Let Me Digress
Kathryn Hore – Writer

What the internet needs now…

December 16th 2009 in Archives, Unsolicited opinion

… is another angry, opinionated online comment decrying the mandatory internet filtering everybody’s most un-favourite communications minister announced yesterday would go ahead in this country.

And far be it from me to deny the internet just what it needs.

Yet while I desperately want to make some intelligent and original comment which changes the course of what may be to come and has a real impact on all those powers-that-be (yeah, I know, and I’d also like to give Sen. Conroy a right smack across the face until he sees sense too, but it’s not going to happen either – still, doesn’t hurt to dream), I’ve a wee problem.  I’m not actually sure what to say.

Yes, I’m at a loss for words, which is something I’ve only ever heard other people say.

Okay, you can get up off the floor now.  I know the idea that I might struggle to find something to say is as surprising as, well, a major political party in this country not feeling the need to pander to the extremist Christian-right, but that’s just the mood I’m in this morning.  The fact is, it doesn’t matter what I say, or what I do, or what I believe.  It doesn’t even really matter what I vote.  I can blog to my heart’s content, but it still won’t make any difference.

Yeah, I’m just one big disillusioned cynic today.  Next thing you know, I’ll be handing in a donkey vote.

<<cue joke about all the donkeys on the ballot here>>

The Australian Government’s trial of its proposed mandatory filtering system has come to a close and the results were announced yesterday in the kind of online flurry that shut down the Dept’s own website.  Which is kind of ironic, when you think about it.  And sure, I know we shouldn’t be surprised, I know we all were on some level aware that the Government were so hot on this issue that it didn’t matter what the results of the trial were it was going to be declared a success anyway.  And I know, because I’ve been following the issue, that the trial itself was inherently flawed.

I know this move was inevitable, because it has nothing to do with common sense and everything to do with politics and political manoeuvring, but I guess I still had some kind of hope that a rational decision would be taken.

Yeah, that’s me, one big ball of political naivety.

See, there are so many things wrong with this mandatory internet filtering scheme that I’m at a loss to know where to start.  Morally, ethically, technically, the implications of this upon Australia are vast, and really bloody scary.  So instead of me ranting on and repeating only what’s been said by greater experts elsewhere, I’m going to link to said experts, or at least the knowledgeable types I’ve been reading in the last hour or so and thus still have their links to hand, and I command you all to go read them.

You need to pay attention here, because this is really freakin’ important:

www.nocleanfeed.com

www.somebodythinkofthechildren.com

http://www.inquisitr.com/52298/australia-confirms-censorship-plans-tells-fibs-on-the-filtering-trial/

http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/12/16/net-filtering-wont-work-so-what-is-conroy-up-to/

http://www.efa.org.au/

http://www.google.com.au/ – hey, you’ve got fingers, you know how to type, and there’s a massive amount of info out there,  just search for your own stuff, whydoncha?

Right, finished all your reading?  Because you’re not getting any dessert until you do, you know.

See, illegal material in this country is already that – illegal.  It doesn’t matter if it’s online or printed on a bit of sliced tree – it’s still illegal, and the law can already be used against it.  It’s part of our justice system right now.  And that being the case, it seems this internet filtering scheme has little to do with stopping access to or distribution of illegal material, because we already have laws in place to do that, and lots to do with blocking material which is perfectly legal, just deemed somehow “unsuitable” by prevailing powers of the day.  We’re talking about the imposition of someone else’s moral worldview upon the entire country.  About censorship and controlling access to opposing arguments.  About freedom of speech, and the removal of it, and the ways in which democracy is diminished.

And frankly, if it comes down to blocking material which is legal but just not to the tastes of whichever politicians happen to be in power, then yeah, I get worried.  Let’s face it, the vast majority of pollies in this country, no matter from which side of politics, are: (a) old, (b) male, (c) Christian, and (d) conservative.  So forgive me if I seriously doubt that their moral worldview is going to in any way coincide with mine.

Anyway, upon the announcement I immediately did what any active, concerned Australian citizen with a net presence must do when confronted by such a threat to the democratic processes of her country.  I added a “No Clean Feed” ‘twibbon’ to my Twitter avatar, then blocked @KevinRuddPm from my feed.

Yeah, that’ll show ‘em.

Early in this blog I shot off a smartarse comment (I know, me being sarcastic, who wudda thunk it?) about it not mattering what I do or what I vote, because it wouldn’t change anything.  Sure, I was being deliberately cynical so as to get a cheap laugh (not to mention find a way to slip in that donkeys-on-the-ballot joke; yeah, I just crack me up at times, too), but as an individual who is confronted by a united front of ultra-conservatism right across the political spectrum, it certainly can feel that way.

But.

That’s no excuse not to tell ‘em what you think anyway.  And who knows, maybe if every one of us all so cynical individuals concerned about this actually took the time to write to their MP, then we’d no longer be mere single voices flailing in the wind, but actually become one great big bloody shout.

Hmmm, so maybe I’m not the totally jaded cynic I otherwise contrive to appear.  Regardless of that, the EFA’s No Clean Feed site has a good list of the guys you really want to send your letters of complaint to, if you are so inclined.

Go here and write lots, my budding little activists:  http://nocleanfeed.com/action.html

And while you’re at it, go sign that GetUp campaign.

But most of all, just go read.  Inform yourselves.  Don’t take my word for any of this, go use those Googling fingers of yours and find out for yourselves,  Check out the links above.  Go find others.  Actually read the results of the trial.  And don’t just read all this stuff, read it sceptically.  Think about it.  Question it.  Ask yourselves what are the implications which are unsaid.

Make up your own minds.  While you still have access to an internet where you can still go find multiple  viewpoints.

Catch you next time…  unless the Government add me to the blacklist in the meantime…

Kath.

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“What the internet needs now…”
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Horrible scary prospect, but really well written article. I thoroughly appreciate the level of sarcasm used. :-D




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Ended up at Ladyfest the other week. No, don’t bother asking how a thirty-something ex-punk-rocker like myself found herself trying not to look too old amongst the young ’uns loitering down the front while bands kitted up and tore down. I was there to work and so stuck to the sidelines, only able to look on with an envious sigh as the more youthful music lovers lingered in between sets to make sure they were in a good possie for the next mosh. Yes, it used to be me, loitering away up front and securing my place, reading to slam into my fellows with a wilful glee the moment the first chord ripped out. (Actually, come to think of it, a week or so later down at the Espy, it was me. Heh.) This night, though, I was stuck babysitting an overly expensive moving-images camera and so was forced to actually act my age, for once. Which was a shame, because it looked like a damn good mosh pit, too.

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Yes, once again we reach that time of year when we all try to recover from too much eating, too much drinking and too little success in avoiding old Uncle “Groper” Jim at the family Christmas Party. This also means it is time for me to send you my traditional Boxing Day indigestible greetings and alcoholic wishes.

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