section 4G of the Trade Practices Act. This means online businesses will be disadvantaged from physical world shops, even if they create more accountability by allowing consumer discussion on forums that may trigger the filter due to consumers freedom of expression.

Solution: an opt-in ISP filter that is optional for Australians

Senator Conroy's crusade in the name of child pornography is not the issue. The issue, in addition to the points raised above, is that mandatory restricting access to information, is by nature a political process. If the Australian Family Association writes an article criticising homosexuals, is this grounds to have the content illegal to access and communicate as it incitesdiscrimination? Perhaps the Catholic Church should have its website banned because of theirstance on homosexuality?


If the Liberals win the next election because the Rudd government was voted out due to pushing ahead with this filtering policy, and the Coalition repeat recent history by controlling both houses of government - what will stop them from banning access to the Labor party's website?


Of course, these examples sound far fetched but they also sounded far fetched in another vibrant democracy called the Weimar Republic. What I wish to highlight is that pushing ahead with this approach to regulating the Internet is a dangerous precedent that cannot be downplayed. Australians should have the ability to access the Internet with government warnings and guidance on content that may cause offence to the reasonable person. The government should also persecute people creating and distributing information like child pornography that universally is agreed by society as a bad thing. But to mandate restricted access to information on the Internet, based on expensive imperfect technology that can be routed around, is a Brave New World that will not be tolerated by the broader electorate once they realise their individual freedoms are being restricted.


This system of ISP filtering should not be mandatory for all Australians to use. Neither should it be an opt-out system by default. Individuals should have the right to opt-into a system like this, if there are children using the Internet connection or a household wishes to censor their Internet experience. To mandatory force all Australians to experience the Internet only if under Government sanction, is a mistake of the highest levels. It technologically cannot be assured, and it poses a genuine threat to our democracy.


If the Ministry under Senator Conroy does not understand my concerns by responding with a template answer six months later, and clearly showing inadequate industry consultation despite my request, perhaps Chairman Rudd can step in. I recognise with the looming financial recession, we need to look for ways to prop up our export markets. However developing in-house expertise at restricting the population that would set precedent to the rest of the Western world, is something that's funny in a nervous type of laughter kind of way.

Like many others in the industry, I wish to help the government to develop a solution that protects children. But ultimately, I hope our elected representatives can understand the importance of this potential policy. I also hope they are aware anger exists in the governments actions to date, and whilst democracy can be slow to act, when it hits, it hits hard.

Kind regards, 
Elias Bizannes

----
Postal address: 201 Sussex St, Sydney 2011
Telephone: (02) 8266 1473
E-mail: elias.bizannes at gmail dot com

Elias Bizannes works for a professional services firm and is a Chartered Accountant. He is a champion of the Australian Internet industry through the Silicon Beach Australia community and also currently serves as Vice-Chair of the DataPortability Project. The opinions of this letter reflect his own as an individual (and not his employer) with perspective developed in consultation with the Australian industry.

This letter may be republished freely. HTML version and PDF version version.

Elias Bizannes

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Nov 2, 2008, 9:49:44 AM11/2/08
to Silicon Beach Australia
Hi all

Just so you know, I e-mailed this letter to every senator in the
Australian senate as well as to the editorial departments of The
Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Sydney Morning Herald, and the
Financial Review. I've also cc'd editors of the tech blogs such as Kim
Heras of technation, Duncan Reily of Inquistr, Renai of ZDNET, Dan
Farber of CNET, Mike Arrington of Techcrunch, Marshall Kirkpatrick and
Richard McManus of Read Write Web and Om Malik of GigaOm.

The story might not get picked up by the media, but as long as the
senators read it, I think we've made some progress :)

http://siliconbeachaustralia.org/ruddfilter/
http://siliconbeachaustralia.org/ruddfilter/The_Rudd_Filter.pdf

silky

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Nov 2, 2008, 4:28:42 PM11/2/08
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
slightly OT, but personally i think renaming it like you've done is
fairly stupid.

why is 'the rudd filter' bad? doesn't sound natively bad to me. stupid
name. leave it as 'the great firewall of australia' and all is fine.

--
noon silky
http://skillsforvilla.tumblr.com/
http://www.themonkeynet.com/armada/

Rod

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Nov 2, 2008, 4:48:52 PM11/2/08
to Silicon Beach Australia

Bart Jellema

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Nov 5, 2008, 11:32:50 AM11/5/08
to Silicon Beach Australia
Hey Elias,

One of the goals of this filter is to protect children from the
dangers of the internet. The most serious danger for children is not
the access to illegal material, but sexual predators. (http://
www.sentrypc.com/statistics.htm) Online sexual predators approach
children through chat, instant messaging, social network sites, etc.
Most of these will not and cannot be blocked by the filter that is
being proposed. Naming this filter a 'clean feed' and promoting it as
making the internet 'child-safe' is not only incorrect, it is
dangerous and irresponsible. Less internet-savvy parents will be
fooled into thinking the internet is clean and safe for their children
and be less vigilant when it comes to their child's internet use, thus
putting their children at greater risk.

Considering that filtering software is already available to download
and install on any computer for free if parents want to protect their
children, I believe money is much better spend on educating parents
and children about the real dangers of the internet and ways to stay
safe.

