• Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites

  • News, Telecommunications - Written by on Wednesday, November 23, 2011 10:00 - 19 Comments

    Aussie Internet freedom at risk, says Sex Party

    news The Australian Sex Party has accused the Federal Government of following the lead of the United States in restricting civil liberties in Internet usage, with proposed American legislation such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in play in the US and controversial talks between the content and ISP industries similarly under way locally.

    SOPA was introduced into the US House of Representatives in late October. The legislation would allow the US Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders such as film and TV studios, to seek extensive court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement, potentially impacting their commercial operations and protecting ISPs.

    “Right now, the US congress is considering legislation which would allow censorship of anything suspected of copyright infringement, and mandate information relating to such activity and the identities of users, to be handed to law enforcement authorities,” Sex Party President, Fiona Patten said in a statement issued late last week.

    Earlier this year the Federal Attorney-General’s Department held a closed door meeting between representatives from the ISP and content industries. It later declined to release any minutes from the meeting under Freedom of Information laws, stating such a document did not exist. This drew criticism from digital rights groups Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) and the Pirate Party Australia.

    In mid-October, although it quickly withdrew the proposal, the Attorney-General’s Department issued a paper proposing to modify federal regulations to make it easier for anti-piracy organisations to request details of alleged Internet pirates from ISPs.

    “The Australian Government has already begun to remove due process from the prosecution of copyright infringement, and this new legislation being considered in the US could signal an expansion of the surveillance and dubious legal tactics already being employed in Australia,” the Sex Party’s statement said.

    The Sex Party’s Patten said the enforcement of copyright laws must be balanced with the right to privacy, and the due process of Australia’s legal system was paramount — “to erode it is to ignore the foundation of fairness in our country,” she said.

    “The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland is threatening the rights of ordinary Australians for the sake of so-called movie rights groups, established to profiteer from such actions, not to benefit artists and those who create movies and other entertainment. This, coupled with the ever-present threat that Senator Conroy will again lead the charge to re-introduce internet censorship legislation, paints a bleak future for freedom in Australia.”

    “We must not follow the US legislative approach blindly. The US-Australia military alliance must not extend to militant legal action against Australians. Government must stop using pornography, child protection and copyright infringement as excuses to violate the rights of individuals to privacy and freedom. It is not the Government who should parent children, rather, parents need to take responsibility for their children’s welfare, and adults must be afforded the rights they are entitled to.” Patten said.

    In response to questions on the issue, the office of the Attorney-General has responded that it remains the Government’s preference to have an industry-based solution to address online copyright infringement. It has also noted that consumer representatives would be consulted in respect to any such scheme.

    opinion/analysis
    It’s easy to pigeonhole the Australian Sex Party as being a tiny minority party which doesn’t represent mainstream Australian society. However, whenever I’ve dealt with the party, its policies have just seemed to make a great deal of sense when it comes to the technology sector. This is what its web site states are its policies on censorship, for example:

    • Bring about the establishment of a truly national classification scheme which includes a uniform non-violent erotica rating for explicit adult material for all jurisdictions and through all media including the Internet and computer games.
    • Introduce an R and X rating for computer games
    • To overturn mandatory ISP filtering of the Internet and return Internet censorship to parents and individuals.
    • We oppose the mandatory retention of all Australian users’ internet browsing history and emails by ISPs for at-will inspection by law enforcement agencies, and support strong judicial oversight over the ability of law enforcement to access individuals’ internet and email data.

    I would say that much of the technology sector would agree with this — certainly it’s the feeling I get from readers whenever I’ve written on these issues.

    Opinion/analysis by Renai LeMay

    submit to reddit

    19 Comments

    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    1. billy
      Posted 23/11/2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink |

      how is it possible to have an x rating for computer games? unless the games contains actual video of real (rather than animated) people. I would have thought the ASP would know foundational stuff like this by now.

      • Posted 23/11/2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink |

        Plenty of video games contain cut scenes with real people.

