Internet Political Opportunities

As you know from my first post this blog was created for assessment purposes. This week I was tasked with completing a list while seeing if I can stick to my political beliefs. Since I found this interesting I thought I would invite you to do the same. I’ve provided the links below each task so you can follow, but depending on your whereabouts you may need to change a few things.

Task 1: Sign an e-petition

There are many e-petitions available online however, you can find all the current ones for Queensland Parliament here. Below is a snapshot of just some of the ones you can sign, I ended up signing a few.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 6.02.47 PM(Parliament.qld.gov.au, 2016)

 

Task 2: Respond to a professional blogger at a major news site

I like reading the conversation, so I commented on a few articles. Its really easy, the sign in options are pictured below.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 8.10.43 AM(The Conversation, 2016)

 

Task 3: What is Barak Obama up to today? Can you send him a message about the importance of freedom on the internet?

Surprisingly you can view the President of the United States daily schedule! To see what the President is up to today click here.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 1.48.39 PM(whitehouse.gov, 2015)

If you would like to send the President a message about the importance of freedom you can. The image below displays the different options, click here to go directly to the Whitehouse contact page.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 1.52.51 PM(whitehouse.gov, 2015)

 

Task 4: What are/were the Australian Government’s plans to censor the internet (the so called ‘clean feed’)?

On the 31st of December 2007, the Australian Minister for Communications announced that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would be required to provide a ‘clean feed’ of Internet content to users (Simpson 2007, p. 167). A ‘clean feed’ means online material is filtered and then deemed appropriate or inappropriate, with inappropriate content then blocked at the ISP (Simpson 2007, p. 167).

After a lot of public disapproval, the Australian Federal Government announced it would no longer pursue the clean feed in 2012 (Falconer 2012). However, under the Telecommunications Act 1997, ISPs are still required to censor child abuse sites that appear on INTERPOL’s block list (Falconer 2012).

Task 5: What place does censorship have in democracy?

Ahhh, none if you ask me. Since almost its advent the internet has been a platform for political speech, activism and social networking (Dick 2012, p. 259), the Arab Spring is a perfect example. Digital communications have become an essential tool to social resistance and actions in the last few years (Dick 2012, p. 259). But recently the internet has been threatened with repression, censorship and surveillance (Dick 2012, p. 259).

And while the government has been upfront with its plan to filter, its less transparent about what content will be blocked (Bambauer 2009). This process is concerning because by accepting that material is blocked under the surmise its potentially illegal, ISPs and users may be accepting values without even knowing the possible harms (Simpson 2007, p. 180).

While aimed to protect, censorship will expose the entire community to a form of control without even knowing the exact extent (Simpson 2007, p. 181). Dick (2012, p. 269) argues that established democracies make themselves vulnerable by restricting access to information and freedom of expression. Having material censored and filtered may impact on the fullness of Australia’s democracy, as a mandatory filtering impinges on the implied constitutional freedom of political communication (Duffy 2009, p. 103).

Task 6: What are the benefits of the NBN? What potential form(s) will the NBN take when it is finally rolled out?

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 3.41.52 PM

(Optus, 2016)

The NBN is the National Broadband Network designed to connect ninety per cent of Australian homes, schools and workplaces with speeds of 100 Mbps (Cunningham 2011). Its most easily understood as an upgrade on Australia’s telecommunications that will revolutionise the way we connect (Godfrey 2012).

The NBN’s benefits will include:

  • Future proofing Australian homes and businesses (Hanlon 2016)
  • Faster internet speeds (Hanlon 2016)
  • More connections, even in rural areas (Hanlon 2016)
  • Reliable internet service (Optus 2016)
  • Supports multiple devices (Optus 2016)

The NBN will see the existing copper wire and hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) replaced with fibre optic cables (Optus, 2016), meaning that information data will travel at much faster speeds (Hanlon 2016). There are currently teams of installers connecting homes to the network, this generally means laying fibre optic cables under the street (Hanlon 2016). You’ll be notified when the NBNs coming to your area and then a NBN Utility Box will be installed on the outside of your house (Hanlon 2016). However if your a planner or just curious you can find out when the NBN are visiting your neighbourhood here.

 

Task 7: Find out who your local, state and federal representatives are. Send one a message.

My local member is Peter Young from division 5

My State Representative is Mr Sidney (Sid) Cramp

My Federal Representative is Hon Stuart Robert MP

I sent my Local Representative, Mr Peter Young an email, I used the AEC to find my electorate and members of parliament.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 3.38.56 PM

 

Task 8: Look up the Queensland or Australian Hansard to find the last time your local member spoke in parliament.

The Hansard was easy to use, just search your Member of Parliament and away you go.Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 8.40.20 PM

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.07.55 PM(Aph.gov.au, 2016)

 

Task 9: Let your local member know what you think about their last speech

The email below is addressed to Mr Stuart Robert, the Federal Representative of Fadden.

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 9.52.44 PM

Overall I thought these tasks were interesting, but I don’t think I ever veered from my political beliefs. If you would like to comment whether or not you found the same please do so.

References:

Aph.gov.au. (2016). Search Hansard – Parliament of Australia. [online] Available at: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Hansard/Search?main_0%24right_2%24btnSubmit=Go&ind=0&st=1&sr=0&q=stuart+robert&expand=True&drvH=0&drt=2&pnu=43&pnuH=43&f=28%2F09%2F2010&to=11%2F11%2F2013&pi=0&pv=&chi=2&coi=0&ps=10 [Accessed 1 Sep. 2016]

Bambauer, D.E 2009, “Filtering in oz: Australia’s foray into Internet censorship”, University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 493

Cunningham, S. 2011, “Broadband, the NBN and Screen Futures”, Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, no. 140, pp. 16-21

Dick, A.L 2012, “Established democracies, Internet censorship and the social media test”, Information Development, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 259-260

Duffy, J 2009, “Toothless tiger, sleeping dragon: implied freedom, internet filters and the growing culture of internet censorship in Australia”, Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 91-105

Falconer, J. (2012). Australia’s Mandatory Internet Filter Has Finally Been Killed. [online] The Next Web. Available at: http://thenextweb.com/au/2012/11/09/finally-australias-controversial-mandatory-isp-filtering-is-off-the-table/#gref [Accessed 1 Sep. 2016]

Godfrey, D. 2012, NBN to Crunch SKA, Control Publications Pty Ltd, Hawksburn

Hanlon, J. (2016). NBN Guide: What You Need to Know. [online] Whistleout.com.au. Available at: https://www.whistleout.com.au/Broadband/Guides/NBN-Guide-What-You-Need-to-Know [Accessed 1 Sep. 2016]

Optus, S. (2016). NBN – Get on the national broadband network with Optus. [online] Optus.com.au. Available at: http://www.optus.com.au/shop/broadband/nbn [Accessed 1 Sep. 2016]

Parliament.qld.gov.au. (2016). Current e-petitions – Queensland Parliament. [online] Available at: https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/e-petitions [Accessed 1 Sep. 2016]

Simpson, B 2008, “New Labor, new censorship? Politics, religion and internet filtering in Australia”, Information & Communications Technology Law, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 167-183

The Conversation. (2016). The Conversation: In-depth analysis, research, news and ideas from leading academics and researchers.. [online] Available at: https://theconversation.com/au [Accessed 1 Sep. 2016]

whitehouse.gov. (2015). The White House Blog. [online] Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog#today [Accessed 1 Sep. 2016] 

whitehouse.gov. (2015). Submit Your Comments and Questions Online. [online] Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact [Accessed 1 Sep. 2016]

 

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