Labor’s Web-Filter Folly

I still believe the web-filter is never going to see the light of day. But, in the meantime, we’re setting a Western precedent so that every questionable government in the world can justify their draconian censorship schemes.

‘Web filter shelved during review of RC material’/communications-minister-stephen-conroy-shelves-controversial-plan-to-censor-the-internet/story-e6frfro0-1225889790995

‘Has Conroy just rolled on the net filter?’

‘Porn ban on net and mobiles mulled by South Africa’

10 July, 2010

Eco Terrorist Paranoia

Nano particle

What is eco-anarchist group Il Silvestre’s problem with nanotechnology? I guess it sounds pretty scary to them. What do they fear, a nano-bot take over? But this technology is very different to that.

We’ve already had the microscopic technological revolution, which allowed advanced computer electronics and other things. Nanotechnology simply allows us to view and manufacture technology at an even smaller scale. It’s the next logical step.

It covers a whole range of things, such as medications and chemicals. There are all kinds of applications. I really don’t know what there is to be paranoid about. It’s essentially what we’ve already been doing, except at a smaller scale.

There was a recent case concerning nano particles in sunscreen lotion. The concern was whether it had particles that were too small, such as zinc, which helps in reflectivity and protecting skin.

It was feared that the nano particles would not simply be absorbed into the skin but get into other internal organs. This is mainly theoretical, however, and is the only real thing to worry about at the moment.

“The apparent attack is believed to be part of a new co-ordinated wave of eco-terror on the continent. The IBM site is due to be opened next year and will be the most advanced centre for nano- and biological scientific research in Europe.

According to reports, the eco anarchists Il Silvestre are opposed to all forms of nanotechnology. The group was formed in Tuscany and is considered by some to be one of the rising “eco-terror” groups in Europe, with a rigid cell structure, access to explosives, and a membership that supposedly has no qualms about killing to achieve its goals.”

‘Eco anarchists: A new breed of terrorist?’

“State of Fear is a 2004 techno-thriller novel by Michael Crichton concerning eco-terrorists who attempt mass murder to support their views.”

‘State of Fear’

Crichton’s novel Prey has more to do with this topic than State of Fear. Though personally, I think SoF is the better book.

“Prey is a novel by Michael Crichton based on a nano-robotic threat to human-kind, first published in hardcover in November 2002 and as a paperback in November 2003 by HarperCollins. Like Jurassic Park, the novel serves as a cautionary tale about developments in science and technology; in this case, nanotechnology.”

‘Prey (novel)’

21 May, 2010

The Digital Economy Act 2010 (UK)

Bowman disconnects HAL 9000

The UK media have been too distracted by the election campaign to care about this new law, which threatens British privacy and human rights. Labour rushed it through parliament with virtually no scrutiny or debate, knowing that the Tories and Liberal-Democrats would not want to deal with anything controversial before the election.

“What is the Digital Economy Act?

The Digital Economy Act is a newly passed piece of British legislation that is meant to protect copyright online and increase regulation and control of the way people use the Internet.

What can you do about this?

Ask your candidates whether they oppose the Act. If your MP didn’t bother to vote, ask why. Given the important implications this legislation has, it’s vital that politicians make their position on the issue clear. E-mail your candidates directly using this tool:

Inform your friends about the implications of the Act and the way it threats civil liberties and the future of Internet use.

Join the Open Rights Group’s Action e-mail list. This will keep you informed on further developments and give practical advice on how you can protest against the Digital Economy Act:

How did it happen?

• The entertainment industry is refusing to adapt to new models, clinging to obsolete 20th Century thinking.
• The Bill was drafted by unelected officials after lobbying from the entertainment industry.
• It was passed in a hurry during the Parliamentary “wash up” process without full scrutiny.

Why should you be worried?

• Websites will be blocked for alleged copyright infringement.
• Families accused of sharing copyrighted files will be disconnected without trial. They will have to pay to appeal.
• Even if you don’t live in the UK, it sets a worrying precedent for other countries to follow suit.

Disconnection or “technical measures” like bandwidth throttling will kick in if file sharing does not drop by an incredible 70%. There are no alternative punishments to disconnection, no matter what the damage it will cause, and there is no statutory limit on the length of these disconnections, called, in the weasel words of the Act, “temporary account suspension”.

Despite thousands of letters of concern and a petition with over 35,000 signatures of protest, the Bill was rushed through in the final days of parliament during the “wash up process” – it was not given the full scrutiny that it deserved.

This is a piece of legislation that gives potentially unlimited power to unelected officials, and assumes guilt on the part of those accused of copyright infringement. We can expect the industry lobbies to be out in force to roll back our human right to freedom of expression in the name of copyright very, very soon.

What’s happening now?

Now that the Bill has been passed and the election is underway, candidates from all the main parties are keen to distance themselves from it. They admit that there are serious concerns and that the Bill did not receive the scrutiny and debate it deserves.”

‘Digital Economy Act 2010’

‘Open Rights Group’

30 April, 2010

Let’s Filter Stephen Conroy!

Fairfax Media’s interview of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is compulsory viewing. Conroy’s arguments for Internet censorship are like something out of ABC’s political satire ‘The Hollowmen’!

I’ve said all I need to say on this subject in my February 3, 2009 entry. But again, I’m not in the least concerned for myself, as I can get around this filter quite easily. It’s the facts of the case that make it so unjustified:

a.) The filter will not protect children from inappropriate material.
b.) The filter will not prevent criminals from accessing and distributing child sexual abuse material.
c.) The filter will block access to material that is currently legal to possess and view.
d.) The filter will slow down the internet.

‘Internet’s not special, says communications minister’

‘Electronic Frontiers Australia: Open Internet’

‘The Hollowmen’

2 April, 2010

Rudd’s Internet Filtering System

The Internet filtering system will prove to be totally unworkable and will ultimately be dumped. For people who are technically skilled, people who know how to use computers, this censorship is going to be pathetically easy to defeat. It will also slow things down for the majority and potentially stifle dissent.

An absurd comment came from Stephen Conroy during Christmas, that the government could filter peer-to-peer networks as well as the Internet. There is just NO WAY you can filter peer-to-peer networks! The music industry can’t even snoop properly on illegal users, and that’s even before they use encryption. The reality is that governments can’t know what people are doing (in democracies at least).

The fact is that peer-to-peer networks use thousands of servers from around the world, so governments don’t know what to filter. And even if they did, Illegal users would use encryption, such as an SSH connection using freeware. So what does Conroy suggest? Crack the top 256 bit encryption?

The only way to stop it is to cut off all ports. You allow it, or you block all ports from the ISP level. But then people would simply use fake ISPs. What this all means is that people will always find a way around such measures, like port forwarding programs, and if they want to do something illegal – they will. You cannot stop them.

Is it really worth punishing the majority of people with slower Internet speeds (as much as 87% slower!), and inadvertently blocking them from legitimate content just because of a small minority?

Lets look at one of Labor’s primary arguments “protecting children”.

“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”   ~ Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

1. X is good for children
2. Anything good for children is good
3. Therefore, X is good

I think Labor is using this argument to stifle any criticism. We’d all like to be free from bad content, and to keep our children free from it. But no other western society has introduced such a scheme – and for the reasons I’ve outlined.

Labor’s its own worst enemy on this issue. It’s interesting really, because Kevin Rudd is usually keen to be on the populist side of an issue, but on this one he’s proving that having to back-down on something is an even greater fear for him than doing something unpopular. If it does actually get implemented, I’ll get one of those US based services that lets you access the Internet through US-based servers, hence with no censorship.

3 February, 2009