I wish the government called it what it is, a morality censorship
filter and leave the children out of it.

Bart

On Nov 3, 8:48 am, Rod <rodp...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Bravo, I've posted tohttp://blogs.news.com.au/theaustralian/wiresandlights/

Michael Specht

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Nov 5, 2008, 3:00:47 PM11/5/08
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
Hi,

I emailed Senator Judith Troeth last week and got a letter returned
immediately. She indicated that the coalition has concerns over the shifting
of responsibility to ISP and while they fully support guarding children the
Labor plans needs a more realistic approach. Further the coalition seems to
understand that all of the items you referred to Bart will not be blocked.

She forwarded my email onto Nick Minchin the Shadow Minister for Broadband,
Communications and the Digital Economy.

Rgds
Michael

Michael Specht
Principal Consultant



Phone: +61 3 9017 1865 | Mobile: 0418 212 041 | Skype: mspecht
Email: mic...@inspecht.com.au Web: inspecht.com.au


-----Original Message-----
From: silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
[mailto:silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Bart Jellema
Sent: Thursday, 6 November 2008 3:33 AM
To: Silicon Beach Australia
Subject: [SiliconBeach] Re: The Rudd Filter


Hey Elias,

One of the goals of this filter is to protect children from the
dangers of the internet. The most serious danger for children is not
the access to illegal material, but sexual predators. (http://
www.sentrypc.com/statistics.htm) Online sexual predators approach
children through chat, instant messaging, social network sites, etc.
Most of these will not and cannot be blocked y the filter that is

Ross Hill

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Nov 6, 2008, 7:06:45 AM11/6/08
to Silicon Beach Australia
An hour ago @TurnbullMalcolm said : "@gregdwyer will have something on
that soon. Do you have any suggestions?"

http://twitter.com/TurnbullMalcolm/status/993086307

Fingers crossed!

- Ross

On Nov 6, 7:00 am, "Michael Specht" <mspe...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I emailed Senator Judith Troeth last week and got a letter returned
> immediately. She indicated that the coalition has concerns over the shifting
> of responsibility to ISP and while they fully support guarding children the
> Labor plans needs a more realistic approach. Further the coalition seems to
> understand that all of the items you referred to Bart will not be blocked.
>
> She forwarded my email onto Nick Minchin the Shadow Minister for Broadband,
> Communications and the Digital Economy.
>
> Rgds
> Michael
>
> Michael Specht
> Principal Consultant
>
> Phone: +61 3 9017 1865 | Mobile: 0418 212 041 | Skype: mspecht
> Email: mich...@inspecht.com.au Web: inspecht.com.au
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
>
> [mailto:silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Bart Jellema
> Sent: Thursday, 6 November 2008 3:33 AM
> To: Silicon Beach Australia
> Subject: [SiliconBeach] Re: The Rudd Filter
>
> Hey Elias,
>
> One of the goals of this filter is to protect children from the
> dangers of the internet. The most serious danger for children is not
> the access to illegal material, but sexual predators. (http://www.sentrypc.com/statistics.htm) Online sexual predators approach

Elias Bizannes

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Nov 11, 2008, 8:33:25 PM11/11/08
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Xenophon, Nick (Senator) <Senator....@aph.gov.au>
Date: Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 12:31 PM
Subject: RE: The Rudd Filter
To: Elias Bizannes <elias.b...@gmail.com>


Dear Elias

 

Thank you for your email to Nick Xenophon regarding the proposed internet clean feed. Nick shares your concerns that the technology being advocated by the government may not work. There is a real danger based on trials of the technology that have been undertaken that banned sites will get through the filter and sites that were not intended to be banned will be blocked. He will continue to investigate this matter and decide on what he believes is the appropriate course of action in due course.

 

I will forward your email to Nick and his advisors for their information. Thank you for taking the time to write to Nick on this important issue.

 

Kind Regards
HANNAH WOOLLER
Correspondence Officer for Nick Xenophon
Independent Senator for South Australia

212 Grenfell Street
ADELAIDE  SA  5000
p:  08 8232 1144
f:   08 8232 3744

The information contained within this email may be confidential and/or legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, access to it is unauthorised and any disclosure, copying, distribution or action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful.

Nick Holmes a Court

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Nov 11, 2008, 8:54:04 PM11/11/08
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
Well done Elias, great work!

Geoff McQueen

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Nov 26, 2008, 11:52:25 PM11/26/08
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
GetUp have now joined the Fray:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/home/technology/activists-target-net-censorship-plans/2008/11/27/1227491695981.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1 via @Warlach on Twitter.

Are there any GetUp organisers/types on this list?

Also, with the NBN project closing yesterday, does anyone on the list have any thoughts to share on what they think it will mean for the Australian Online experience, or is it way too early to know/speculate on what's being proposed and the ramifications?

Andrew Barnett

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Nov 26, 2008, 11:57:01 PM11/26/08
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
Does anyone know whether the people using the ISPs who sign up to the
trial, will they all be forced to use the filter, and are they likely
to be compensated for being part of the trial forced upon their
connection? IMHO they probably won't receive any compensation of any
sort.