        • billy
          Posted 23/11/2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink |

          oh ok, I didn’t know that.

        • alain
          Posted 23/11/2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink |

          @Renai

          Oh ‘cut scenes’, I misread it for a moment.

          :)

          • Marlon
            Posted 23/11/2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink |

            Lol, there’s probably games with some of them too

      • Peter Piper
        Posted 23/11/2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink |

        bill hicks used to joke in the 90s that if they combined video games and porno he would get high scores on “clam lappers”

      • Duke
        Posted 23/11/2011 at 6:09 pm | Permalink |

        and don’t forget the magistrate who convinced himself that Simpsons characters could be seen as child pornography actors…

    2. Dave
      Posted 23/11/2011 at 1:26 pm | Permalink |

      I’ve voted for them in the past… their policies are more down-to-earth than the other parties and, like Renai said, often make more sense. I guess that being a minority frees them from some of the encumbrance that comes with being a big political party.

      • Dean
        Posted 23/11/2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink |

        The ASP are definitely a socially progressive party, which aligns with my personal beliefs. Though I’m not sure they have the best credentials when it comes to matters of finance or pretty much anything other than social issues :-)

      • Glenn
        Posted 23/11/2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink |

        They are definetly one of the leading Liberal (as in Liberty) forces in Australia, its an area both the ALP and Liberal Party have ignored since probably Malcolm Fraser.

        Last election i believe they missed out by a few hundred preference votes of ousting the DLP in one of the middle rounds.

        They should go closer next time.

        • Duke
          Posted 23/11/2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink |

          maybe with a name change to, say, the sensible mature adults party?

    3. Nick
      Posted 23/11/2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink |

      The ASP and the Secular Party of Australia seem to be the two most sane options around at the moment, especially in the tech sector. For example, here is SPA’s policy statement on censorship:

      “The Secular Party supports the right to access legal information and entertainment. Internet censorship is a tool commonly used by tyrannical regimes. It is hypocritical for Australia to introduce a broad internet censorship scheme which is in principle no different from an authoritarian one.

      Under current laws, the Australian Communications and Media Authority may investigate and fine websites hosted in Australia if they contain illegal material; we believe that this is an appropriate method of regulating internet content. Given the technical and ethical concerns with a broad filtering of all internet content, the Secular Party is opposed to any kind of internet filter.”

      (from http://www.secular.org.au/mnu-policy-details)

      It will be a great day for the country if either group ever manages to secure a seat in the Federal senate.

    4. Marlon
      Posted 23/11/2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink |

      I dont know if it’s just me, but I feel they do themselves a massive disservice by calling themselves the Australian Sex Party.. turns off too many people.

      Like you say Renai, I find a number of their policies make good sense and there is potential there for them to steal a good number of votes from Labour and the Greens.. it’s just that bloody name!

      • Anthony S
        Posted 27/11/2011 at 10:47 pm | Permalink |

        That name, sadly, gives them oxygen. Otherwise they’d just be treated as ‘another obscure interest’ party by the media and voters.

        You’ve got to admit, that name catches your eye. Perhaps they can transition the name once they have enough clout to get noticed on their own merit (or perhaps take over the shell that is the Democrats in this day and age.)

    5. Posted 23/11/2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink |

      Sex Party: “Internet Freedom is at risk.”

      Well, duh…we’ve only been on this for two years…

      • Posted 23/11/2011 at 7:19 pm | Permalink |

        They were probably busy with… their other “policies”.

      • Tom
        Posted 24/11/2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink |

        Really Michael? Two years? Wow.

        Maybe if you put aside your so clever smugness you would’ve noticed that Fiona Patten and the ASP has been very actively involved in this issue over the last two year.

        Guess how long ago the ASP was founded? And what might’ve been one of the driving factors behind that?

        And that the whole statement is about a recent development (SOPA in the US) and its likely affect on Australia.

