The minister for DBCDE (pronounced debacle) has announced that the plans to impose a mandatory internet censorship is dead.
The only problem is that we are all still getting the mandatory filter. Just not via legislation (which would be impossible to get through the current parliment).
The ACL is NOT HAPPY.
In other reportage the minister is planning to use s313 of the telecommunications act to impose a blacklist of the INTERPOL child abuse websites. For those not paying too much attention, this means that the infrastructure to “improve” the scope (say at the request of some pressure groups like *ahem* the ACL) is now already in place.
As this is a danger going into the future (but I predict not this electoral cycle or the next), we will need to be vigilant.
The Classification board is taking comments on the Terms of Reference for the upcoming Classification Review.
You can read about it here: Classification website. You can also submit your comments on line.
With regard to the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the review of the classification in Australia, I would like to make the following comments:
The ToR seems to be based on the old-media view of the world – the use of the terms “industry” and “content and distribution industry”. Whilst a review of “industry” is warrented it is apparant from the experience of the internet that an increasing amount of content is user generated (think blogs, youtube etc). Distribution becoming end user to end user, rater than content producer to distributer to end user. The ToR does not take this into account.
The ToR does not not specify a review on whether classification is warrented (or appropriate) at all in the 21st century, or is appropriate for citizen to citizen communtication (think user generated content above).
The ToR does make reference to classification schemes in other juristictions, but does not specify if Australia should regognise classifications from country-of-origin (with the view to reduce classification costs, prevent doubling-up).
I was perusing the onion the other day, and found an article that reminded me of the ACL and Senator Conroy’s committment to ‘evidence based policy’.
Life imitating Art? As usual, the Onion is all TIC!.
** WARNING KEYBOARD ALERT **
Oh, No! It’s Making Well-Reasoned Arguments Backed With Facts! Run!
ACT Senator Kate Lundy (ALP) is getting more feedback on the ill conceived internet censorship policy. Her original blogpost was informative, as was all the feed back given.
One thing that stood out was her understanding that the mandatory nature of the censorship proposal was a election promise, and the subsequent objections were a mere misunderstanding of the promise.
In other words, there was an ambivalent reaction to the policy at the time of the election policy because it was not understood to be a mandatory filter for the general population.
Unfortunately the wording of the under-reported policy doesn’t support her understanding. We got exactly the meaning of the promise.
The offending wording is (from this ALP policy document from 2007 on page 5):
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.
The use of the word ‘offer’, combined with ‘accessible by children’ would indicate it was very optional to childless homes, and optional to all areas.
I do understand the drafters may have intention of having mandatory, but the wording doesn’t bear that out. It may be the usual political use of weasal words to prevent them from being pinned to what they said, but unfortunately it has backfired.
I do hope that the good Senator does listen to the people she is supposed to represent, and vote against this policy. Both in the Labor caucus, and on the Senate floor (regardless of caucus outcome). I for one will not vote for, or give preferences to the ALP if this policy comes into effect.
As reported in The Australian, the ACMA has issued a takedown notice to an ISP for a LINK to a website that is on it’s unwanted (potentially prohibited content) list, that is going to be the backbone of the government’s mandatory censorship scheme.
This is after the “good” senator promised that political content would not be blocked.
More at the EFA
As an act of civil disobedience, I’ll post the link here.
** WARNING ** WARNING ** the images on the following page are quite vile and disgusting, and I don’t think it is appropriate for anyone. It contains images of supposedly aborted fetuses. Don’t look at it if you are a bit queasy.
you will have to google “AbortionTV Pictures #6” to go to the site, as AMCA have served a link deletion notice on this page.
** Edit: 18 Oct 2010 – Active link deleted due to ACMA link deletion notice.