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  • Intellectual Property, Internet, News, Telecommunications - Written by on Monday, June 18, 2012 12:05 - 33 Comments

    Australia’s Internet freedom being eroded, Greens warn

    news The Australian Greens have issued a broad statement warning Australians that their Internet freedom is being steadily ‘eroded’, with a wide swathe of government initiatives in areas ranging from surveillance to data retention, to the freedom of expression and privacy set to affect the nation over the coming years.

    In a statement issued last week, Greens Senator and Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam drew attention to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Australia helped draft and is a signatory to, which states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

    In addition, he also drew attention to article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is believed to have some legitimacy in Australia, but as much as the Universal Declaration. It states firstly that no-one should be subjected to “arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation”; and also that everyone had the right of legal protection against such interference or attacks.

    With reference to these legal codes in Australia, Ludlam said the “one-way militarisation of the Internet” was currently “steadily eroding some of the very freedoms that our security agencies were intended to protect”. He added: “From straightforward privacy concerns to wider questions of genuine security and the integrity of a medium that holds so much promise, a healthy balance can only be struck with concerted citizen action.”

    The Greens Senator highlighted a number of examples of such erosion in Australia, such as:

    • Regular modifications to the Telecommunications Interception and Access (TIA) Act
    • The introduction of the Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Act 2011
    • The introduction of the Cybercrime Bill 2011
    • The introduction of data retention initiatives
    • The publication of the ‘Cyber White Paper’, due at the end of June 2012
    • New cyber-agreement with the US

    With respect to the Telecommunications Interception and Access (TIA) Act, Ludlam said this legislation was amended several times a year to expand surveillance powers, to allow interception of electronic communications in the name of protecting computer networks, or in the name of resisting cybercrime or terrorism. The TIA Act annual report showed law enforcement agencies obtained nearly a quarter of a million authorisations for access to telecommunications information in 2010-11, he said.

    The Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Act 2011 authorised the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) to undertake surveillance offshore in relation to Australia’s economic interests, and to spy on people and organisations overseas that do not fit the current definition of “foreign powers”, Ludlam said: “ASIO can collect information on Australians in foreign countries if there’s a supposed impact Australia’s foreign relations: there’s no need to relate to a security threat.”

    With respect to the Cybercrime Bill (2011), which is currently before the Senate, Ludlam said the bill proposed to reduce the threshold for wiretaps and requires ongoing collection and retention of specific communications data. In addition, he said, it allows for Australia to assist in prosecutions which could lead to the death penalty overseas.

    The data retention proposal, popular referred to as ‘OzLog’, is part of an inquiry which Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has called with respect to a wide-ranging package of legislation to boost government surveillance powers. It will require all Australian ISPs and telcos to collect and store all data on their users for up to two years — such as telephone and Internet access records. “Surveillance overreach doesn’t come much more audacious than this,” said Ludlam.

    The Cyber White Paper, due to be published at the end of June, will examine the Federal Government’s whole of government approach to cyberspace, while on May 18 this year, the Government signed a cyber-security agreement with the United States, building on an agreement in November 2011 that undefined online attacks could be used to invoke the ANZUS treaty.

    In his statement, Ludlam described the Internet as a vital communications medium that was being used by millions of people to exercise rights to freedom of expression and collaboration; a network that was playing a role in building a globally connected civil society. However, along with this increased connectedness, the Greens Senator said, there had been “a massive increase in data collection and retention”, some of it reflecting “intimate details”, which “has been used to assemble ever more detailed commercial profiles and to extend the reach of law enforcement agencies”, tracking and disrupting the work of pro-democracy campaigners and journalists.

    “In Australia, increasingly expansive and poorly defined surveillance powers are regularly passed through the Parliament with minimal debate,” Ludlam wrote.

    “As much as it is the Government’s role to promote collective protection against identity theft, online crime and acts of political violence, we also have an expectation of privacy, freedom of expression and freedom from arbitrary acts of state coercion. As the lines between terrorism, civil disobedience and healthy dissent are deliberately blurred, Australia’s security agencies and police forces have been deployed against climate change demonstrators, the occupy movement, anti-whaling campaigners and supporters of the WikiLeaks publishing organisation.”

