This weeks lecture actives revolve using the internet for political reasons. Whether it’s Anonymous hacktivists, signing an e-petition or wikileaks; the internet can be used very effectively to spread a political message.
The first activity was to sign an e-petition about something that was somewhat political related. Luckily for me I’ve actually already done this many months ago when our internet freedom was placed under threat by the SOPA/CISPA/PIPA bills that were going looking to be passed through US Congress. Essentially they gave the US Government a lot of free reign with copyright infringement that could potentially cause a lot of legitimate websites to be shut down and a large majority of innocent users to be wrongfully imprisoned under these new US laws. The petition that I signed (Link) is hosted by Avaaz and as of this post currently holds 803,913 signatures. (Avaaz 2012) Also Google hosted their own petition about PIPA which, according to them, has over 4.5 million signatures (Link). (Google 2012)
The second activity asks us to respond to a professional blogger at a major news site. I’ve chosen to respond to the blog post from the Guradian (Link) about Julian Assange and his recent speech at the Ecuadorean embassy that occurred recently. This campaign against Assange has turned into nothing but an attempt to smear Assange’s name in order to discredit Wikileaks and any documents that may appear on there. The US Government are afraid of their secret documents getting out to the public via Wikileaks and are doing everything in their power to silence him for good.
The third activity was to find out what Barack Obama was doing today. Coincidentally for me today Barack Obama was doing an IAmA (basically an interview) on Reddit (Link). Here I would be able to ask Barack Obama about his stance of freedom on the internet. Sadly I only found it when it was over. However another user did ask essentially this exact question. Obama’s response was:
Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody – from those who are expressing an idea to those to want to start a business. And although there will be occasional disagreements on the details of various legislative proposals, I won’t stray from that principle – and it will be reflected in the platform. (Reddit 2012)
Our fourth activity is to find out what the Australian Government’s plans are in relation to internet censorship. The Austrian Government has announced that it is planning on introducing “mandatory ISP-level filtering of Refused Classification (RC) rated content.” Which essentially means that the government plans of blocking thousands of webpages and placing them on a black list. The filter itself will not filter inappropriate content from children, not will it prevent criminals from accessing and distributing sexual abuse material. (OpenInternet 2012)
For our fifth activity we are required to discuss what place censorship has in a democracy. I guess this is all a matter of a opinion and is definitely swayed by which way you lean politically (left or right, conservative or liberal). As for myself I believe that censorship in democracy should be non-existent. Free of speech should always be available to everyone. Implementing censorship is a slippery slope that can easily be abused by those in power (look at China for example).
Our sixth activity is too look into the National Broadband Network (NBN) that is being rolled out throughout Australia. The NBN will reach my house in 2015 and should hopefully bring significantly faster internet speeds to my area as well as throughout the nation, which will be good considering that Australia has terribly slow internet in comparison to the rest of the world. (NCNCo 2012)
The seventh activity was to find out who our local, state and federal representatives were and to send one a message. Mine are as follows:
The eight activity was to find out when our local member last made a speech in parliament via the online Hansard. I actually found the Hansard really difficult to use; although I did find some speeches from Mark Stewart, although it did not specify where the speeches were done (Link). I was able to send Mark Stewart a message via his Facebook account about his last speech; which also covers the last activity.
Avaaz 2012, Viewed 27 August 2012, <https://secure.avaaz.org/en/stop_cispa/>
Ben Quinn 2012, ‘Julian Assange statement at Ecuadorean embassy – as it happened’, The Guardian, 19 August, Viewed 27 August 2012, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/blog/2012/aug/19/julian-assange-statement-ecuadorean-embassy-live>
Brisbane City Council 2012, MacGregor Ward, Viewed 30 August 2012, <http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/about-council/governance-strategy/councillors-wards/macgregor-ward/index.htm>
Google 2012, End Piracy, Not Liberty, Viewed 27 August 2012 <http://www.google.com/takeaction/images/sopa-012112-v12.jpg>
Google 2012, Viewed 27 August 2012, <http://www.google.com/takeaction/past-actions/>
Queensland Parliament, Mr Mark Stewart, Viewed 30 August 2012, <http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/members/current/list/bio?member=Stewart+Mark>
NCNCo 2012, About NON Co, Viewed 30 August 2012, <http://www.nbnco.com.au/about-us/index.html>
NCNCo 2012, NBN rollout map, Viewed 30 August 2012, <http://www.nbnco.com.au/rollout/rollout-map.html>
OpenInternet 2012, Learn More, Viewed 30 August 2012, <http://openinternet.com.au/learn_more/>
Parliament of Australia, Mr Graham Perrett MP, Viewed 30 August 2012, <http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=HVP>
Reddit 2012, I am Barack Obama, President of the United States, Viewed 30 August 2012, <http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/z1c9z/i_am_barack_obama_president_of_the_united_states/>