Friday, July 13, 2012

Hey pimping bludging Blogotariat, what's your views on internet privacy?

(Above: the federal government issues a paper for discussion. Please discuss. And if you want to cop the pdfs that show you the entire paper, and the government's reasons for censoring it, head off here, or here and here in pdf form).

Bernard Keane asks the perfectly reasonable question Why has the Right gone missing on the surveillance state?

If News Ltd and its dimwit spear-carriers like Janet Albrechtsen are to be believed, the proposals arising from the Convergence Review and the Finkelstein Inquiry are only one step short of Soviet re-education camps. Yet Labor wheels out a real threat to free speech far more sinister than a mere public interest test — our intelligence agencies, after all, have a sterling record of spying on journalists — and… nothing. How about the Institue of Public Affairs, who can normally be relied on to stand up free speech and attack regulatory overreach… or for that matter regulatory reach full stop? Not a squeak.

Oops, if you follow the Keane link, right at the moment you cop this hack message:

Talk about irony and freedom on the web, or what?

Never mind, it's easy enough to do, and easy enough to fix, so back to answering the Keane question.

The explanation for the Labor party is simple, in that it's more of Senator Stephen Conroy's "lo, behold, I have seen the future, and it is China, and let's have a great big bloody filter that censors everything on the internet, and while we're at it, why not have the right to trawl and ferret and fiddle and rifle through any private details to be found on the tubes". Look at what those nasty hacktivists get up to!

The proposals to start wiretapping social media use, store your data, control communications infrastructure and lock you up when you won’t cough up the password to your laptop or phone are classic War On The Internet measures.

The Labor party has always been inclined to social controls, and when it inherited the Howard government's activities in this area, all it sought to do was extend them further.

So far, so Conroy predictable.

The response of the right wing commentariat is more interesting. There's Kim Williams yabbering on about a High Court challenge to fight media censorship (here), but don't go expecting any crusade about people's privacy from News Ltd.

The Liberal and Labor parties are peas in a pod when it comes to the need to keep a check on the citizenry - in much the same way that government spying on its own people in the land of the free has now reached epic proportions (and if you've never bothered to look into it, check out the ACLU's guide to United States' government spying here).

Even this humble, virtually invisible blog, if it presents certain key words that draw attention through the ether, might turn up somewhere in a U.S. snoop note.

There's a libertarian streak in the United States that resists this sort of government intrusion, but in Australia, there's little taste for that kind of rhetoric about big brother invading privacy. Both major parties fancy themselves as helpful big brothers, with a CCTV camera here and a CCTV camera there.

There's a lot of jibber jabber from the media about how the media might suffer, or might have its worst excesses curbed by the government, but when it comes to the crunch, the right-wing commentariat have an endless list of bogeymen requiring government surveillance - ranging from leftie pinko protesting commie perverts to Occupy Marrickville types to Islamic terrorists to boat people to anyone "who's not one of us".

And then there's the invisible legacy of the French and Russian revolutions. To keep the peasants in line, you need to know what they're up to, and the intertubes provides the very best way to keep tabs on a suspect citizenry, who might at any point get up to mischief.

The coalition opposition is being cautious at the moment, but on the basis of their track record, you can bet that Tony Abbott and the Liberal party will line up on the matter.

After all, what have they got to lose? Here's the government proposing new intrusions that the Howard government could only dream about, and which were watered down in order to get the current measures through parliament.

The Labor government will cop the opprobrium for its current campaign to "up the rifling and the trawling to new heights", and the opposition will waltz into power without having to toddle past Go.

And the commentariat will be happy, on the basis that terrorism, organised crime, anarchists and left wing deviants boat smugglers, and yadda yadda, and yidda yidda, means the government should have the right to pry on yours and the pond's private business. After all, we don't want the rabble getting so restless that they pose a threat to the wealthy or the proper order of things, or the media, which prefers to look up its own threatened fundament ...

In the meantime, it's so much easier to keep blathering on about the self-interest of inner city elites, in tandem with piteous moans and tears about the long suffering media, persecuted by the Labor government (why doesn't it just lie down and take it when confronted by a yowling, wailing pack of Murdoch banshees?)

Truly the hypocrisy is astonishing, and suggests the old-fashioned concept of 'liberal' died about the time that Ming the Merciless decided to ban the Communist party rather than arguing it out of existence, as time and the bleeding obvious managed without his legislative stupidity.

It is however a reminder as to why the pond finds itself in the wilderness, without a party, because a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee isn't much of a choice ...

At least Fairfax has woken up to the issue, with New web spy powers: for and against (but you won't find The Australian saying boo to a goose this morning, as opposed to stories of heroic Kim Williams manning the barricades and fighting the great fight).

This issue has been around since the doofus Robert McClelland was in charge of the Attorney-General's department and began hinting that he wanted to rule the world, and it's doubly ironic in view of the way the government has been yabbering on about Google and Facebook's data collection ways and intrusions into privacy.

But at least there, in some areas you have a choice, and an ability to disengage. With the government and its agencies, you don't get a choice, or even a heads-up ...

