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The Forum > General Discussion > What's happening about the internet censor?

What's happening about the internet censor?

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Are we just going to let Mr Lipstick Man remove free speech on the internet in Australia, or are we going to do something to stop it?

Anyone know what's being done about it?
Posted by RawMustard, Thursday, 13 November 2008 1:37:32 PM
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Good point. At least the Greens are trying to do something about it.

<< Net censorship plan backlash

November 11, 2008 - 4:59PM

As opposition grows against the Government's controversial plan to censor the internet, the head of one of Australia's largest ISPs has labelled the Communications Minister the worst we've had in the past 15 years.

Separately (sic), in Senate question time today, Greens senator Scott Ludlam accused the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, of misleading the public by falsely claiming his mandatory censorship plan was similar to that already in place in Sweden, Britain, Canada and New Zealand.

Despite significant opposition from internet providers, consumers, engineers, network administrators and online rights activists, the Government is pressing ahead with its election promise of protecting people from unwanted material, this week calling for expressions of interests from ISPs keen to participate in live trials of the proposed internet filtering system. >>

Continued at:

http://www.theage.com.au/news/technology/biztech/net-censorship-plan-backlash/2008/11/11/1226318639085.html
Posted by CJ Morgan, Thursday, 13 November 2008 11:45:56 PM
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I admit I have a limited knowledge of the government's plans on this but isn't only the illegal stuff that is being filtered? And by illegal one can assume they mean violent porn, snuff movies etc.

I don't have a problem with self-censorship of hard porn on the Internet in the form of filters, especially for families who may not want their children exposed. It does seem ironic that while movies are classified based on age appropriate viewing that the Internet is an open source of pretty much everything and anything.

Possible solution: Why not a choice via your ISP of two streams - one that is filtered and one that is not. Subscribers then can choose according to their own circumstances and beliefs.
Posted by pelican, Friday, 14 November 2008 8:22:42 AM
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Unfortunately, in Australia we actually have very few inalienable rights. As far as free speech is concerned, we actually have none except for the limited case of political comment.

Our main protection from this filtering idea is that it has such severe limitations that it will not prevent access to any site that a person really wants to access. If the worst comes to the worst, people will have to use foreign proxies that provide HTTPS access. HTTPS cannot be filtered because its content is not visible to the filter.

My main concern is that the Government is spending a lot of money on something that ultimately won't work anyway.

One has to wonder at what's driving this politically. Clearly the electorate doesn't want it. It must be some deal with a minor party, with Family First being the obvious candidate.

Sylvia.
Posted by Sylvia Else, Friday, 14 November 2008 10:02:07 AM
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Go here

http://nocleanfeed.com/

and click on Take Action. Politicians take way more notice of letters and phone calls, particularly if you're from their electorate, than of petitions. A lot don't bother with email at all. Your ISP, on the other hand, will respond to email.

Also, go to KevinPM.com and leave a message there.

If you use Twitter, follow Kevin Rudd and let him know what you think that way.

The ALP already has a standard letter of reply that doesn't address any of the concerns about internet speeds, software misidentifying innocent sites (like advice for new mums on breastfeeding confused with porn), the open ended wording on blacklists (what will they ban in future? Opposition websites?) or the fact that most yucky stuff and piracy gets around via peer to peer (not ISP), which the filters won't change.
Posted by chainsmoker, Friday, 14 November 2008 1:25:12 PM
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pelican: but isn't only the illegal stuff that is being filtered?

I am rather hoping this reply will shock you into doing something about looking this up, pelican. Others have posted links.

In a word: no, it isn't about illegal stuff. The proposal uses the term "unwanted material". On ABC Radio National's "The Media Report", when pressed on the issue this the good Senator Conroy said this would include euthanasia. At other times he has mentioned anorexia sites. Possessing material on euthanasia is not illegal. In fact, information on euthanasia is not currently censored in any media to my knowledge. But as you are probably aware it is "unwanted" by our current crop of pollies.

The rather flexible definition of "unwanted" is one aspect to it. Since I have faith in our democracy I presume that will be tightened up, once someone hits Conroy with a clue bat. But there are other problems. Others will view this "list of bad sites" as "a list of the juiciest sites on the internet". Obviously it will be secret, but it must be handed out to the staff in 400 odd ISP's in Australia. It will be worth money. How long to you recon before it leaks?