    “Australians have a strong tradition of standing up for free speech and freedom of association – we need to safeguard these traditions in the online environment.”

    opinion/analysis
    I highly agree with Ludlam’s comments here. If you’ve been reading Delimiter over the past two and half years since I founded the site, you will have read at least dozens of articles about how various organisations, ranging from the Attorney-General’s Department in the Federal Government to the content industry and from the Australian Federal Police to ASIO, have sought increasing power over how Australians use the Internet.

    Australia’s Federal Government, if it had its way, would control what material we accessed on the Internet through its mandatory Internet filtering project, require ISPs to keep comprehensive records on what we did access through its data retention policies, allow organisations such as ASIO covert access to our computers, force us to decrypt our secure data stores, allow a huge series of telecommunications interceptions to take place, and track our financial transactions for taxation purposes and to make sure we’re not evading welfare restrictions.

    Everything we do on the Internet is the subject of some kind of government control initiative. If you think I’m kidding, I encourage you to search Delimiter for the word ‘OzLog’. Or perhaps ‘filter’. Also, ‘AFACT’, ‘piracy’, or even better, ‘Attorney-General’s Department’. I believe you will find a huge government apparatus which has been set up for the express purpose of controlling and monitoring what Australians do and say online.

    Senator Ludlam is not exaggerating in his fear of Australian Government control over the Internet; he is not fearmongering for political gain. In actual fact, his extensive statement on the erosion of Australians’ Internet rights is somewhat conservative and does not go into the true depths of what the Government is currently proposing in Australia. I encourage you to do your research and verify this truth for yourself.

    Right now, only a handful of parliamentarians, a handful of journalists and a handful of external organisations such as the Pirate Party of Australia are holding the Government accountable on these matters. The line between our current status and total Australian Government control of the Internet is very thin indeed.

    Image credit: Andrea Roberts, Creative Commons

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    33 Comments

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    1. Muso1
      Posted 18/06/2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink |

      Sad that I apparently have no rights to stop my work being taken without payment. I’d love The Greens to talk about that.
      But…..
      Yeah, I definitely think the biggest threat to internet freedom are the terrorist networks, Anonymous and Wikileaks. Whether you support any of them or not, governments around the world don’t and will act to counter their freedom to communicate.

      • Stephen
        Posted 18/06/2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink |

        What are you talking about? Australia has some of the strongest copyright laws in the world.
        You want even more?
        Seeing your earlier response with the ‘if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’ fallacy and your general, shill-tinged, comments I think that you’re far more of a danger to democratic process and freedom than the Pirate Party.
        BTW – I also am a musician and composer and purchaser of music production software & hardware (which incidentally as a market seems like a big believer in the ‘Australia Tax’ – mark-ups are huge compared with overseas markets). I look at the internet as an opportunity, not something to fear as you seem to. Especially following my experiences with Australian (sorry International) record labels, such a bunch of altruistic philanthropists with transparent accounting methods that they are….

        Stop pleading for your own special interest and look where you fit into society, copyright has been ludicrously extended and expanded and serves only entrenched corporate interests. It is the antithesis of competition!

      • Joakal
        Posted 18/06/2012 at 4:16 pm | Permalink |

        “Sad that I apparently have no rights to stop my work being taken without payment. I’d love The Greens to talk about that.”

        Muso1, you give an interesting paradox. A police state or a sharing society.

        Why? Because you CAN NOT prevent piracy from happening without crushing communication. It’s people like you that should feel ashamed for being against humanity.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 18/06/2012 at 4:49 pm | Permalink |

        “Yeah, I definitely think the biggest threat to internet freedom are the terrorist networks, Anonymous and Wikileaks. Whether you support any of them or not, governments around the world don’t and will act to counter their freedom to communicate.

        Threat to internet freedom problem identified.

        Suspects included: “terrorist networks”

        Recommend less freedom to solve freedom problem.

        Invoke “governments around the world”

        Governments are terrorist networks confirmed.

      • Bruce
        Posted 19/06/2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink |

        Ultimately no one can protect their intellectual fluff from ‘theft’. Once an idea is in the public sphere then you have a very short time to make money from it before it is copied. Be it the little person writing a song, Dyson and their cyclone vacuum cleaners or Apple and their patents on rectangular phones with rounded corners. If you want a constant income stream from your ideas then you need to have a constant stream of ideas and a mechanism to commercialise them quickly – a win win for yourself and society.

