More on censorship

A follow up post, I found a few more articles on this whole censorship issue in Australia from numerous sources and some more thoughts.

There has been a huge discussion on Twitter between social media and web folks who I personally consider experts in the online world but many of them seem confused. Not good. Some of the questions/issues raised, of course many may be overreactions.

  • Based on the current interpretations Second Life really should be banned in Australia.
  • Seesmic a micro video blogging tool would be banned if it had a dedicated porn feed.
  • If YouTube (of related service) had 1 offending video would the whole service be blocked until the 1 video was removed.
  • Why is pornography (opt out) more offending than crime or terrorism which has an opt in list?
  • What about VOIP tools (ie Skype) will they be banned because they could be used for pornography and cannot be blocked due to the traffic encryption.

Some links first up from The 463 “While You Were Out: Australia Makes Plans to Censor the Internet“:

However, as The Australian notes, “in Britain, only between 200 and 1000 child pornography sites have been included on a blacklist.”

And, Conroy is talking about potentially millions of general pornography sites (however defined) and other sites that depict violence (ditto). Plus, Australian sensibilities are hardly “European” when it comes to community standards.

An Op Ed piece by Dr Peter John Chen in The Age “Who’s afraid of the net?“:

The policy is reminiscent of Douglas Adams’ anti-panic glasses, which turned black when confronted with something that might scare you.

Second Op Ed from the Australian “Net-nanny state worth watching

The plan risks giving parents a false sense of security because it will not be possible to block all offensive material. Equally, educational and other non-offensive sites will almost certainly be blocked in error. And research shows blanket restrictions can have a dramatic impact on the speed at which broadband services operate.

Finally a link from Peter Black’s Freedom to Differ “More on Australian online censorship“.

Mandatory censorship of the internet

The new Labour Government had announced there intend as part of the election campaign to introduce filtering of the internet and on Dec 31st they provided further details on what would be happening with mandatory filtering of the Internet by ISPs.

Senator Conroy says it will be mandatory for all internet service providers to provide clean feeds, or ISP filtering, to houses and schools that are free of pornography and inappropriate material.

Personally I am against any form of censorship. Its that simple. But with this I am also confused, you can opt-out and have an unfiltered huh?

Senator Conroy says anyone wanting uncensored access to the internet will have to opt out of the service.

Now just because someone has a foot fetish and wants uncensored access means they could be put on a list of “bad people”, and who gets to store that information? An opt in list such as the one for crime and terrorism makes far more sense.

Further to this some of the content that is being banned on the Internet (X18+) is available for purchase on DVD in Canberra the nations capital!

Highly confused like lots of people.

There has been lots of discussion over the last day, I don’t know all the facts more research is required, here are some links if you want to read more.

We need a red pill for the organisation

Yesterday I caved and went back to Twitter, yes I know I am weak but that is a whole other story. There was a conversation about the red vs blue pill in the Matrix, remember the red one you learn the truth while the blue one you go on living the lie. I got inspired popped the DVD in, then I had a thought.

If you remember the movie once the machines took over they used humans as their endless supply of energy, growing them in fields, then keeping the human minds under control by through the use of the Matrix.

I started thinking it is similar to how organisations operate, they have universities where graduates are conditioned into a certain way of thinking, without which organisations claim graduates are not ready to enter the workplace. From day one a new graduate just falls in line, generating the power the organisation requires. If not they labeled “unconventional” or even worse”managed out” only to then turn into an Entrepreneur and disrupt the core market of that very organisation. Management practices and hierarchies are in place to keep us and our minds under control.

For people in the know, if you have ever tried to explain it to someone you get this stare. You know they feel like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole, accepting what they see and hear cause they know they will to wake up. Just like Neo as he begins to learn about the Matrix.

We need a Red Pill to help employees understand the whole web 2.0, social networks, collaboration, transparency, Cluetrain thing! Thereby allowing their minds to be freed from the shackles of the organisation.

While a simple red pill would make it easier to open people’s minds to the new world, we would still need to help their minds accept the new world, just like Neo has trouble first accepting being out of the Matrix.

Find that missing tweet

I am currently on day 3 of a self imposed Twitter/Facebook/social network ban so I kind of feel I am disconnected from a community I have heavily been involved in for over a year. Why is a long story and I’m not sure how much longer it will go on for.

Today I found a great new tool that allows me to keep an eye on what is going on, well at least on Twitter. The tool is Tweet Scan (hat tip James

At the moment I am using it as a vanity search tool, the real benefit is being able to review the conversations about topics of interest. For example what is being said about Kevin Rudd (the new Australian Prime Minister), Australian Election, or the V8 Supercars where I was yesterday. Other ideas would be product discussions, restaurants, events, activities or monitoring disasters the list is endless!

The tool will also give PR and corporate communication folks the ability to review what is being said about their organisations in almost real time, just like traditional media watch organisations. There are some cool features such as email alerts and a “Tweet This” link that allows you to tweet about your search.

To quote James:

The information is out there, about what people are doing, saying, and using. Its ours to harvest. The title of this blog is a tongue in cheek hopefully, because the fact is tools like tweetscan make us far more powerful, extending our reach, allowing us into new conversations, making us smarter, and allowing us to test ideas in near real time. A database of conversations. A database of intentions. Its all coming together. 2008 is going to rock.

Slide show available online

I have put the slides from last night’s presentation online at SlideShare, they can be viewed via, only issue is you miss out on my fantastic commentary.