Meanwhile, the NSW Right, which led the state Labor government to near extinction, has the cheek to call the Greens loopy and loony, a left-wing One Nation party, an offensive and contradictory label, but since offensive labelling seems to be allowed, let's just call the right wing of the Labor party a loopy, loony version of the Liberal party.

Let them allocate their preferences how they will, it's already to their eternal glory that they helped Family First and Steve Fielding to get a perch in the Senate for years ...

Well to hell with all that, and to hell with the notion of polite little consumers going about their daily consumption, with the aid of a slurp of soma. The pond is as mad as hell, and if nothing else, it will dance on the grave of the federal Labor party with joy.

Until it slumps into total depression at the Liberal party carrying out the Labor plans, at which point all that's left is the sad end to Hilaire Belloc's mad Tarantella:

No sound
In the walls of the halls where falls
The tread
Of the feet of the dead to the ground,
No sound:
But the boom
Of the far waterfall like doom.

Never mind, let's turn to a little light comedy for relief. Surely you'd love a whackadoodle interpretation of the current trends in politics? Why not turn to Christopher Pearson delivering up the usual bit of Gillard bashing?

Maybe not. What a goose. Is the first rule of the commentariat not to have the first clue regarding that which you write about it? It takes an incredible double twist with Pearson pike to turn the current fuss into a feud with Gillard.

Truth to tell, the partnership with the Greens, or the leadership of Gillard could be torn up anytime a sizeable amount of the Labor party mustered the guts to do it. But there's important work to be done in the meantime, subverting the privacy rights of the citizenry.

It would have been a lot more to the point if the subbie had captioned the piece The architect of this column, Christopher Pearson, will yabber on about a Greens onslaught when the real target of his outburst is Julia Gillard, and, we might add, the role she plays in frustrating his man love for Tony Abbott (not that there's anything wrong with man love, if it's sanctified by the blessing of marriage, we wouldn't want idle fornication as opposed to sex with one partner in marriage until death sorts out the boredom).

And now readers will forgive the pond for maintaining its rage with Blogotariat, which has revived fond memories of the great flame wars of the late nineteen nineties.

We now have clear-cut evidence that The Australian is sponsoring the site!

We keed, we keed, but it's been fun while it lasted. Here's a couple more images to join other images online. In a little while, we'll be talking directly to the owner in a public way, and that will be the end of it in the public arena, but what's the point of a blog if you can't indulge in a blog war?

And in the process we've had a little fun, as for example what you get now when you do a Google search:

The goose! And here's the evidence that The Australian is actively funding the deviant. Oh I know you can find The Australian's ads on Russian sites promoting the piracy of Twentieth Century Fox, but ain't it a hoot, the random nature of the web. Shortly to be shut down by the Labor party. So it goes ...

As thick as thieves ...


  1. Hi Dorothy - I've been away from desk a fair part of this week and I've only just caught up with your Blogotariat series.

    I do enjoy the Loonpond musings - one of the best reads on the interwebs, I do apologise for not requesting permission to aggregate your feed.

    Blogotariat is a one person operation - a hobby, if you like. I began it after an australian political blog aggregation site closed some years back as I found it to be a valuable way of tapping into the current commentary and providing cross-promotion to a wider audience. Every feed item at Blogotariat has an up front link to the source.

    Advertising? Just Google Ads and Text Links. In a good year, the ad revenue might cover the modest hosting costs.

    Including Loon Pond, I've only ever received 3 cease and desist requests - one of whom asked to be added back a few months later after his traffic dropped off. To encourage click through I suggested he create a teaser-length rss for me so that readers would have to click through to read the entire post.

    Blogotariat was only ever intended to be synergistic - adding to the whole - rather than an exercise in intellectual property theft. And as Oscar Wile once said, "If there is one thing worse than aggregators stealing your blog content, it's aggregators not stealing your blog content."

    Again, I'm sorry to have incurred your wrath. No offense was intended. Your content will be missed from Blogotariat. When I remember to, I'll continue to keep up with the current loonacy.

    And if you can remove my details from your front page that would be great. I wouldn't want to be stalked by any right-wing crazies out there.

    So long, and thanks for all the blogs.

  2. Okay, so here's the deal Slim.

    Yes, I do want Loon Pond removed from the Blogotariat feed, and the relevant post has now been removed. Please likewise remove all of the pond's posts from your sitePlease note also that your personal details are freely available on the web. That's where they were found. The pond's post will continue to lurk on Google cache but that's your tough luck for allowing your robot to do all the work.

    This is an advertising free site. I'm not interested in you plastering all the pond's posts at the top of your site, and I don't care about the traffic. The content is not for you to scrape, purloin and re-publish. Blathering on about Oscar Wilde and synergy doesn't get you out of jail.

    Breaching intellectual property rights might be your hobby and the advertising might not pay much, and some might see it as a kind of flattery, but really that's not the point.

    The day you associated Loon Pond with advertising for The Australian, you broke a sacred vow


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