Andrew



2008/11/27 Geoff McQueen <geoff....@internetrix.com.au>:

Geoff McQueen

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Jan 7, 2009, 1:22:40 AM1/7/09
to Silicon Beach Australia
Hi everyone,

Things have been a bit quiet on the #nocleanfeed issue for a little
while, but following on from a prod by @pat to get off my butt and
register my opposition with my local MP, I made an appointment, and
today had a really good meeting with Sharon Bird (ALP), my local
member.

We had a really good chat, and I've taken the time to write up the
approach/argument I used, as well as make a few notes from the
conversation at http://www.geoffmcqueen.com/2009/01/07/my-chat-about-nocleanfeed-with-sharon-bird-mp/.

If you're against the filter, I suggest you do similar and make an
appointment to chat with your local MP. They'll be easier to pin down
in January, and making an articulate argument in person is invaluable
given the amount of hyperbole flying around in general (on both sides
of the issue).

Elias is write about the positive effect SiliconBeach has had on this
debate - now its time to make it personal ;-)

Geoff


On Nov 12 2008, 12:33 pm, "Elias Bizannes" <elias.bizan...@gmail.com>
wrote:
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Xenophon, Nick (Senator) <Senator.Xenop...@aph.gov.au>
> Date: Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 12:31 PM
> Subject: RE: The Rudd Filter
> To: Elias Bizannes <elias.bizan...@gmail.com>
>
>  Dear Elias
>
> Thank you for your email to Nick Xenophon regarding the proposed internet
> clean feed. Nick shares your concerns that the technology being advocated by
> the government may not work. There is a real danger based on trials of the
> technology that have been undertaken that banned sites will get through the
> filter and sites that were not intended to be banned will be blocked. He
> will continue to investigate this matter and decide on what he believes is
> the appropriate course of action in due course.
>
> I will forward your email to Nick and his advisors for their information.
> Thank you for taking the time to write to Nick on this important issue.
>
> Kind Regards
> *HANNAH WOOLLER*
> Correspondence Officer for Nick Xenophon
> Independent Senator for South Australia
>
> 212 Grenfell Street
> ADELAIDE  SA  5000
> p:  08 8232 1144
> f:   08 8232 3744
>
> The information contained within this email may be confidential and/or
> legally privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, access to it is
> unauthorised and any disclosure, copying, distribution or action taken or
> omitted to be taken in reliance on it is prohibited and may be unlawful.
>
> *From:* Elias Bizannes [mailto:elias.bizan...@gmail.com]
> *Sent:* Monday, 3 November 2008 1:08 AM
> *To:* Abetz, Eric (Senator); Adams, Judith (Senator); Arbib, Mark (Senator);
> *Cc:* edi...@technation.com.au; dun...@nichenet.com.au;
> renai.le...@zdnet.com.au; marsh...@marshallk.com; edi...@techcrunch.com;
> Dan.Far...@cnet.com; o...@gigaom.com; readwrite...@gmail.com;
> newsd...@smh.com.au; lett...@theaustralian.com.au; afreditor...@afr.com.au;
> n...@dailytelegraph.com.au; silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com;
> new...@atdot.dotat.org
> *Subject:* The Rudd Filter
>
> Attention: Senators of the Australian parliament
>
> With all due respect, I believe my elected representatives as well as my
> fellow Australians misunderstand the issue of Internet censorship. Below I
> offer my perspective, which I hope can re-position the debate with a more
> complete understanding of the issues.
>
> The following letter can also be accessed via
>
> http://siliconbeachaustralia.org/ruddfilter/http://siliconbeachaustralia.org/ruddfilter/The_Rudd_Filter.pdf
>  Background
>
> The policy of the Australian Labor Party on its Internet filter was in
> reaction to the Howard Government's family-based approach which Labor said
> was a failure. Then leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley, announced in
> March 2006 <http://www.alp.org.au/media/0306/msloo210.php> (Internet
> archive<http://web.archive.org/web/20060422120043/http:/www.alp.org.au/media/...>)
> that under Labor "all Internet Service Providers will be required to offer a
> filtered 'clean feed' Internet service to all households, and to schools and
> other public internet points accessible by kids." The same press release
> states "Through an opt-out system, adults who still want to view currently
> legal content would advise their Internet Service Provider (ISP) that they
> want to opt out of the "clean feed", and would then face the same
> regulations which currently apply."
>
> The 2007 Federal election, which was led by Kevin Rudd, announced the
> election pledge<http://www.alp.org.au/download/now/labors_plan_for_cyber_safety.pdf>
> that
> "a Rudd Labor Government will require ISPs to offer a 'clean feed' Internet
> service to all homes, schools and public Internet points accessible by
> children, such as public libraries. Labor's ISP policy will prevent
> Australian children from accessing any content that has been identified as
> prohibited by ACMA, including sites such as those containing child
> pornography and X-rated material."
>
> Following the election, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and
> Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy in December 2007 clarified that
> anyone wanting uncensored access to the Internet will have to opt-out of the
> service <http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/31/2129471.htm>.
>
> In October 2008, the policy had another subtle yet dramatic shift. When
> examined by a Senate Estimates committee, Senator Conroy
> stated<http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/transcript/cybersafety-n...>
> that
> "we are looking at two tiers - mandatory of illegal material and an option
> for families to get a clean feed service if they wish." Further, Conroy
> mentioned "We would be enforcing the existing laws. If investigated material
> is found to be prohibited content then ACMA may order it to be taken down if
> it is hosted in Australia. They are the existing laws at the moment."
>
> The interpretation of this, which has motivated this paper as well as
> sparked outrage by Australians nation-wide, is that all Internet connection
> points in Australia will be subjected to the filter, with only the option to
> opt-out of the Family tier but not the tier that classifies 'illegal
> material'. While the term "mandatory" has been used as part of the policy in
> the past, it has always been used in the context of making it mandatory for
> ISP's to offer such as service. It was never used in the context of it being
> mandatory for Australians on the Internet, to use it.
>
> Not only is this a departure from the Rudd government's election pledge, but
> there is little evidence to suggest that it is not truly being
> representative of the requests from the Australian community. Senator Conroy
> has shown evidence of the previous NetAlert policy by the previous
> government falling far below expectations. According to Conroy, 1.4 million
> families were expected to download the filter, but many less actually
> did<http://www.somebodythinkofthechildren.com/ssc-conroy-confirms-commitm...>.
> The estimated end usage according to Conroy is just 30,000 - despite a $22
> million advertising campaign. The attempt by this government to pursue this
> policy therefore, is for its own ideological or political
> benefit<http://stilgherrian.com/politics/petitions_drove_filtering_policy>.
> The Australian people never gave the mandate nor is there evidence to
> indicate majority support to pursue this agenda. Further, the government
> trials to date have shown the technology to be ineffective.
>
> On the 27th of October, some 9,000 people had signed a
