Mar 18, 2009

Rundle: there is no bigger issue than net censorship

With the news that communications watchdog ACMA has put some pages of Wikileaks on its list of banned links the fight against the compulsory internet filtering enters a new and vital stage, writes Guy Rundle.

With the news that communications watchdog ACMA has put some pages of Wikileaks on its list of banned links -- and threatened linkers with five-figure daily fines -- the fight against the compulsory internet filtering enters a new and vital stage.

Wikileaks -- the document repository, no association with Wikipedia -- has published the list of sites banned by the Danish government, and these pages have been put on the blacklist, presumably as part of a worldwide compact, formal or otherwise, between national web censorship authorities.

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16 thoughts on “Rundle: there is no bigger issue than net censorship

  1. Bohemian

    No matter who you vote for, the Government (i.e. the State) always gets in; and the Govt. is no friend of the people. It exists solely to perpetuate itself by increasing the public’s dependence upon it. It is not there to help you. Most of the time the Govt. should get the heck out of our lives rather than interfering in our every act. This could take the form of bribes to that half the population in need while threatening confiscation of income and savings of the other half if they don’t shut up.

    The clampdown on freedom of speech is part of the State agenda but to get it accepted, it needed a catalyst. Along came “good old paedophilia” to provide the necessary justification for the removal of free speech. The Internet is the last bastion of free speech in this increasingly totalitarian matrix, and our only hope against a controlled media and a rampart power hungry state apparatus looking more and more every day like the Gramscian dialectic. By the way, this won’t stamp out pornography on the internet because it is one of the State’s tools of distraction along with sports and Dancing with the Stars. And BIG PED will still be there because it will use its own above the net system to deliver its foul product to the sick of mind and heart.

    What we can be almost certain about if this legislation is passed is that freedom of speech will suffer because unlike the distractions, freedom of speech represents political power. It is an expression of the political will of the people.

    Don’t expect the other side to jump up and down about this loss of freedom. They were and are party to the same game.

  2. JamesK'

    “Activism”, ‘the struggle’ and extreme left-wing ideology are clearly more important to Guy Rundle than freedom itself.

    What is required here is not a putsch but a detailed explanation outlining the implications of Conroy’s mad plan.

    Tim, John James and Dave Liberts have made the only sensible contributions to this debate.

  3. James O'Neill

    Conroy does represent a danger to the liberal democracy ideal that Labor espouses but does so little to enact. In that he is merely a continuation of a long historical trend. The Labor movement is essentially a conservative movement, notwithstanding some liberal flurries in the Whitlam, Hawke Keating eras. Its social instincts are always to seek to control dissent. For all his posturing Rudd is only a younger reflection of Howard and no turgid essays on the evils of neo-liberalism is going to alter that fact.
    One would be hard put to identify a single “left of centre” social initiative by the Rudd government since it assumed office. True it made a token reduction in the armed forces role in Iraq, but that has been more than offset by the eagerness to increase the Afghanistan commitment despite the multiple flaws in that policy.
    Elsewhere, whether it is propping up banks, car manufacturers, or the coal industry its thinking is stuck resolutely in the 1950s. Its environmental policy is a disgrace with the single “achievement” being the ratification of the Kyoto treaty at a time when the rest of the world had moved on.
    The Howard sedition and “anti-terrrorism” laws remain in place. Australia remains the only significant social democracy without a bill or charter of rights to protect it citizens against the censoring tendencies of Conroy and his ilk and a host of other assaults upon the citizen.
    Labor has actually recently increased the protection afforded Pine Gap against legitimate protest.
    As George Galloway so succinctly put it in describing the Labor and Conservative parties in the UK: they are two cheeks of the same arse.
    Unless and until Australians recognise that the Coalition and Labor are part of the problem and not part of the solution we are doomed to much more of the same old same old.