It is probably just as well it will. Because that list has a magical property. You can anonymously and secretly put something on it, and it disappears. An example. Finland, a strong a democracy as ours, has such a list. Unlike our proposal its use is voluntary. A activist in Finland had political objections to it, and protested loudly about it. In response his protest site was added to the list.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-9874155-38.html
Posted by rstuart, Friday, 14 November 2008 3:20:14 PM
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Conroy's Gap.

No longer just a place name from the collected works of A.B.Patterson, but the short title of a proposed 'censorship central' for all Australia. rstuart has hit the nail on the head in highlighting the fact that it is politician imposed censorship, not the suppression of pornography, that the term 'unwanted content' really masks.

I am getting the sense that there is another dimension to the advancement of this repressive proposal beyond that of the political agenda suggested by Sylvia Else. Could it be that there is a desire or intent, being advanced via the machinery of government, to make the internet as we all know it unworkable in a general sense? Could the motivating force for such an intent be coming from large trans-national corporations experiencing the problem that the way the internet and ICT generally has developed no longer suits their monopolistic business models?

Perhaps I am only feeling this way because of what I see as implications of concurrent ICT proposals being advanced under the cover of what could be a 'green fog' of claimed environmental concerns. These proposals would seem to be one way or another promoting web-based applications and centralization of data storage, with consumers being forced to pay all over again for functionality they already own outright and that works quite satisfacorily in conjunction with the internet as it is, uncensored.

As to what is being said on OLO with respect to internet censorship, check out the following:

Link to comments on the article 'Government uploads hypocrisy with internet censorship': http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=8162&page=0 Antony Loewenstein's OLO article: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=8162

Link to OLO article by Mark Newton 'The Perplexing Internet Debate': http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=8098 Comments on that article: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=8098

Neither discussion thread is yet closed to new comment.

Also: http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=2277

Gershon Report: http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/ICT-Review/
Posted by Forrest Gumpp, Saturday, 15 November 2008 8:59:11 AM
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rstuart
I will certainly look at the links and into the issue more. There is always some censorship in societies but the question is where do we draw the line - when does censorship become oppressive or undemocratic as opposed to protective (as in the case of movie classifications or filtering porn out of the classroom).

It would be concerning if issues like euthanasia (as was mentioned) were included in this and does beg the question of where does it stop?
Posted by pelican, Saturday, 15 November 2008 1:31:09 PM
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Thanks, RawMustard for starting this vital forum.

Sylvia Else wrote, "One has to wonder at what's driving this politically. Clearly the electorate doesn't want it. It must be some deal with a minor party, with Family First being the obvious candidate."

From the Age article at:

http://www.theage.com.au/news/technology/biztech/net-censorship-plan-backlash/2008/11/11/1226318639085.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1,

... Senators Stephen Fielding and Nick Xenophon, who otherwise seem to play a relatively constructive role in politics, appear to be the principle drivers behind this, but I very much doubt that it would be happening unless the Government, and, behind them, corporate interests, truly want them as Forrest Gump argues.

It needs to be noted that the Murdoch newsmedia is taking what appears to be an outspoken stance against censorship, but I think this is most likely no more than posturing. If they really wanted to stop it, they could do so by putting the truth about the Internet filtering proposals on the front page of its newspapers and demand honest answers from the Government every day until the legislation is withdrawn.

I believe that, contrary to superficial appearances, the corporate newsmedia want censorship in order to be able to control us better and in order to be able to extract more money from us in the longer term as Forrest Gump argues.

As to why they are doing it. It would be hard to put it better than US Air Force (retired) Lieutenant Colonel Dr Robert Bowman who said recently in Cincinnati:

http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=9iKHySWNyFc "Bob Bowman Speaks Before Cincinnati 9/11 Truth part 2"

"Our problems are not due to incompetence or inexperience
or a government which is to big or too small. We have these
problems because those in government no longer serve us.
They server their corporate masters and benefactors and have
deliberately chosen policies which harm our nation and its people."

However, it is paradoxical that some, who (correctly) argue against Government censorship, nevertheless seem desperate to discredit Robert Bowman and others like him, who reject the official US Government explanation for the 'false flag' September 11 terrorist attacks. (See the "9/11 Truth" forum at http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=2166&page=0#50194)

(tobecontinued)
Posted by daggett, Monday, 17 November 2008 1:31:11 PM
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(contiunedfromabove)

In fact, this censorship concerning the 9/11 issue has been far more systematic in Australia than just merely subjecting those who question the Official Conspiracy Theory to scorn and ridicule. See, for example, the supposedly alternative web site http://webdiary.com.au which refused my request to publish an article on the 9/11 controversy.