        You may also discover with a little research that the threat’s you list are run by governments for the purpose of demonstrating a problem that requires a pre considered solution. Do you really think Assange would be walking free if anyone really wanted him – Google extraordinary rendition to see what happens to people the authorities really want or consider Obama’s recent announcements on Stuxnet. Funnily enough from an intellectual property point of view such false flags and limited hangouts are an old idea that is reused time and time again because it has enduring value.

    2. Cam
      Posted 18/06/2012 at 1:13 pm | Permalink |

      The politicians that try to get these laws through are betraying the people of Australia. I believe that such attempts to erode our freedom and implement a digital police state are an act of treason. These people must be stopped.

    3. AnonymiseThis
      Posted 18/06/2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink |

      Renai,

      As an innovator of technology and producer of mass marketing mailouts on behalf of clients both here and overseas, I find this level of government scrutiny reprehensible. I am providing a service to the online community by merely marketing to users what they didn’t yet know they wanted nor asked for.

      I run a legitimate internet based business which finds itself under attack from many angles, including government regulation, fat cat industry (ISPs). What I find abhorrent is the eSecurity/ iCode from Australian ISPs feeling the need to proactively monitor activity which may or may not be related to my particular field. This kind of oversight, log collection and the attempt to lift the veil on my anonymity is worrying and is bordering on breaking the internet. Everyone agrees the Internet should be free from regulation which stifles innovation and prevents the growth of IT industries such as mine. I should be able to do what I want, when I want – completely anonymously, without the concern of anyone bothering me, now, or in 2 years when OzLogs have been analysed.

      The constant expansion of regulation, surveillance and industry intervention designed to stifle my business activities is disgraceful, and, following his previous comments and position, I am anticipating the full and unequivocal support from Senator Ludlam when I approach him to discuss this issue further. I will not stand idlly by while Big Money + Government prevent my business operation from flourishing.

    4. Jean W
      Posted 18/06/2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink |

      >If you think I’m kidding, I encourage you to search Delimiter for the word ‘OzLog’. Or perhaps ‘filter’. Also, ‘AFACT’, ‘piracy’

      It doesn’t seem like those are actually related.

      It seems more like a bunch of independent initiatives – a filter to block bad things (and Conroy seems happy with the scaled back interpol filters), AFACT wanting to boost profits, and the attorney-general wanting the internet to be more like the phone network.

      Only the paranoid would think there’s some kind of government control conspiracy.

      • Posted 18/06/2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink |

        “Only the paranoid would think there’s some kind of government control conspiracy.”

        You’ve obviously never dealt with the Attorney-General’s Department ;)

      • Joakal
        Posted 18/06/2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink |

        > Only the paranoid would think there’s some kind of government control conspiracy.

        Jean, I wish it was all a silly government conspiracy. The problem is that the anti-consumer copyright groups, ISPs, and governments are secretive about it. That’s right, world governments are secretive about it.

        After some research, I decided to create this project: https://auinternetaccess.wordpress.com/

        You can see that some of the articles are speculation because the government is redacting documents. Despite relating to piracy. NOT terrorism. NOT scams. But.. piracy issues. Even a grandparent can commit piracy and be set upon by foreign big companies. It’s ridiculous.

        How the government can stop the people turning against it? Be more transparent.

      • Harquebus
        Posted 18/06/2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink |

        Call me paranoid.

    5. the lone gunmen
      Posted 18/06/2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink |

      From the Greens who were instrumental in setting up the recent media enquiry, a witchhunt against free speech. A case of the kettle calling the pot black I say.

      • Stephen
        Posted 18/06/2012 at 5:14 pm | Permalink |

        Not a big greens supporter but seriously to use the term “Free Speech” in reference to Australia’s media is exceedingly naïve. The mainstream media (Murdoch-Telstra, Stokes, Rinehart) is hardly a collection of people pushing for the public good.
        If you look at the ratings penetration for mainstream media you’ll see the public have been deserting them in droves as they’ve pandered more and more to their corporate masters.