  4. Tim

    Settle down Rundle. It’s not an insane attack on freedom of speech, it’s just a half thought out promise made in the heat of an election campaign, taken up by an overzealous and ignorant minister (not you Leslie Nassar!!). I reckon most of the ALP realise what a shit policy it is but because they all know it’s doomed to fail nobody can be bothered to take it out the back paddock and shoot it. And even if it did get up in a worst-case scenario, some clever puppy would just find a way for us to use a provider from New Zealand or Fiji, and bypass the whole system anyway. It might sound like the death-knell for democracy, but it’s a mere irritance for capitalism!

  5. Steve B

    “Wikileaks — the document repository attached to Wikipedia”

    Completely wrong. They’re not related. At all. They use the same software, and that’s it. Wikileaks is not part of the Wikimedia Foundation. The “document repository attached to Wikipedia”, if you could call it that, would be WikiSource.

  6. Herman Munster

    To Guy Rundle: I’m 110% with you on this issue of internet censorship and I very much appreciate the thought that you have put into this article. However, I feel compelled to comment on your writing style. (I hope you take this as constructive criticism.)

    To tell you the truth, I gave up reading the article about half way through because I found it to be “laborious” reading. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why I felt that way but I sincerely hope you will consider rewriting (parts of) the article because this is such an important topic. Perhaps you could consider shortening the article a little and breaking it up into “chunks” by using sub-headings. I also found several sentences a little difficult to comprehend, quickly, on first reading. It’s almost as if you quickly wrote a “stream of consciousness” and never went back to rewrite anything. Hey, I can’t say that I’m such a wonderful writer myself! When I’m tired or after a couple of beers, or both, my writing style is far from easy reading.

    I also found some of the language a bit strange, as if you are trying to write in an almost exaggerated style of colloquial Australian English. I am Australian myself (but an ex-pat) so I should be able to understand it easily but it was not so easy.

    One more thing – maybe some of the points that you are alluding to in the article are very familiar to your regular readers, or to Aussies at home. And since I haven’t lived in Australia for many years, maybe this was part of my problem.

    It would be a great pity for this article not to be widely read on the internet and not to be linked to other sites on the internet, simply because too many people, like me, found it to such a hard slog to read.

  7. Joel B1

    One more thought (and sort of off-topic)

    I own a subversive but legal website hosted in the USA and with private registration details. (I know Japan or the Seychelles would be better but I’m on a budget here).

    Of late I’ve been getting lots of search enquiries with “sex site [name of my site]” as the search term. Is this an attempt to get my site blacklisted?

  8. Joel B1

    “One of the drawbacks of net campaigning/GetUp etc, is that it makes it easier to avoid the boring, embarrassing business of talking face-to-face with people”

    How true, The idea of pasty-faced IT types taking to the streets is quite humorous.
    However, this filter is such a poor idea something has to be done.

    Maybe if you put the word out that there was a massive nation-wide LARP?

  9. John James

    “Like new Labour in the UK…committed itself to neoliberal economics..” Funny, I thought Kevin Rudd held up New Labour and the UK as an exemplary model of the ‘social democrat’ alternative to neoliberalism, represented by the Liberal Party here in Australia.
    Problem is, the UK economy is a ‘basket case’. Australia’s economy, mentored by those arch Tories and Neo ‘Liberals’, Howard and Costello, is in relatively good shape.
    As they say in journalism Guy, ” great story pity about the facts

  10. caf

    Agree absolutely, Guy.

    Wikileaks actually has the ACMA blocklist from late 2008, too, at http://www.wikileaks.com/wiki/Australian_government_secret_ACMA_internet_censorship_blacklist%2C_6_Aug_2008

    (John James – In terms of Kevin Rudd claiming the title of “social democrat” for himself and/or UK Labour, it may surprise you to know that the terms political parties self-apply cannot always be taken at face value! For example, the North Korean regime calls itself the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea despite not being at all Democratic. I also hear tell that a major western democracy has a Liberal party that isn’t liberal at all…)

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