Liberal Party member Chris Abood on the internet blacklist

23 03 2009

From his recent Online Opinion piece:

So how does one get blacklisted?

Quite easily.

There are two ways to end up on the blacklist, either through direct channels or inadvertently. Currently, if I come across a website that I do not approve of either because I believe it is illegal or does not suit my ideological bent, I can make a complaint to the ACMA. In order to make a complaint, I must be an Australian resident or a company that carries on activities in Australia, provide the internet address and/or sufficient access details to enable ACMA to access the online content and provide reasons as to why I believe the online content is prohibited. The ACMA will then make a determination as to whether that site is added to the blacklist. It is not clear how the ACMA makes this determination. It has also been reported that other bodies such as filter software companies can also add websites to the blacklist. It is not clear how this is policed.

So how does one inadvertently end up on the list? Imagine that Big Buba from the Buba crime syndicate published a websites called However this is a front for an illegal website publishing unsavoury pictures. The site is found, a complaint made to ACMA and rightly added to the blacklist. A few weeks later, Big Buba closes down the site and moves to a new domain called to try and keep ahead of the authorities. This site is also added to the blacklist and a few weeks later the site moves again and again.

Meanwhile, Jan who has been working for a large multi-national for 20 years is called into her manager’s office and told that she is being made redundant. With her large redundancy cheque, she decides to pursue her dream of running a tour business. She calls her business Friendly Tours and finds that the domain name is available. She registers the domain name and has a nice website built.

Jim, a dentist, decides to have a website built for his practice. His Internet Service Provider assigns his domain to an IP address that was previously occupied by Both Jim and Jan are friends of mine. I offer to help them increase their Google rankings by linking to their sites through my website, my blog and my Facebook page.

A few weeks go by and Jim and Jan start getting emails from people saying they cannot access their websites. They don’t know why. They try to contact me for an explanation but cannot get hold of me. That is because I am in court being fined $11,000 a day for linking to a banned site. The people who emailed Jim and Jan are also in court facing jail terms of ten years for trying to access a site contained on the blacklist.

This blacklist is to form the backbone of the government’s mandatory filtering regime. The leaked list apparently contains 2,395 websites. The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy wants to expand this to 10,000 websites. Will the ACMA be under pressure to find sites, any sites, to reach this number? The legitimacy of the blacklist will always be in question while owners of websites on the blacklist have no means of recourse especially if that site is legitimate.

Something I am curious about is whether this policy is unanimously supported or even popular among members of the ALP. If not, what are dissenting ALP members doing about it?

March in March

20 03 2009

I will be here in spirit:


March in March is an upbeat event to give people an opportunity stand up, be heard, and hold the government accountable for their plans of forcing mandatory censorship on a very unwilling public.

With a mix of live entertainment of bands and DJs, speakers from all sides of the political spectrum and other special guests, the day will be topped off with the annual Canberran Skyfire Festival, just for us … okay, maybe not. [. . .]


Parliament House side of Federation Mall, Canberra


1:00 PM 21st of March, 2009

(Press conference at 11:00 AM)


The DLC have been organising rallies in capital cities for the past three months raising awareness as to the governments plans to censor the internet and the negative impact involved.

This is only the tip of the wedge of censorship being driven into our society by a vocal minority, as they say, the best time to defend your freedom is while you still have it.

While Senators change their minds daily, and the media report that the filter will go ahead, or won’t go ahead almost as regularly–the fact remains–this issue will not be put to bed unless Australians defend their democracy against the very ideology of censorship culture.

I’m not comfortable with the use of the sneer term “vocal minority.” For one thing, it misses the point: the clean feed is a bad thing regardless of whether it is advocated by a minority or a majority. But it also reeks of the kind of demagoguery that Conroy wields against those who oppose mandatory filtering: “If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.” (In other words, if you oppose the Government’s plan, you must love watching kiddie porn.) We are all minorities, insofar as we are all individuals, whose rights and interests (including freedom of speech) are supposed to be defended against majoritarian tyranny—that is what has hitherto defined us as a robust liberal democracy.

And it comes down to this. In one of the world’s so-called robust liberal democracies, the Government equates free speech advocacy with pederasty. That is—and should be—nothing short of alarming.

Wikileaks, bitches

19 03 2009


“The first rule of censorship is that you cannot talk about censorship.” (Wikileaks, March 16 2009)

Proudly brought to you by the Australian Federal Labor Government, stifling free speech since 2007.