        It’s the very reason why new media like Delimiter has been able to establish new spaces as we leave behind vested interests marketing themselves as Free Speech.

        BTW – look at the testimony at the Leveson enquiry and the charges being laid against Murdoch journos and management if you think it’s a ‘witch hunt’, seems like there’s a lot of actual witches out there.

      • Hubert Cumberdale
        Posted 18/06/2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink |

        “From the Greens who were instrumental in setting up the recent media enquiry, a witchhunt against free speech. A case of the kettle calling the pot black I say.”

        You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

        Hope that helps.

    6. Harquebus
      Posted 18/06/2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink |

      I wholeheartedly agree. It does annoy me that the Greens can get a new tax up when they want.

      Those that sacrifice liberty for security are cowards. That’s coward spelled “L”, “A”, “B”, “O”, “R”.
      Freedom comes at a price and sometimes, it is the ultimate price.

    7. Harquebus
      Posted 18/06/2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink |

      http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Guidelines_for_Contacting_Senators_and_Members

      • Joakal
        Posted 18/06/2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink |

        You can do something interesting like me, send a curious grammatically-incorrect question (aka play dumb) on an issue. They’ll send some misleading information, playing on fallacies and biases. When you point out the problems and point out the evidence-based approach. You’ll curiously get no response.

        For example, to protect children from people spying on them, they want to spy on email (including children’s)?

        Some of the politicians only want to ‘represent’ those that don’t speak up. It’s almost as if they want to represent a TV generation.

        • Harquebus
          Posted 21/06/2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink |

          I am of the first television generation and yes, we are different. TV is one way street, I hope the next connected generation will do better.

    8. Trevor
      Posted 18/06/2012 at 9:38 pm | Permalink |

      “Only the paranoid would think there’s some kind of government control conspiracy”

      Really, Jean?

      I find it interesting the way people bandy the word ‘conspiracy’ about, using it aggressively to tarnish and devalue an argument they disagree with by insinuating that it’s based on paranoid delusion. But the word conspiracy simply means ‘the act of conspiring’ or ‘combined actions to bring about a desired result’. It has come to infer criminal, unlawful, treacherous or even ‘evil’ intent, and by applying it to the actions of a government it becomes easy to dismiss the accuser as delusional, for it is highly unlikely a democratic government could ever be truly treacherous or evil – incompetent and corrupt, sure, but ‘evil’ suggests a level of organisation and sophistication far beyond the ability of any collection of politicians in even reasonably democratic societies.

      However, when the collective actions of a government over a number of years demonstrate a consistent and coherent strategy, it is only the stupid and the naive who ignore it. Has the Australian government decided to become ‘evil masterminds for the enslavement of humanity’? No, of course not. The Australian government is, as usual, merely caving to the pressure of the wider international community… Which ultimately means it is caving to the commercial interests of multinational corporations and their controlling interests.

      Why commercial interests? Surely the national security of numerous sovereign nations such as the US, UK, China etc are more than enough to demand increased security measures such as this – there’s no need to drag corporate scaremongering into this? Well, yes, but a conclusion drawn from insufficient information is simply inaccurate, if not misguided or even misled. Refer to the history of corporate practice, privatisation and the ‘introduction’ (I prefer ‘enforcement’) of capitalism throughout the world over the past hundred years (you can go back 500 years for a more complete picture, but that’s not necessary to understand my point). The corporate, private enterprise commitment is to profit for its owners. Not only profit, but the continual growth of that profit. This interest is in direct opposition to the interests of people, of individuals, of citizens, of consumers. In essence, it is direct opposition to the interests of governments, which are merely the organisational arm of collective society, existing to ensure the greater health and wellbeing of the nation.

      But what happens when you divorce government from the interests of their citizenry, from the interests of their ‘constituents’? How would you do this, and why? Well, governments are made up of people, and if you ensure the wellbeing of those key people is no longer tied to the interests and predicament of the population at large, they can (and will) start to make decisions that benefit their benefactors, not the citizens of their nations, because their own personal wellbeing is now determined by the success of their benefactors – what happens to society at large is now an abstract academic curiosity, albeit one that must on the surface remain placated in order for the political establishment to retain the power they enjoy.