A couple of points

  • The cartoons are all Hugh Macleod’s of gapingvoid fame
  • To review the buzz words you need to view the CommonCraft Show videos
  • To learn about Web 2.0 you should read ClueTrain
  • Finally look through the links at the end as 90% of the content is found there, and you don’t need my commentary

IM how do you use it!

IM is finally starting to make it’s way into corporate Australia, I know we are slow off the mark! But this is starting to pose all sorts of issues. The Google Australia blog posted today about this very topic and it reminded me that after about 10 years of prolific IM usage where I currently work an “Acceptable Use of IM” policy (with a small p) has just been released.

To Ping of nor to Ping? That is the Question!

Both cover similar issue, let’s have a look at 10 tips on IM etiquette.

  1. Use the status indicator! If you are on the phone set it to same “I’m on the Phone”
  2. If you are too busy to respond, don’t sign in
  3. If you use a public IM client, DON’T DISCUSS CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS, STUPID!
  4. hotpants69 doesn’t work anymore as an IM nick name than it does an email address to get you a job, think twice about your IM id (Bonus same goes with your status message)
  5. Think before you click send, there is no Undo function
  6. If you can pick up the phone or walk over and talk to the IM recipient it is usually a better idea than using IM
  7. If the discussion goes on for more the a few minutes, it is usually best to pick up the phone or write an email
  8. Remember as with email, you miss out on the body language and tone of the discussion, be careful your joke might not be received as one
  9. Before launching into a long message check if the recipient is available for a chat
  10. Use basic common sense

MODM4 was last night

As a self confessed social/digital media groupie I attended MODM4 last night at the Riverland Bar on the side of the Yarra River, food and drinks were provided by Simon Chen from EightBlack.

Many of the “regulars” were in attendance good to catch up with them, also met a few new people which is even better.  I final met in person Ben Barren, after many years of watching from afar.

Things I learnt:-

  • Developers a still in short supply
  • Young people wear the strangest of things, who else saw all the kids dressed as furries?
  • MyLiveSearch is trying to take over the world
  • The digital media world in Melbourne is very small, like most industries
  • Mr Barren has some interesting projects on the go
  • Mr Edublogs’s empire is growing
  • There are lots of Sensis people around
  • How to have your mysql database automatically start on reboot under RedHat Linux
  • There are lots of great things happening downunder

Pictures are starting to appear on Flickr, a few blogs posts are filtering in although not as many as I would have expected given the gathering was meant to be on digital media, maybe they have a sore head today?

Downside, CathyE left before I could met her in person and I did not take my camera.

The innovators dilemma

Another article from the NY Times where it seems the technology that “made” the pornography industry is being used against itself and as such could fundamentally change the industry.

Basically as Clayton Christensen called it “The Innovator’s Dilemma”. Existing powerhouses invest heavily in technology (the big traditional pornography houses) only to be beaten at their own game by smaller, players using better/different technology who changed the market structure (the amateur with their home video camera and broadband internet) .

And unlike consumers looking for music and other media, viewers of pornography do not seem to mind giving up brand-name producers and performers for anonymous ones, or a well-lighted movie set for a ratty couch at an amateur videographer’s house.

After years of essentially steady increases, sales and rentals of pornographic videos were $3.62 billion in 2006, down from $4.28 billion in 2005, according to estimates by AVN, an industry trade publication. If the situation does not change, the overall $13 billion sex-related entertainment market may shrink this year, said Paul Fishbein, president of AVN Media Network, the magazine’s publisher. The industry’s online revenue is substantial but is not growing quickly enough to make up for the drop in video income.

But to me here is the kicker:-

The spread of high-speed Internet access promised even further growth. Instead, faster connections have simply allowed people to download free movies more quickly, and allowed amateur moviemakers to upload their creations easily.

For an industry that grow at an amazing rate through the use of the internet it must be coming as a bit of a shock that the technology is now turning against them.

Photowalking in Hong Kong

Yesterday I went out and about walking and traveling around Hong Kong for just over 5 hours, end result 135 photos and 5 or 6 videos. While the photos are going to take a while to sort through I have pulled together a quick video with some stills of my trip up the Peak on the tram, mainly for BJ. If you have never been up there I recommend you have a watch or even better hop on a plane to Hong Kong and do it yourself. 🙂

Publishing the video this morning got me thinking about new media/social media and the profound effect it is having on our world. Here I am in a hotel room in Hong Kong, publishing content for all to see, no waiting till I get home or photos to be developed let alone editing a video.

Why Web 2.0 sucks

Charlie over at This is going to be BIG has pulled together a list of 10 reasons Web 2.0 sucks.  In reading the post I found that it tied in nicely with some of the things in my recent post about how many people were really online.  Go read the full post to get all the details but I have pull out the list here in summary format.

  1. The finger pointing culture of fear will always dominate a culture of openness.
  2. The thinking, not just the building, has gotten small and lightweight…
  3. Web 2.0 hasn’t even come close to breaking open the carrier choked mobile world.
  4. Web 2.0 is a conversational vacuum.
  5. Spelling and grammr (beta)  have gone to hell in a handbasket.
  6. M&A Wack-a-mole stopping innovation in its tracks…
  7. Content licensing is still a bottleneck.
  8. The really juicy data will always remain locked up…
  9. A lot of powerful people don’t participate.
  10. MySpace is the most popular social network.

The list probably definitely also has a lot to do with why so many CIO’s are at the moment steering clear of introducing products from these new startup Web 2.0 companies into their organisations.  This is not to say that Web 2.0 is not being introduced, I feel it is just the open source products.  More on this later as I have been cooking up a post on this for the last couple of weeks, I just need the time to pull it all together.

Finally there is lots more discussion on TechMeme about it.