> petition<http://petitions.takingitglobal.org/oznetcensorship?signedpetition=14...>
> to
> deny support of a government filter. At the time of writing this letter on
> the 2 November, this has now climbed to 13,655 people. The government's
> moves are being closely watched by the community and activities are being
> planned to respond to the government should this policy continue in its
> current direction.
>
> I write this to describe the impact such a policy will have if it goes
> ahead, to educate the government and the public.
>
> Impacts on Australia Context
>
> The approach of the government to filtering is one dimensional and does not
> take into account the converged world of the Internet. The Internet has -
> and will continue to - transform our world. It has become a utility, to form
> the backbone of our economy and communications. Fast and wide-spread access
> to the Internet has been recognised globally as a priority policy for
> political and business leaders of the world.
>
> The Internet typically allows three broad types of activities. The first is
> that of facilitating the exchange of goods and services. The Internet has
> become a means of creating a more efficient marketplace, and is well known
> to have driven demand in offline selling as
> well<http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/SCOR/0x0x101467/c60d8600-c8c8-...>,
> as it creates better informed consumers to reach richer decision making. On
> the other hand, online market places can exist with considerable less
> overhead - creating a more efficient marketplace than in the physical world,
> enabling stronger niche markets through greater connections between buyers
> and sellers.
>
> The second activity is that of communications. This has enabled a New Media
> or Hypermedia of many-to-many communications, with people now having a new
> way to communicate and propagate information. The core value of the World
> Wide Web can be realised from its founding purpose: created by
> CERN<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CERN>,
> it was meant to be a hypertext
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertext> implementation
> that would allow better knowledge sharing of its global network of
> scientists. It was such a transformative thing, that the role of the media
> has forever changed. For example, newspapers that thrived as businesses in
> the Industrial Age, now face challenges to their business models, as younger
> generations are preferring to access their information over Internet
> services which objectively is a more effective way to do
> so<http://futureexploration.net/fom/2008/07/consumers_want_information_n...>
> .
>
> A third activity is that of utility. This is a growing area of the Internet,
> where it is creating new industries and better ways of doings, now that we
> have a global community of people connected to share information. The
> traditional software industry is being changed into a service
> model<http://www.scripting.com/disruption/ozzie/TheInternetServicesDisrupti...>
> report<http://www.acma.gov.au/webwr/_assets/main/lib310554/isp-level_interne...>,
> "the filters performed significantly better when blocking pornography and
> other adult content but performed less well when blocking other types of
> content". As a case in point, a site containing the word "breast", would be
> filtered despite it having legitimate value in providing breast cancer
> awareness.
>
> Utility services could be adversely affected. The increasing trend of
> computing 'in the cloud' means that our computing infrastructure will
> require an efficient and open Internet. A filter will do nothing but disrupt
> this, with little ability to achieve the policy goal of preventing illegal
> material. As consumers and businesses move to the cloud, critical functions
> will be relied on, and any threat in the distribution and under-realisation
> of potential speeds, will be a burden on the economy.
>
> Common to all three classes above, is the degradation of speeds and access.
> The ACMA report claims that all six filters tested scored an 88%
> effectiveness rate in terms of blocking the content that the government was
> hoping would be blocked. It also claims that over-blocking of acceptable
> content was 8% for all filters tested, with network degradation not nearly
> as big of a problem during these tests as it was during previous previous
> trials, when performance degradation ranged from 75-98%. In this latest
> test, the ACMA said degradation was down, but
>
> The Government has recognised with the
> legislation<http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/legis/cth/bill_em/bsasb...>
> it
> bases its regulatory authority from, that "whilst it takes seriously its
> responsibility to provide an effective regime to address the publication of
> illegal and offensive material online, it wishes to ensure that regulation
> does not place onerous or unjustifiable burdens on industry and inhibit the
> development of the online economy."
>
> The compliance costs alone will hinder the online economy. ISP's will need
> to constantly maintain the latest filtering technologies, businesses will
> need to monitor user generated content to ensure their web services are not
> automatically filtered and administrative delays to unblock legal sites will
> hurt profitability and for some start-up businesses may even kill them.
>
> And that's just for compliance, lets not forget the actual impact on users.
> As *Crikey* has reported (Internet filters a success, if success =
> failure<http://www.crikey.com.au/Politics/20080729-Internet-filters-a-success...>),
> even the best filter has a false-positive rate of 3% under ideal lab
> conditions. Mark Newton (the network engineer who Senator Conroy's office
> attacked recently<http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/10/23/1224351430987.html?page=ful...>)
> reckons that for a medium-sized ISP that's 3000 incorrect blocks *every
> second*<http://stilgherrian.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/10/ellis-2008-10-20.pdf>.
> Another maths-heavy
> analysis<http://girtby.net/archives/2008/7/31/bayes-theorem-1-mandatory-filter...>
> says
> that every time that filter blocks something there's an 80% chance it was
> wrong.
>
> The Policy goal will not be met & will be costly through this approach
>
> The Labor party's election policy
> document<http://www.alp.org.au/download/now/labors_plan_for_cyber_safety.pdf>
> states
> that Labor's ISP policy will prevent Australian children from accessing any
> content that has been identified as prohibited by ACMA, including sites such
> as those containing child pornography and X-rated material. Other than being
> a useful propaganda device, to my knowledge children and people generally
> don't actively seek child pornography, and a filter does nothing to prevent
> these offline real-world social networks of paedophiles to restrict their
> activities.
>
> What the government seems to misunderstand, is that a filter regime will
> prove inadequate in achieving any of this, due to the reality of how
> information gets distributed on the Internet.
>
> *[image: Composition of Internet traffic by you.]*
>
> *Source:http://www.ipoque.com/userfiles/file/internet_study_2007.pdf*
>
> Peer-to-peer networks (P2P), a legal technology that also proves itself
> impossible to control or filter, accounts for the majority of Internet
> traffic, with figures of between 48% in the Middle East and 80% in Eastern
> Europe <http://www.ipoque.com/userfiles/file/internet_study_2007.pdf>. As
> noted earlier, the ACMA trials have confirmed that although they can block
> P2P, they cannot actually analyse the content as being illegal. This is
> because P2P technologies like torrents are completely decentralised.