It's stated policy is:

Webdiary will not publish comments or host discussion on the following
matters:

1. Denial of the existence of the holocaust.
2. Allegations that a Western power or powers were behind the attacks on the
United States on September 11, 2001
3. "False flag" theories.

Why these three? It isn't just because of the content, but also because
experience of these debates tells us that in fact no debate is possible: the
two (or more) sides endlessly repeat the same arguments to which the other
side isn't listening. ... (http://webdiary.com.au/cms/?q=node/2584#comment-86540
http://webdiary.com.au/cms/?q=node/4)

---

So censorship is already with us and it is not just censorship by the corporate newsmedia and the Government.

I believe that this censorship on the part of the ostensible left in addition to that of the corporate newsmedia, has had the practical consequence of preventing the grass roots movement against the invasion of Iraq from succeeding in 2003 and of getting John Howard re-elected in 2004.

I believe that if the official US government 9/11 myth had been exposed for what it was, then John Howard would not have gotten away with committing this country to war in the face of the most massive mass protests since the time of the Vietnam War.

Instead, some of the original majority who opposed the war waned in their resolve, because, as Hermann Goering once put it, people will support war if they are made to believe that they face an external threat.

Clearly Internet filtering will make a bad situation far worse, and, perhaps, irrevocably so, but we need to also do what we can to end the needless censorship we face now.
Posted by daggett, Monday, 17 November 2008 1:32:55 PM
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daggett: << Why these three? It isn't just because of the content, but also because experience of these debates tells us that in fact no debate is possible: the two (or more) sides endlessly repeat the same arguments to which the other side isn't listening >>

It's called quality control, James. I don't suppose the fact that both OLO and Webdiary have knocked back your obsessive rants about crackpot conspiracy theories indicates anything to you about the basis for them?

I imagine that Webdiary has just as many attention-seeking nutters submitting their paranoid fantasies, dressed up as articles, as OLO does. Their refusal to publish such rubbish wouldn't be regarded as censorship by most rational people, unlike Conroy's proposals.

Of course, you're quite free to publish whatever nonsense you like on your own site - where I'm sure at least a dozen people will bother to read it.
Posted by CJ Morgan, Monday, 17 November 2008 1:55:22 PM
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CJ, I am going to pick a nit here. I agree with everything you say of course. But ... you used the words "would not be regarded as censorship". That is best miss-leading. You leave room for some doubt, as in "a tomato can not be regarded as a vegetable."

There is no room doubt in this case. Censorship is the act of preventing someone from publishing something they want to publish. What dagget was talking about here is forcing to someone to publish something they want nothing to do with.

I can't think of a word to describe it right now. The closest analogy I can think of to forcing someone to say something they don't wish to is torture. Its close, but no cigar.
Posted by rstuart, Monday, 17 November 2008 2:19:25 PM
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The article "Winning the war against Internet censorship" at http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=8172&page=0 http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?article=8172&page=0

See also broadcast "Senator Ludlam questions Minister Conroy on internet censorship" at http://scott-ludlam.greensmps.org.au/content/tv/senator-ludlam-questions-minister-conroy-internet-censorship

Of course, Senator Stephen Conroy gave complete and satisfactory answers to all of Scott Ludlum's questions in the manner to which all of us have become accustomed in recent years.
Posted by daggett, Monday, 17 November 2008 2:40:20 PM
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rstuart: << Censorship is the act of preventing someone from publishing something they want to publish. What dagget was talking about here is forcing to someone to publish something they want nothing to do with. >>

Quite so, and point taken. However, I very much doubt that daggett/James understands the distinction.

After all, there's a vast conspiracy out there determined to prevent him from spreading the Truth. It's just like the X-Files.
Posted by CJ Morgan, Tuesday, 18 November 2008 6:57:09 AM
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rstuart,

Whilst you are entitled to uncritically accept the official US Government explanation of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, or, for that matter, their stated reasons for their invasion of Iraq in 2003, the story about babies being thrown from incubators in 1990 (http://www.prwatch.org/books/tsigfy10.html), the Gulf of Tonkin incident, "Yellow Rain" (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9F05E5DC1139F93BA15752C1A965948260) etc., a good many people around the world do not.

These include, for example Daniel Ellsberg, who famously leaked the Pentagon Papers in the 1960's which exposed the US Government's case for the Vietnam war for the lie that it was.