      Because we live in a capitalist society, the interests of those with the greatest wealth will be disproportionately represented in matters of state policy and lawmaking. Corporations want to make as much money from you as possible, which means not only enforcing their powers and ‘rights’, but extending them. Profit is, after all, merely a function of sales minus costs. To reduce costs you use the cheapest possible materials and labour with the most efficient (read: controllable) distribution model, while to increase sales revenue you can either increase your market share or increase the size of the market as a whole. Legislative changes are just one of numerous strategies to bring this about, with their own departments, budgets, goals and planning.

      The problem is, in order to combat these legislative pressures, consumers/citizens/individuals/voters need to oppose the legislative changes tabled by corporate interests while simultaneously proposing legislative changes of their own that protect individual freedoms and privacy and enshrine these rights in constitutionally protected laws. (Failure to propose opposing alternative legislation is nearly as bad as failing to mount opposition to the corporate friendly changes themselves, as a lack of strong legislative direction supporting the rights and freedoms of individuals will eventually lead to the gradual erosion of those same laws regardless, because lawmakers will seek a middle ground that will thus still favour corporate interests, just less so than if they went entirely unchallenged.) Such legislative opposition requires both tremendous funding and a cohesive strategy and voice, a situation that directly lends itself to the corporate model of a small number of very wealthy interests. The population at large are, by their very nature, extremely fragmented in opinion with no cohesive direction and as many conflicting voices as there are people. It is monumentally challenging to galvanise an entire society or people in a single direction with the intention of benefiting or protecting the rights of individuals, and even when this has been achieved historically, these few, inspiring events are followed by decades of legislative erosion of individual rights by corporate interests.

      Not only is this sort of debate healthy and in the national interest, it is long overdue. And in fact government -should- be considering legislation in this area – they should be seeking to enact laws explicitly protecting rights, freedoms and privacy of individuals not only from commercial harvesting, but from government snooping, fishing and trawling – communication and data for and about individuals should only be sought and collected where to not do so would explicitly and obviously pose a threat to the safety of its people (ie it must pose a clear and present danger).

      People aren’t perfect, and in this imperfect world many of the things we say and do may well be in error. Sometimes we learn from those mistakes, but in the process we may do or say things we’re not proud of, and we look back with a certain amount of regret. But those are -our- mistakes to make. We shouldn’t be scrutinised by government or the media or our boss for the things we have said, the opinions we’ve expressed or the mistakes we’ve made in the past. We shouldn’t be held up to a court of ether law or public opinion for our choice of food or television or sexual interest, because it is none of their @%#*(ing business. To do otherwise is to construct a society of fear, where no one dares utter a word out of place, where our thoughts and actions are stifled for fear of ridicule, economic or professional victimisation or perhaps criminal prosecution. Such a society is not free, healthy or productive, it is intellectually and culturally crippled.

      So yes, the government is following a clear and obvious policy here attempting to erode the already inadequate rights and freedoms of individuals in this country, and revealing it, discussing it and opposing it is not only sensible, sane, logical and reasonable, we choose to do nothing, collectively, at our peril.

    9. Resin
      Posted 19/06/2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink |

      apart from saying “no, that’s bad” to everything, has Ludlam actually got a policy on anything to do with the internet?

      if Ludlam thinks the current levels of piracy,internet facilitated crime, online child abuse material etc are perfectly acceptable and are being appropriately managed, why doens’t he just say that? ie. everything is ok, and there’s nothing to see here. Otherwise come up with an alternative. If you just say no to everything, you’re no better or worse than tony abbott.

      • Posted 19/06/2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink |

        +1

        In general, you’re right, the Greens do not yet have their own policies in these areas; I have asked Ludlam previously for a Greens policy on piracy and not yet received one.

        • Posted 19/06/2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink |

          I’ve also written to Scott and never had a response of any kind.
          In contrast I’ve written to Andrew Wilkie about unrelated matters and received a personal response from one of his team, and received relevant updates since.
          My earlier point about piracy was simply to say I think the political stuff that goes on via the web (like Wikileaks, Al Qaeda and Anonymous) is a much bigger trigger for loss of net freedoms than the entertainment industry. So even if you are pro filesharing, take your eyes off musicians and movie makers, and start worrying about online anarchists and political activism.
          Just on The Greens and piracy, they do have a very comprehensive (and for me, excellent) policy platform that seeks to properly fund The Arts.
          Also with this goal: artists’ intellectual property rights to be protected.
          I would be very disappointed if any of these policies were to radically change.