> Individual torrents cannot be identified, and along with encryption
> technologies, make this type of content impossible to filter or identify
> what it is.
>
> However, whether blocked or filtered, this is ignoring the fact that access
> can be bypassed by individuals who wish to do so.
> Tor<http://www.torproject.org/> is
> a network of virtual tunnels, used by people under authoritarian governments
> in the world - you can install the free software on a USB stick to have it
> working immediately. It is a sophisticated technology that allows people to
> bypass restrictions. More significantly, I wish to highlight that some Tor
> servers have been used for illegal purposes, including child pornography and
> p2p sharing of copyrighted files using the bit torrent protocol. In
> September 2006, German authorities seized data center equipment running Tor
> software <http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/06/09/11/1050215.shtml> during a child
> pornography crackdown, although the TOR network managed toreassemble itself
> with no impact to its
> network<http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060911-7709.html>.
> This technology is but one of many available options for people to overcome
> a ISP-level filter.
>
> For a filtering approach to be appropriate, it will require not just
> automated analysis based technology, but human effort to maintain the
> censorship of the content. An expatriate Australian in China claims
> that a staff
> of 30,000 are employed by the Golden Shield
> Project<http://dedlog.blogspot.com/2008/10/internet-censorship-recurring-nigh...>
> (the
> official name for the Great Firewall) to select what to block along with
> whatever algorithm they use to automatically block sites. With legitimate
> online activities being blocked through automated software, it will require
> a beefed up ACMA to handle support from the public to investigate and
> unblock websites that are legitimate. Given the amount of false positives
> proven in the ACMA trials, this is not to be taken likely, and could cost
> hundreds of millions of dollars in direct taxpayers money and billions in
> opportunity cost for the online economy.
>
> Inappropriate government regulation
>
> The governments approach to regulating the Internet has been one
> dimensional, by regarding content online with the same type that was
> produced by the mass media in the Industrial Era. The Information Age
> recognises content not as a one-to-many broadcast, but individuals
> communicating. Applying these previous-era provisions is actually a
> restraint beyond traditional publishing.
>
> Regulation of the Internet is provided under the *Broadcasting Services
> Amendment (Online Services) Act 1999 (Commonwealth)*. Schedule Five and
> seven of the amendment claim the goal is to:
>
>    - Provide a means of addressing complaints about certain Internet content
>    - Restrict access to certain Internet content that is likely to cause
>    offense to a reasonable adult
>    - Protect children from exposure to Internet content that is unsuitable
>    for them
>
> Mandatory restricting access can disrupt freedom of expression under Article
> 19 of the*International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights* and disrupt
> fair trade of services under the Trade Practices Act.
>
> It is wrong for the government to take the view of mandating restricted
> access, but instead should allow consumers that option to participate in a
> system that protects them. To allow a government to interpret what a
> "reasonable adult" would think is too subjective for it to be appropriate
> that a faceless authority regulates, over the ability for an individual
> adult to determine for themselves.
>
> The Internet is not just content in the communications sense, but also in
> the market and utility sense. Restricting access to services, which may be
> done inappropriately due to proven weaknesses in filtering technology, would
> result in
>
>    - reduced consumer information about goods and services. Consumers will
>    have less information due to sites incorrectly blocked
>    - violation of the WTO's cardinal principles - the "national treatment"
>    principle<http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/fact2_e.htm>,
>    which requires that imported goods and services be treated the same as those
>    produced locally.
>    - preventing or hindering competition under the interpretation of section
>    4G of th*e Trade Practices Act*. This means online businesses will be
>    disadvantaged from physical world shops, even if they create more
>    accountability by allowing consumer discussion on forums that may trigger
>    the filter due to consumers freedom of expression.
>
> Solution: an opt-in ISP filter that is optional for Australians
>
> Senator Conroy's crusade in the name of child pornography is not the issue.
> The issue, in addition to the points raised above, is that mandatory
> restricting access to information, is by nature a political process.
> If the Australian
> Family Association <http://www.family.org.au/> writes an article criticising
> homosexuals <http://www.family.org.au/Journals/2003/challenge.htm>, is this
> grounds to have the content illegal to access and
> communicate<http://defendingscoundrels.com/2008/10/conroy-misleads-the-senate-on-...>
> as
> it incitesdiscrimination<http://www.humanrights.gov.au/about/legislation/index.html>?
> Perhaps the Catholic Church should have its website banned because of
> theirstance
> on homosexuality? <http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p3s2c2a6.htm#2357>
>
> If the Liberals win the next election because the Rudd government was voted
> out due to pushing ahead with this filtering policy, and the Coalition
> repeat recent history by controlling both houses of government - what will
> stop them from banning access to the Labor party's website?
>
> Of course, these examples sound far fetched but they also sounded far
> fetched in another vibrant democracy called the Weimar
> Republic<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Republic>.
> What I wish to highlight is that pushing ahead with this approach to
> regulating the Internet is a dangerous precedent that cannot be downplayed.
> Australians should have the ability to access the Internet with government
> warnings and guidance on content that may cause offence to the reasonable
> person. The government should also persecute people creating and
> distributing information like child pornography that universally is agreed
> by society as a bad thing. But to mandate restricted access to information
> on the Internet, based on expensive imperfect technology that can be routed
> around, is a Brave New World that will not be tolerated by the broader
> electorate once they realise their individual freedoms are being restricted.
>
> This system of ISP filtering should not be mandatory for all Australians to
> use. Neither should it be an opt-out system by default. Individuals should
> have the right to opt-into a system like this, if there are children using
> the Internet connection or a household wishes to censor their Internet
> experience. To mandatory force all Australians to experience the Internet
> only if under Government sanction, is a mistake of the highest levels. It
> technologically cannot be assured, and it poses a genuine threat to our
> democracy.
>
> If the Ministry <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Truth> under
> Senator Conroy does not understand my concerns by responding with a template
> answer six months
> later<http://Liako.Biz/2008/07/internet-censorship-in-australia/>,
> version<http://siliconbeachaustralia.org/ruddfilter/index.html>
>  and PDF version<http://siliconbeachaustralia.org/ruddfilter/The_Rudd_Filter.pdf>
>  version.
>
> --
> Elias Bizanneshttp://liako.biz

