Category Archives: digital rights

Midnight, December 31 2011. Fireworks lit up world capitals timezone by timezone. The cheerful familiarity of the Sydney Harbour Bridge passing the pyrotechnic baton to Taipei; the Burj Dubai; the London Eye; a packed Times Square. No matter where you were that night, maybe you missed the news that at while nobody was watching, US President Barack Obama was signing the 2012 National Defence Acquisition Act (NDAA) into law.

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No-one was celebrating when it became apparent that the dense hour of argument and counter argument in the vaulted courtroom number 4 in London had resulted in a further stay of extradition for WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange.

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This has been a fascinating year for those who take an interest in telecommunications issues. The heavily politicised technology and infrastructure debate surrounding the rollout of the National Broadband Network has obscured some of the deeper and more interesting issues, which in 2011 began to come to the fore.

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“It is becoming unprecedentedly difficult for anyone, anyone at all, to keep a secret. In the age of the leak and the blog, of evidence extraction and link discovery, truths will either out or be outed, later if not sooner.

“This is something I would bring to the attention of every diplomat, politician and corporate leader: the future, eventually, will find you out. The future, wielding unimaginable tools of transparency, will have its way with you. In the end, you will be seen to have done that which you did.”

~ William Gibson, “The Road to Oceania”, 2003

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“Does it worry you that you don’t talk any kind of sense?”
~ Agda, the Restaurant at the end of the Universe

Every couple of months we get the opportunity to hold a discussion directly, on the record, with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and the senior officials responsible for implementing the Government’s mandatory net filter scheme (#nocleanfeed, #openinternet). These opportunities come about as a result of the Senate Estimates Committee process which provides a valuable, if somewhat warped, window into the world of the Australian public service.

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Net filtering got a run in senate question time again yesterday. See if you can spot the difference:

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