Many other very well credentialed and credible people also reject the official US Government explanation for the 9/11 attacks. Some are listed at http://www.911truthgroups.org/911Truth101/Step2ProminentSupporters/tabid/633/Default.aspx

These include:

Senator Max Cleland, former 9/11 Commissioner;

Kevin Ryan, former Department Head at UL (Underwriter Laboratories) company which certified the steel which went into the World Trade Center buildings at construction, and inspected it after the WTC collapses in 2001;

Ray McGovern, Former CIA Intelligence Advisor to Reagan and George HW Bush and founder of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity;

William Christison Former National Intelligence Officer and Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis;

Andreas von Buelow, former German Defense Minister;

Lt. Col. Karen U. Kwiatkowski, PhD, U.S. Air Force (ret) Former Political-Military Affairs Officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense

As it happens a significant proportion of the population in the US and around the world happens to agree with them in spite of the relentless propaganda in favour of the Official Conspiracy Theory. This includes roughly half the population of New York City.

rstuart, my question to you is :

Do you or don't you think that the Australian public are entitled to know why so many people, who initially accepted the official US Government account as I did, no longer do so?

(Feel free also to try to answer, Christopher, although I appreciate the great difficulty you seem to face comprehending even simple questions, these days.)

(tobecontinued)
Posted by daggett, Tuesday, 18 November 2008 11:57:43 AM
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daggett: "Do you or don't you think that the Australian public are entitled to know ..."

Of course they are entitled to know. That wasn't my point.

Sorry daggett, but in this case CJ is right: you didn't understand what I was tring to say.

After seeing your reply I tried to think of some plainer way to put it, but I can't think of one. I am defeated, as CJ predicted. It appears CJ knows his protagonists rather better than I.
Posted by rstuart, Tuesday, 18 November 2008 12:31:28 PM
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Firstly, rstuart, you made two points and I understood them both perfectly. I was responding to your first point, which was your expressed agreement with Christopher.

In any case, if it is true, as Christopher alleges, that I am incapable of comprehending what others write, I would hardly be alone on OLO, now would I, Christopher?

---

(continuedfromabove)

The fact is that the Australian public has been prevented from knowing that a controversy even exists, and they have been prevented from knowing this not only by the corporate newsmedia, but even by virtually all of the supposed alternative and ostensibly left newsmedia.

It is not much more than a year since significant doubts entered my head about the official story. The principle reason it took me so long to question the Official Conspiracy Theory was that I had assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that the alternative newsmedia in this country would have alerted me a long time ago if there was anything suspicious in the US Government's case.

In my opinion, whilst online journals such as http://webdiary.com.au are entitled to publish or not publish what they choose, they are doing the public an immense disservice by deliberately concealing alternative views about 9/11 from them.

Not only do they not allow discussion of the issue on their web site, they even actively prevent their visitors from finding out for themselves about this by deleting links to web resources which question the Official Conspiracy Theory.

If you are interested to know why I have firmly changed my view on the 9/11 question in the last three months, I am happy to calmly explain why, possibly on the "9/11 Truth" forum at http://forum.onlineopinion.com.au/thread.asp?discussion=2166&page=0#50196

Can I also suggest that you view such resources as:

See http://www.911oz.com http://911truth.org http://911bloggers.org http://ae911truth.org http://pilotsfor911truth.org http://stj911.com http://www.nyc911initiative.org

Ellen Mariani's open letter to President George W Bush at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRBOUildaJE

The speech "I call it Treason" by retired US Air Force Colonel Dr Robert Bowman at
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4976139611627220171

Canadian journalist Barrie Zwicker's excellent 70 minute documentary "The Great Conspiracy" at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529813972926262623
Posted by daggett, Tuesday, 18 November 2008 1:48:21 PM
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About the only people in the last 40 years who referred to me as Christopher were my late mother and mother-in-law, and now daggett/James Sinnamon.

I think that the brain-dead 'Truth Fairy' is in good company with a couple of dead old ladies. Like rstuart, I gave up on James (and his sock puppets) some time ago.
Posted by CJ Morgan, Tuesday, 18 November 2008 1:56:50 PM
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Why drag departed relatives into this argument?

Wouldn't life be so much easier if you simply resolved, from this day forward, to treat all people, whether alive or dead, decently and respectfully, Christopher/CJ Morgan??
Posted by daggett, Wednesday, 19 November 2008 12:41:57 AM
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