Pat Allan

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Jan 7, 2009, 1:51:13 AM1/7/09
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
Cannot agree with Geoff more - if it matters, get out there and talk
to politicians, especially Labor ones. If you local minister isn't
ALP, find a senator for your state who is.
http://freelancing-gods.com/posts/revisiting_internet_filter_action

--
Pat

Geoff McQueen - Hiive Systems

unread,
Jan 7, 2009, 7:35:36 AM1/7/09
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
Pat,

Good tip. If others want to get in on the act, 'call dibs' on your local member.

You can use the shared spreadsheet at http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=paG-OowBO9g-C8u-uOPbDHg and put your name next to your member. Once you've had a meeting, update the date and provide a couple of quick comments if you have the time... that was we can be a bit coordinated about this.

If you don't know what electorate you're in, you can search at http://apps.aec.gov.au/esearch/.

According to http://www.aph.gov.au/HOUSE/info/sittings/index.htm we've got just a couple more weeks until Parliament sits again at the beginning of Feb, so the clock is ticking to try and nail down your local member while they're still at home...

Geoff

Ash Angell

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Jan 7, 2009, 6:58:34 PM1/7/09
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
Is there any benefit in doing the same thing for state members?  I know this is a federal issue, but is there any value at all?  And what about the Senators, since they are the last line of defense.

Ash

Warren Seen

unread,
Jan 7, 2009, 7:37:26 PM1/7/09
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
I've been involved in a bit of lobbying here in Tas over the last year
or so (http://www.digitaltasmania.org/get-basslink-going), so I
thought I'd chuck in my 2c worth.

