Monday, December 1, 2008

Aussie Internet Censorship: repression worse than Iran starts before Christmas

Australian web users are on a countdown to a nation-wide go-slow in online services that will cripple the Internet in this country: broadband will slow down to the speed of a dial-up, and dial-ups (which are the norm in rural areas) will be dead in the water --

You guessed: the Australian Labor Government's Internet filtering plan is going ahead, and will begin by Christmas 2008.

I wrote about it here: and here: and here: ...

...and from my personal perspective, it's a situation that is not just serious, it's critical.

Without the speed of a broadband connection, most of the Internet will be inaccessible from downunder. Blogging will be next to impossible. Blogging with images WILL be impossible. Publishing with Lulu and CreateSpace will be utterly impossible, due to the upload times for large files, and the monstrous "routines" that make the pages sloooow to load even over the best broadband you can get down here. YouTube? Forget it. Gmail or Hotmail? Maybe. CNN and Huffington Post? Nope: too many pics and vids. Zazzle? Out of the question.

I'll continue to blog as long as I can, but the digital novels I've been considering will have to go on the back burner at this time, for one simple reason. It's three weeks till Christmas, and if I'm 75pp into a vast novel which is being issued via blog posts, with maybe 500 readers desperate for the next part, and I suddenly lose the ability to post -- few people overseas will know enough to rip into the Australian Government about it: Keegan will get the blame.

As far as I can see, it would be much better to wait a while and see how things go. We have a suspicion that the "digital economy" will virtually collapse ... which probably means that the government will have to be more reasonable, since it's in the process of ruining people -- crashing businesses and making jobs go away.

The digital economy will crash like this:

Aussies won't be able to shop online, perhaps won't even be able to pay bills online -- secure servers are too slow to be used over connections with the speed of a dial-up. With broadband running at just 13% of its usual speed, folks with casual broadband accounts will cancel those accounts. Business that depend on selling MP3 downloads and/or videos (or advertising on the side of same) will be history. Companies like Quickflicks (the local version of Netflicks) will suffer, since we'll time out before we can load a single page. The major online services which make Optus Broadband so attractive will be useless. (This is before you even get to the fact that tens of millions of legitimate web pages will vanish, intercepted by the filters.) What about live-feeds of news, sports, weather? Gone. How about ebook stores, which are literally the last places where writers can sell their books these days, what with the collapse of the traditional book industry? Gone. With the demise of all of the above services, online advertising ceases to be either effective or lucrative. The fallout will hit ad servers, affiliate schemes ...not to mention online publishers, writers, artists, photographers, musicians, who sell their wares off their own webpages. When enough subscribers cancel their ISP accounts, the next casualties will be the ISPs -- declaring bankrupt en masse. Then, the class actions as users sue them for breach of contract. Teleconferencing via the Internet? Forget it. Webcam? It's a joke. Google Earth? Not a chance.

Meanwhile, the child p*rn*graphy which is at the root of all this, will continue to thrive. Where? As hard copies, on 20c CD-Roms which are retailed or shared via email newsletters among enthusiasts. There is no way to stop a vice in which hundreds of thousands of adults participate. You've only got to look at drug abuse, and the trillions that have been spent to stop it in the last 40 years or so. Or look at alcohol abuse; or the junk food industry which has contributed big time to making the US and Australia fatter, per capita, than one would every have imagined possible. It has been proved time and again that vice is not something that can be stopped via censorship and legislation. It's been tried. It doesn't work.

However, the Australian Government is absolutely bloody determined to "do the Christian thing" and get the Internet filtering in place by Christmas 2008, and bugger the on line community. Who cares whose business is ruined, who's suddenly unemployed?

At least, that's what they think now. Let's take another look in January or February and see where the fallout lands. Our guess is that it'll dump itself, ten meters thick, on Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

When Prime Minister Kevin Rudd sees the extent of the mess, the degree of carnage he has caused, he'll have to get his head out of the church, put away his Bible, and stop praying for long enough to take an interest in the business community. He'll have to look past the children who are supposed to be stumbling into pornography online (and apparently there's damned little evidence of it); he'll have to ask (belatedly, but better late than never) why the moronic, pea-brained parents of these children are not running Net Nanny. He'll have to make it ILLEGAL to even have a computer in the same house as a child, if the machine is not equipped with Net Nanny or similar. He'll have to make it a prisonable offence for school computers to be made available without Net Nanny -- and the same for churches

And then ... when parents, preachers and teachers are made responsible at law for the children they profess to love so much, and yet whom they abuse so casually and with such impunity ... then the Internet can get back to normal and business can resume.

Why don't they do this instead of putting on the crippling filtering? No one knows. We don't know, because the government won't respond to critics of their criminally stupid system.

Want the whole story? Here it is, on The Age:

and if you really want to shake your head over this:,239029558,339281500,00.htm (how a 16 year old broke the filter in 30 minutes)

So ... I'll blog and publish as long as possible, but if I disappear around Christmas time, well, you'll know why. We'll see what happens next.


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