        • toshP300
          Posted 24/11/2011 at 11:28 am | Permalink |

          +1

    6. Tim
      Posted 24/11/2011 at 7:20 am | Permalink |

      Last federal election I looked at the policies of all the parties. I came to the conclusion that the ASP’s policies (particularly on technology and social issues) were the most progressive and most aligned with my own, followed by the Secular Party.

      Fortunately, the ASP’s preferencing pretty much matched my own preferences, so I was able to just vote 1 ASP above the line in the Senate.

      It caused some real discussion (and a small amount of laughter) when my brother and I visited our parents and told them we were voting for the Australian Sex Party. If anyone else comes to the same conclusions I did, I recommend discussing it with friends and family. Maybe if enough of us do they might just swing enough votes next time to get a Senate seat.




    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:


  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp facepalm2

      If you have even a skin deep awareness of the structure of Australia’s superannuation industry, you’ll be aware that much of the underlying infrastructure used by many of the nation’s major funds is provided by a centralised group, Superpartners. One of the group’s main projects in recent years has been to dramatically update and modernise its IT platform — its version of a core banking platform overhaul. Unfortunately, the $250 million project has not precisely been going well.

    • Qld’s Grant joins analyst firm IBRS peter-grant

      This week it emerged that Peter Grant, the two-time former Queensland Whole of Government CIO (pictured), has joined well-regarded analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS). We’ve long had a high regard for IBRS, and so it’s fantastic to see such an experienced executive join its ranks.

    • Westpac dumps desk phones for Samsung Android mobiles samsung-galaxy-ace-3

      The era of troublesome desk phones tied to physical locations is gradually coming to an end in many workplaces, with mobile phones becoming increasingly popular as organisations’ main method of voice telecommunications. But some groups are more advanced than others when it comes to adoption of the trend. One of those is Westpac.

    • Ministers’ cloud approval lasted just a year reverse

      Remember how twelve months ago, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive which required departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and the relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information could be stored in offshore facilities? Remember how the policy was strongly criticised by Microsoft, Government CIOs and Delimiter? Well, it looks like the policy is about to be reversed.

    • WA Govt can’t fund school IT upgrades oops key

      In news from The Department of Disturbing Facts, iTNews revealed late last week that Western Australia’s Department of Education has run out of money halfway through the deployment of new fundamental IT infrastructure to the state’s schools.

    • Turnbull outlines Govt ICT vision turnbull-5

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has published an extensive article arguing that the Federal Government needed to do a better job of connecting with Australians via digital channels and that public sector IT projects needn’t cost the huge amounts that some have in the past.

    • NZ Govt pushes hard into cloud zealand

      New Zealand’s national Government announced a whole of government contract this morning for what it terms ‘Office Productivity as a Service’ services. This includes email and calendaring services, as well as file-sharing, mobility, instant messaging and collaboration services. The contract complements two existing contracts — Desktop as a Service and Enterprise Content Management as a Service.

    • CommBank reveals Harte’s replacement whiteing

      The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted an internal executive who joined the bank in September after a lengthy career at petroleum giant VP and IT services group Accenture to replace its outgoing chief information officer Michael Harte, who announced in early May that he would leave the bank.

    • Jeff Smith quits Suncorp for IBM jeffsmith4

      Second-tier Australian bank and financial services group Suncorp today announced that its long-serving top technology executive Jeff Smith would leave to take up a senior role with IBM in the United States, in an announcement which marks the end of an era for the nation’s banking IT sector.

    • Small business missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution iphone-stock

      Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 5, 2014 13:53 - 0 Comments

    Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp

    More In Enterprise IT


    Blog, Telecommunications - Jul 5, 2014 12:12 - 0 Comments

    What should the ACCC’s role be in guiding infrastructure spending?

    More In Telecommunications


    Analysis, Industry, Internet - Jun 23, 2014 10:33 - 0 Comments

    ‘Google Schmoogle’ – how Yellow Pages got it so wrong

    More In Industry


    Blog, Digital Rights - Jun 30, 2014 22:24 - 0 Comments

    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

    More In Digital Rights