Good politicians are masters of the art of making you think they give
a shit about your issue, so they can get you out the door when your 20
minute slot is up.

With lobbying State members, you're wasting your time and theirs - ALP
members will brush you off because it's the party line, Liberals will
express their displeasure since it's *their* party line, but then tell
you it's a Federal issue and there's nothing they can do anyway.

Senators are the ones you really need to target, since the ALP has a
lower house majority the legislation will pass there unless they were
to allow a conscience vote (highly unlikely in my opinion) and some of
the ALP members voted against it - unfortunately we don't have any
really tech-heavy electorates that might be able to swing a seat or
two from Labor at the next election, as these are the places to really
apply pressure.

At the end of the day, it comes down to who holds the balance of power
in the senate, and what sort of horse trading they'll do with the ALP
for their votes.

Normally I'd suggest that it was a safe bet to be defeated in the
Senate as the Greens and Coalition are both against the filter,
however there's always a chance that the Nationals Senators might
split from the Coalition voting lines if sufficient enticement was
offered (like maybe first service for rural Queensland and NSW in any
NBN rollout?)

I think the key to killing this thing is not just in lobbying
government, but in making the initiative so totally unpopular that
Conroy will have no option but to kill it on "technical grounds" to
save face. Add to that concerned businesses who may feel threatened by
the legislation - eg Betfair operates from Tasmania and i'd wager
[haha] that they're very worried that Nick Xenephon might push the
anti-gambling agenda through the filter and essentially kill their biz
here.

The protest turnouts so far have been laughable in comparison to eg
the Gunns Pulp Mill here in Tas, so until they can get 8-10,000 warm
bodies showing their displeasure in one place, there's no real
incentive for Conroy et al to take that "out". You can twitter all day
every day about it, but it won't make a lick of difference politically
because no one can see that in the "real world". Figure out a way to
get people talking about it in public without the fear of being
labelled child pornographers and I imagine you'd see the vocal
opposition to this increase significantly.

Cheers,

Warren

Elias Bizannes

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Jan 7, 2009, 7:47:23 PM1/7/09
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
With Labor, the caucus dominates. People you never hear about, behind the scenes hold the balance of power. So a lower house member isn't a waste, as they are equal voters on the behind the scenes voting.

It's been a while, but the Labor party is essentially a group of factions. It's institutionalised as the Left and the Right (ie, the right always get leader of the party; the left always get deputy), but there is the unofficial sub-factions which are groups of three people sometimes. These factions determined everything - for positions, to policy. A position on the filter for example, could determine a pre-selection. They barter all they time.

From a longer term point of view - which is what we should be thinking as this is a multi-year war and we are simply fighting battles right now - we need a sea change within the party room. Divide and conquer, in sync with all these other public facing initiative, can make a big difference.

I think Nick Hodges proposal of reacting by being proactive might be the best strategy. It's embracing that yes, we do need to protect the children - and creating a citizen-driven organisation that rates websites would take the wind out of a mandatory filter.

Geoff McQueen - Hiive Systems

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Jan 7, 2009, 8:10:56 PM1/7/09
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com

Elias and Will,

 

On the numbers so far, the issue isn’t whether the filter in its current proposed form would get up – with the Coalition and the Greens saying they don’t support it, then it won’t get through.

 

Ministers don’t go to the effort of writing legislation they know won’t get up unless they think they can force it across the line with public support, and in the process use it as a wedge to negatively impact their political adversaries. I don’t know that the Filter has enough mainstream understanding or care to be that kind of wedge issue (IR/workchoices stuff, and class-warfare-taxation like the luxury car tax increase when cars of that value are hardly a luxury etc are examples of that).

 

The opportunity and benefit of putting your point to your local member is exactly as Elias points out – it is so that your local member can be a bit more informed, and hopefully that will translate into a conversation here, a chat there, and if it comes to it, taking a position in Caucus. The object is to get this thing wound back from what’s currently discussed before there’s legislation; sure, if the Libs/Nats and the Greens knock any filter proposal on the head in the Senate, I won’t be at all disappointed, but I’d rather have the senate be presented with legislation for an opt-in, optional waste of taxpayers dollars than the proposals we’re seeing now.

 

So, accepting your comments about politicians being expert at convincing you they care enough to keep your vote and move you along, my focus was to educate: excluding back the highly subjective debate about censorship and where the line should be, a compulsory filter is very very very clearly a very bad idea; while politicians might be vote for bad ideas, they’re probably less likely to if they actually understand they’re bad.

 

Geoff

Ash Angell

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Jan 7, 2009, 11:49:02 PM1/7/09
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
So should we organise some protests?  Maybe if we can get enough people to turn upwith some signs along the lines of "dont be fuckings with the internet", we might make mainstream news coverage, which in my opinion is the main reason more people aren't even AWARE that such a thing might happen.

Im reasonably sure everyone on this group AND in the Twitterverse would turn up, maybe even some mainstream mums and dads too?

I would also like to see the Microsoft's, the ISP's and the Atlassians to speak up on our behalf.  I dont think the people in Australia with the right influence and power/money are being as vocal as they could be.