          • GongGav
            Posted 19/06/2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink |

            “artists’ intellectual property rights to be protected” — protected for who?

            We’ve sparred on this one a couple of times muso1, but for me its a genuine question and concern. If protected for the artist, by all means yes. If you mean the industry, no. Its the ART that needs to be protected, not the commercialisation of it.

            For too many years the music industry (read: the companies, not the artists) have been too concerned with making money for their own sakes rather than protect the artists and give them a fair portion of earnings. They push copyright laws further and further away from what they were intended to be, such as extending the length of time an IP stays out of the public domain, simply for their own gain.

            In todays world, the internet opens up so many possibilities for pushing an artist globally, and the companies are more than happy to do that, without giving back to the person responsible for the work in the first place. And that goes from the smallest artists to the biggest. They want that exposure, but dont want the rest of the freedoms that go along for the ride. Thats where piracy comes in – more people hear an artist, more are going to want to listen to them. Most have merit in one way or another.

            The add-on effect to that is that because the artists get more exposure, they can earn more from touring and live play, things the companies dont usually control. For the artist getting some exposure, THATS where they can make money.

            But the control that the entertainment industry wants to impose on people is a significant loss of freedom. In the US, its a loss of first amendment rights. Here, its a loss of privacy. Thats something NOT being driven by wikileaks, or terrorists, or Anonymous, but the MPAA, RIAA, and AFACT.

            And that is not about protecting the artist, its about protecting the profits made at the expense of those artists.

            • muso1
              Posted 20/06/2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink |

              Ask The Greens, I’m just quoting their official policy, but I presume copyright protection for artists.
              But your post perfectly illustrates the point i was making in my first post.
              You are concerned, nay, hot under the collar about the entertainment industry threatening to stifle your freedom on the web.
              In the meantime, both Google and Facebook have admitted their goal is to be the pre-eminent force on the web. You can’t sign up for Spotify without a Facebook account for example.
              Most of the major social media businesses already censor content so they can operate in profitable countries where freedom of speech norms do not match American standards.
              Western governments have acted to counter online activity of subversive elements, and the more Wikileaks embarrassments hurt them, and the more frequently Anonymous style groups shut down government departments and commercial websites, the more governments will tamper with net freedoms.
              My whole point is, you are buying the gumpf about entertainment media seeking to “destroy the internet”, while not watching the main game.

              • GongGav
                Posted 20/06/2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink |

                Fair enough. You misread me, but I see your point.

                I’m not hot under the collar, I’m annoyed. The entertainment industry doesnt have either their artists or the consumers best interests at heart, and are heavily influencing how law is being written. Anonymous and Wikileaks, for all the headlines they get, arent.

                Hollywood, with whatever name you want to attach to it (RIAA, MPAA, AFACT, etc) is throwing so much money at the lawmakers in the US plus giving them pre-written legislation. You cant tell me thats healthy.

                You’re right that Anonymous, Wikileaks, etc are an important thing to consider, and I dont ignore those issues. But right NOW, rights and freedoms are being eroded, and Hollywood is the group driving that erosion. SOPA and PIPA were two acts shot down by public opinion earlier this year, that were hand written by the entertainment conglomerate.

                Kim Dotcom, whether you think he’s guilty or not, has been subject to so many flagrant abuses of power by the US its ridiculous, and its driven by Hollywood. A British citizen was extradited to the US for hosting a website THEY didnt like.

                Didnt matter that the site was legal in Britain where it was hosted, and all the information was stored, he got extradited for the simple reason that the site was a .com extension. These are issues created by Hollywood, and are not healthy for the average person. At best, its censorship of the worst kind, at worst its a Nazi-like removal of personal rights.

                I’m wondering how you feel about them eroding those rights for THEIR gain, rather than the artists rights. Their actions have to raise alarms for even the most conservative of net users – the erosions are impacting everything you do online, and are being done without due thought on the repercussions, and just to appease a minority group who are seeking to protect their business model.

