Category Archives: digital rights

First published in ‘A Secret Australia,’ December 2020 Every act of repression offers a choice…

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FIRST PUBLISHED AT JUNKEE.COM   I’d have never made it as a journalist. The tyranny…

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It won’t make the front page but on 30 March, Labor’s deputy leader Tanya Plibersek quietly caved in on one of the most invasive of recent proposals for mass surveillance in Australia.

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11 February 2014: around the globe more than 6000 websites, with user groups ranging from sub-niche to hundreds of millions, are blacked out today. The cause is serious: government surveillance overkill that compromises privacy, the rule of law, journalism and democracy itself.

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“We don’t discuss intelligence matters,” Australia’s bewildered Prime Minister told the media again this morning, making him the only person left on earth not discussing intelligence matters. Finally, seven months after the fuse was lit, the scandal of the US National Security Agency surveillance state has finally detonated in Australia.

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netSenate Estimates committees are my favourite parliamentary obscurity, a thrice-yearly ritual of tense cross-examination and hideous boredom that runs a ragged cross-section through the state of the Australian Government in all its banal and ominous glory.

Nearly every part of these hearings can be of interest, but for a number of reasons I have always got the most out of exploring the poorly mapped intersection of communications, surveillance, censorship and national security policy.

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Couple of weeks ago I dipped a toe in the wilds of Reddit for the first time, hosting an Ask Me Anything for an hour and a half after Parliament had risen for the night

(The thread is here http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1edbxj/i_am_scott_ludlam_australian_greens_senator_and/)

There is always something faintly intimidating about finding your way in a new social network, particularly one that’s been around as long as Reddit. Unique social customs, taboos and pitfalls have evolved that you only really discover by lurking for a bit and then accidentally stumbling into them when you finally do start to play.

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Web-based financial data visualisation

openeconomy-banner-imageThis week is budget week, an annual ritual which seizes Canberra as the tail end of Autumn begins to give way to the sharp, beautiful winters of the capital. The gravity-well around which this chaos of Ministers, lobbyists, journalists and interest groups is orbiting, is a dense set of documents which set out the nation’s finances for the next four years.

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Another chapter has opened on the internet filtering debate in Australia. You might recall a scrappy and quite effective campaign that raged from 2007 to 2010 against a Government proposal to force ISPs to block the somewhat arbitrary ‘Refused Classification’ list in Australia. On the eve of the last election, the campaign had become strong enough that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy dodged sideways and announced the issue would instead be studied by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), effectively taking it off the table for the 2010 election.

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By now, anyone following the extraordinary twists in the WikiLeaks story will have heard the…

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