So how abouts it?  Who's up for a good 'ol fashioned rally to drive this legislation outta town?  Lets make a whole lotta noise.

Ash

Pat Allan

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Jan 7, 2009, 11:57:55 PM1/7/09
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The problem with a rally is that it's such a fuzzy issue, and it's far
too easy for politicians to demonize the protesters. We *don't* like
child pornography, and we *do* like children being safe on the
internet. But, if you get a thousand (or more) people on the street
trying to make the message succinct, I think it's going to fail.

I agree with Elias - the caucus is the target. Conroy doesn't seem to
care for reasoned discussion, but if we can get some other Labor minds
switched on and understanding our perspective, maybe change will
eventually come from within? I know politicians can be two-faced at
times about caring, as Warren's mentioned - but that doesn't mean we
should assume they're all always going to be like that.

I'm not sure where the suggestion for state ALP ministers came up - I
agree that that's a waste of time. Senators and Federal MPs -
particularly Labor ones - are where the focus needs to be.

--
Pat

Warren Seen

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Jan 8, 2009, 12:29:55 AM1/8/09
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Rallies by their very nature are a case of preaching to the converted
and as I said, unless you can get 10,000 people in one place (and as
Pat says, on message), protests will do nothing to sway public
opinion. The protests last month around each capital city did nothing
to advance the cause, and they may very well have set it back somewhat
by making it appear that less people actually care about the issue.

Shifting public opinion can happen without the need for protests
though, but it's going to need to happen as a grass-roots kind of
thing, by all of us talking to people off line and gently explaining
why the money would be better spent on direct policing initiatives for
example.

Trying to move enough members in the Labor caucus to get them to kill
this off is a lofty goal IMO, but don't take my earlier reply as
suggesting it is therefore pointless to even try. I'm somewhat cynical
due to our dealings to date with local members over technical issues
related to broadband here, but YMMV.

Cheers,

Warren

Geoff McQueen - Hiive Systems

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Jan 8, 2009, 1:33:46 AM1/8/09
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If we define success as making the filter non-compulsory, then I reckon we stand a good chance. I don't want to hang hopes on @turnbullmalcolm standing up against any form of filter; it's too easy to get wedged with the "please, won't somebody think of the children" hysteria.

The ALP isn't going to willingly just break an election promise. Conroy isn't the kind of figure to back down from a fight (in fact, some have said the attacks on the plan have led him to dig a bigger hole by rebutting and fighting back against opposition more fiercely, evidenced by the new reference to P2P possibly being in the filter after opponents claimed a web filter wouldn't catch kiddie porn types). This issue is in play, and trying to kill it completely is going to be tough. So I think the best we can seriously hope for is to get them to deliver on their promise of an optional, opt-in filter for people to use if they so wish.

So, personally, I don't see it as a matter of killing it per se; it's more a matter of getting caucus and other pressure applied that won't result in the proposal getting even more insane, and bringing it back to be a benign waste of money, something Australians are well used to.

Geoff

PS - managed to get the member I met with to read my post and make a comment; might make it easier for her to make a case if she can start the process with a hyperlink. I'll see whether Google Analytics started showing up .gov.au traffic in the next few days/weeks.

-----Original Message-----
From: silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com [mailto:silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Warren Seen
Sent: Thursday, 8 January 2009 4:30 PM
To: silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
Subject: [SiliconBeach] Re: Fwd: The Rudd Filter


>> current proposed form would get up - with the Coalition and the
>> Greens saying they don't support it, then it won't get through.
>>
>>
>> Ministers don't go to the effort of writing legislation they know
>> won't get up unless they think they can force it across the line
>> with public support, and in the process use it as a wedge to
>> negatively impact their political adversaries. I don't know that the
>> Filter has enough mainstream understanding or care to be that kind
>> of wedge issue (IR/workchoices stuff, and class-warfare-taxation
>> like the luxury car tax increase when cars of that value are hardly
>> a luxury etc are examples of that).
>>
>>
>> The opportunity and benefit of putting your point to your local
>> member is exactly as Elias points out - it is so that your local

Pat Allan

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Jan 13, 2009, 9:35:42 PM1/13/09
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
I agree with Geoff that the most likely win will be to change the
legislation, not get it killed completely. Borrowing heavily from his
spreadsheet, and ideas suggested around the place, I've put together a
blog post urging contact with ALP politicians:
http://bit.ly/62n3

Any help getting the message out would be appreciated. If you've
already spoken to a politician about it, a comment on the post would
be great.

Cheers

--
Pat

David Banes

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Jan 14, 2009, 12:43:01 AM1/14/09
to silicon-bea...@googlegroups.com
I'm posting on behalf of the IIA (I'm on the board) to let you know
that in our view this is a political problem that will require a
political solution. We (the IIA) agree with the general assessment
that this discussion is based on.

Happy to chat to anyone about the work we've been doing to lobby
Government and ISP's at drinks on Friday :)

regards,

David.

David Banes
Director & CEO, Cleartext
Director & Secretary, Internet Industry Association
Director & Chairman, XMPP Standards Foundation

email:dba...@cleartext.com
xmpp:dba...@cleartext.com
Tel +61 2 8001 2600

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