                Wikileaks and the other issues can be handled under current law. If they are crimes, act on them. Jury’s out on whether Wikileaks is a crime or not, but the others are so there are procedures in place.

                So please, dont get me wrong. I’m all for protecting the arts, really. I just dont like the sledgehammer being used in the name of doing so, when the reality is its for the companies profit margin, and nothing else.

                100 years ago the same thing happened when cars started to sell. The horse and buggy unions managed to get laws in place that slowed down the adoption of the new technology, purely in the interests of keeping their business model. History is repeating itself.

                • GongGav
                  Posted 20/06/2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink |

                  I DO come across as hot under the collar, dont I :)

                  The one liner for my position is that I disagree with private enterprise actively dictating sweeping change, particularly when their stance is so biased as it is with the MPAA, RIAA, and AFACT.

                  At the start, they demanded that other companies do all the work, yet they get the money from court cases. They bluffed the courts into doing their dirty work for them, then passed that dirty work onto the ISP’s. The ISP’s baulked at that.

                  Next step was to sieze websites they disagreed with. There are numerous examples of those seizures being incorrect, with the courts and Govt agencies in the US being the guinea pigs bluffed this time.

                  Then there is the Megaupload scenario. An international, who has had all his assets (illegally) siezed without even 1 charge being made against him, and denied basic legal rights seemingly to make his defence case so hard to mount that the US Govt, if they do get to extradite him, get an easy victory. For the benefit of these private companies…

                  THESE are what I am passionate about. There is simply too much bias to trust THEIR judgement, when the repercussions will impact on society for decades to come.

                  • Muso1
                    Posted 20/06/2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink |

                    “But right NOW, rights and freedoms are being eroded, and Hollywood is the group driving that erosion. ”

                    I strongly disagree.
                    Seriously, the RIAA and MPAA are NOTHING compared to Homeland Security, CIA, GCHQ (UK) etc, etc….
                    As I said, my main point is you’ve swallowed the decoy.

                    • GongGav
                      Posted 20/06/2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink |

                      I read up on this issue fairly extensively muso1, I’m more informed than the average punter. I see what homeland security does, the FBI, CIA, GCHQ, etc and am concerned, dont get me wrong. They are also issues.

                      But behind most of those are fair and valid reasons that I tend to agree with. I see where you’re coming from with those areas, and agree they arent something to be ignored but that doesnt mean what the MPAA/RIAA/AFACT groups are doing is any less important an issue.

                      We should not be in a position where private companies dictate laws. Not when they have such a clear bias on the outcome. This is never a good idea. And this is where the Greens are coming from when they say our internet freedoms are being eroded.

                      Many of the changes being made are being made by organisations with a vested interest in the outcome. No different to what was tried earlier this year with SOPA/PIPA, and whats also happening with ACTA at the moment as well. So many restrictions of online freedoms are being driven by the copyright moguls, and that HAS to be a concern.

                      If worrying about that means you think I’ve swallowed the decoy, so be it. I havent, but your entitled to think so.

    10. Posted 19/06/2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink |

      I’ve got a list of current bills before the parliament that are relevant to online rights at http://www.geordieguy.com/2012/05/upcoming-bill-round-up/

      It includes for example the Greens bill to make it an offence to advertise certain things online.

    11. Robert
      Posted 19/06/2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink |

      We need a Bill of Rights, perhaps modeled on the US one, but carefully modified to truly represent Australia. We certainly don’t want “the right to bear arms”.

      • Duke
        Posted 19/06/2012 at 6:50 pm | Permalink |

        Hell no, next thing you know shooters will be firing up all over our national parks… no…wait…

    12. Posted 20/06/2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink |

      I beleive that a one world socialist goverenment is coming and to bring in an authoritarian world state the internet freedom must be eroded. This is so that those in control can manipulate the world and keep people down who speak out on what this governement wants to keep quite on.

      This is coming to the whole world, follow me on my blog and you will see where I put comments on articles relatating to this.

      johnsunol.blogspot.com

    13. Graham
      Posted 10/07/2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink |

      Persuade me to close it COMPLETELY :)




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