Australian Government Targets Gamers

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Stephen Conroy the Australian Communications Minister, has been nominated by the British ISP industry for its annual “internet villain” award. Senator Conroy was nominated for the annual internet villain award “for continuing to promote network-level blocking despite significant national and international opposition”.

He is really living up to this title as this week it has become apparent that the Government has now set its sights on gamers, promising to use its internet censorship regime to block websites hosting and selling video games that are not suitable for 15 year olds. Australia is the only developed country without an R18+ classification for games, meaning any titles that do not meet the MA15+ standard – such as those with excessive violence or sexual content – are simply banned from sale by the Classification Board, unless they are modified to remove the offending content. This is incredibly backward in my opinion, Austalia should be ploughing on and making steps to remedy this problem rather than embracing some fascist censorship regime.

The average age of gamers is 30 in Australia, according to research commissioned by the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, this means that even Australians who are aged above 15 and want to obtain the adult-level games online will be unable to do so.

Mark Newton, an ISP engineer and internet filtering critic, said the move to extend the filtering to computer games would place a cloud over online-only games such as World of Warcraft and Second Life, which aren’t classified in Australia due to their online nature  www.smh.com.au

UK ISPs fight back over licensing of legal content

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The UK creative industries have demanded that ISPs start disconnecting users accused of repeated online copyright infringement. Ars Technica spoke to the ISPA earlier this week:

the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) said that it agreed with creative industry calls for “the safe and secure delivery of legal content.” Getting access to this content remains difficult, though, and ISPA notes that “Internet companies remain extremely frustrated by the ongoing difficulties in securing licensing that is needed to offer consumers legal alternatives through new models of online content distribution. It is our view that legislation on enforcement should only be introduced on the condition that the rights holder industry commits to significant licensing reform.”

The ISPA sends a clear message that the rights holders should do a better job of licensing legal content, instead of expecting them to act as police for the music and film industry.

Brisbane internet censorship protest

Went to the Brisbane internet censorship protest yesterday, the video below from the ABC says that there was around 200 people there. It was a very hot sunny day. Overall I think everyone had a good time, the speakers were good and the crowd was getting behind them, occasionally people made internet geek jokes, it was cool to be around such a large crowd that actually get those jokes. Good work by the volunteers and protesters. I took a whole bunch of photos you can see below, hopefully people will add comments to those photos so we get a better idea of whos who. Thanks Jack for getting involved in the protest and helping with the photos. Some of the signs were funny, my favourites are the lolcats, fail whale, leet speak and of course don’t censor my dofollow links.

One of the more serious speakers was Kieran Salsone , he gave a good short talk, and asked who was a member of the EFA, only one person raised their hand and then Kieran said something like “ok just one, well the rest of you may as well go home” and also said something about playing with the big boys. He really did resemble tom cruise in tropic thunder which kind of made me chuckle. I do know he was very serious and passionate about what he does, when he stepped down after his talk you could see his adrenaline pumping. Anyway I’ll join the EFA, its only $41 a year for individuals, they could learn a few things from the FSF and Bradley Kuhn about how to increase their membership, I guess thats if they’re interested in getting more support from “small fry” people like me.

The only other thing I did was print some flyers on banner vinyl and gave them to Varg Narseth from DLC. They are pretty much the best quality stickers you can get so it was nice to contribute something to those guys.

They say a picture tells a thousand words so check out my 31000 words below, I’m sure a lot of academics wished it worked like that.

Also check out Janet Hawtins Designs.

Edit: I’ve updated this article thanks to comments on flickr and this post. Thank you everyone for helping me piece this together.

33 Second video featuring David Jackmanson speaking then looking around at the crowd early in the day.

ABC Brisbane — ‘Net Censorship Protest

Check out this article “Hands off our internet, say free-speech protesters” in the brisbane times.

Act Now! Stop Censorship in Australia

On Saturday the 13th of December throughout Australia, activists will take to the streets to demonstrate against the governments proposed censorship of the Internet.

The Electronic Freedom Project, which describes itself as “dedicated to protecting the freedoms of Australians on-line”, is staging a protest at Sydney’s Town Hall Square on 13 December, starting at 12pm.

Protests will also be held at Brisbane Square, Brisbane at 11am; State Library, Melbourne at 12pm; Parliament House, Adelaide at 12pm; Stirling Gardens, Perth at 12pm; and Parliament Lawns, Hobart at 11am.

I implore anyone reading this to get up from behind your computer screen and stand up and be counted on saturday, its one thing to write about how we all find this filter proposal to be so ludicrous but it is imperative for all Australians to act now!

I was reading Bill Kerr’s blog earlier and it really helped to clarify in my mind just why the filter is so very wrong for Australia, and indeed any nation whom values its freedom of speech.

So once again I say…when Saturday comes, rise to your feet, get out from behind your computer and fight for the rights which you may soon lose.

GetUp!

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GetUp is an independent community advocacy organisation which aims to give every Australian a voice with regards to political and governmental issues.

They have started an online petition ‘Save The Net’ to try and put a stop to the proposed internet filter, if you want to have your say then here is your chance.

Filter Fiasco

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Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is determined to push on with his plans to force Internet Service Providers to censor the Internet for all Australians. This clean-feed will be mandatory in all homes and schools across the country.

The filter will supposedly censor material that is “harmful and inappropriate” for children according to the government. It seems to me that the child porn angle is a convenient means of testing the process of furthering state control. Those whom dare to oppose these moves will be labelled as against promoting child safety.  And if the proposed measures are enforced, the means is put in place for the government to limit dissemination of any information that it does not approve of.

The protection for children is minor at best, an illusion at worst. The clean-feed does nothing to protect children from real threats like cyber-bullying, online sexual predators, viruses, or the theft of personal information. It may provide a false sense of security to parents, reducing effective monitoring of their children’s online activities.   nocleanfeed.com

According to the goverments own reports these measures could slow Internet access down by up to 80%, and up to 10,000 sites a month could be wrongly blocked using even the most accurate software. If this filter happens it will be an incredibly ill-informed move on the part of the government and disastrous for Australians who value free speech.

It seems to me that the huge amounts of money about to be squandered on this would be better spent on educating children and families about the possible dangers online.