(HT: Homosecular Gaytheist)

UPDATE from ABC News Online:

Internet filter blacklist leaked on web

The communication regulator’s blacklist of banned internet sites has apparently been leaked, prompting an internet advocacy group to accuse the Government of making it easy to access child pornography. Read the rest of this entry »

Think of the children

18 01 2009

Three girls in Pennsylvania ranging in age from 14 to 15 took nude or semi-nude photographs of themselves with their mobile phones, and sent them to three of their teenaged friends. All six have been brought up on child pornography charges.

In the Pennsylvania case, a school official seized the phone of one of the boys after he was caught using it during school hours in violation of a school rule, according to local police Capt. George Seranko. The official found the picture on the phone, and after some interrogation, discovered that two other girls had also e-mailed photos of themselves in the nude to friends. That’s when the school called police, who obtained search warrants to seize the phones and examine them. Police showed the images to the local district attorney, who recommended they bring charges.Seranko said the images “weren’t just breasts; they showed [gasp] female anatomy.” Read the rest of this entry »

Short story: the Marquis de Sade’s "Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man"

25 06 2007

This is actually a dialogue rather than a story. A priest is giving the last rites to a dying man who repents that he has not taken full advantage of the fact that he was “created by Nature with the keenest appetites and the strongest of passions and was put on this earth with the sole purpose of placating both by surrendering to them.” The dying man then proceeds to state his case for atheism.

Despite the fact that the dying man seems not to have heard of the is-ought fallacy, he makes some good arguments that resonate well with current debates. His opponent is probably an unfair strawman, but I have heard a Christian apologist in a recent debate with Christopher Hitchens advance at least one of the priest’s counter-arguments–the notion that the world has been created “broken” as an answer to the problem of evil.

The dialogue is far too long to reproduce here, so I’ll just provide a link to the PDF:

“Dialogue Between a Priest and a Dying Man”

Of course, more than just atheists have been influenced by de Sade’s ideas:

The Wonderful World of Magical Thinking XIX

11 06 2007
Image via Pharyngula

The week in fundie . . .

  1. Moderate Liberals attempt to block Religious Right putsch in Sydney seat of Mitchell. (Brisbane Times)
  2. A 16-year-old female gang-rape victim “may well have been glad of the attention,” according to one of her attacker’s defence lawyer. The lawyer suggested that the victim was asking for it because of her “provocative” clothing and the fact that she was overweight at the time of the assault. Incidentally, this happened in London, not Saudi Arabia. (Via Magic Bellybutton.)
  3. Israeli Knesset moves to ban gay pride parades. (Via Dispatches From the Culture Wars)
  4. Theocracy comes to West Papua. (Via Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion)
  5. The Talibanization of Iraq“–the deterioration of women’s rights in the post-Saddam era. (Assyrian International News Agency)
  6. Stoning defended in Iran by Judiciary Chief Advisor (National Council of Resistance of Iran)
  7. Crowds stone gay rights marchers in Bucharest. (SMH)

Just to make it worth your while, here’s Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot.”

The Wonderful World of Magical Thinking XV

13 05 2007

The week in fundie:

  1. Christian students cry “persecution!” because they’re not allowed to abuse homosexuals at their high school. (via Pharyngula)
  2. Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort claim that they can prove God’s existence without the Bible . . . by referring to the Ten Commandments. Kirk and Ray: YOU FAIL. (See the unedited Nightline debate between Cameron/Comfort and the Rational Response Squad here, and see also the recap by FriendlyAtheist)
  3. Pope Benedict threatens to excommunicate Catholic politicians who don’t force their religious beliefs regarding abortion on the populace. (Austin Cline)
  4. Meet Jesus’ favourite Congresswoman. (via Pharyngula)
  5. School bus driver fired for gay personal ad. (Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
  6. Pakistan’s legislature considers a bill to execute people for leaving Islam. (Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
  7. WorldNetDaily: “STARBUCKS HATES GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” (via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
  8. UPDATE: Hundreds of thousands of homophobes attend gay hate rally in Rome.

The Wonderful World of Magical Thinking XIV

6 05 2007

The week in fundie:

The Wonderful World of Magical Thinking XIII

29 04 2007

The week in fundie:

Five Public Opinions is banned in China

28 04 2007

China: free market good;
political freedom bad:
Bush USA?

Sorry–a commenter named Uspace who blogs in Senryu and Tanka inspired me to blog in haiku about the fact that Five Public Opinions is banned in China.

Milton Friedman once said that “the free market is the only mechanism that has ever been discovered for achieving participatory democracy.” Milton Friedman was wrong, as the free-market-loving yet participatory-democracy-hating China demonstrates.

Anyway, you can test whether your own site is blocked at Great Firewall of China.

Oh, yeah–the point of my haiku? China’s combination of capitalism and authoritarianism makes it seem (ironically) very right-wing–in a Bush/Howard conservative kind of way.

(Via Basil’s Blog)