Losing the filter without losing face

This week the Australian Labor Party installed Julia Gillard as its new leader, making her the first female Prime Minister of Australia.  This change in leadership provides the government with an opportunity to change its approach to certain policy issues without losing (quite so much) face. The new PM has wasted no time in seizing the opportunity to  change the governments  approach to negotiating with the mining industry over the resource super profit tax (RSPT). The question now is – what other policy areas could benefit from an opportune change of tack? Within the telecoms and technology arena, there have been two hot topics for the  ALP led government since it came to power – the National Broadband Network (NBN) and internet censorship. This week, […]

Internet censorship: not dead, just sleeping

With the Australian government delaying  introduction of its internet censorship legislation, there’s been some speculation that the policy may be dead. The more likely scenario however is that the policy has simply  gone in to hibernation until after the Federal election. Despite the media and blogosphere cries of “backflip”, this is a smart tactical move. Tactically, delaying the legislation makes sense. Pushing it through before the election risks continuing the distracting public feud with the government’s critics. Delaying until after the election gives the ALP a range of options. Should the ALP  fail to hold a majority in the Senate following the next election, ‘net censorship may once again become a political bargaining chip.  Family First are strong supporters of mandatory ISP filtering, and have previously called for the […]

Minimising the harm from online hate

Whilst ignoring racist behaviour online won’t automatically make it go away, those trying to quash it through legal threats should recognise their actions may actually make matters worse. The SMH today reports that: “The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has threatened legal action against a widely read but controversial US-based website over an article that encourages racial hatred against Aborigines. … In a letter to Joseph Evers, the owner of Encyclopedia Dramatica (ED) – a more shocking version of Wikipedia that contains racist and other offensive articles dubbed as “satire” – the commission said it had received 20 complaints from Aborigines over the “Aboriginal” page on the site. (SMH 17/03/2010)” As online rights group EFA points out in the same SMH article, trying to censor […]