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Censorship Your Rights Online

AU Authority Moves To Censor Net Filtering Protest Site 225

Posted by kdawson
from the shortcutting-the-udrp dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On Friday the Sydney Morning Herald reported that an Internet censorship protest site had been set up under the banner 'Stephen Conroy: Minister for Fascism' and was ironically registered under the very name of the Australian Communications Minister responsible for trying to mandate the compulsory filtering scheme in federal law, stephenconroy.com.au. Within hours of the story being published, auDA, the Australian Domain Name Authority, had shut down the site, giving the owners only 3 hours to respond to a request to justify their eligibility for the domain. Normally auDA would allow several days to weeks for this process. An appeal to request an extension was denied, with no reason given. The site was quickly moved to a US domain, stephen-conroy.com in order to stay active while the dispute with auDA is resolved."
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AU Authority Moves To Censor Net Filtering Protest Site

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, 2009 @02:23AM (#30509534)
    I think this is somewhat justified. Sure, where do you draw the line but this site was registered under a false name -- that of someone in Parliament. There's always the mature way and the immature way to handle things, and in this case with the people who created the same, they took the immature route. There's a time and a place for things, this sort of thing is more suited to personal jokes between friends and groups on Facebook.
  • To be fair... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Monday December 21, 2009 @02:23AM (#30509538)
    I'm no fan of Stephen Conroy's Great Wall of Australia, but the owners of the site in question can't have any claim to legitimacy if they fraudulently use someone else's name to register it.
  • Re:To be fair... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nulldaemon (926551) on Monday December 21, 2009 @02:26AM (#30509542)

    I'm no fan of Stephen Conroy's Great Wall of Australia, but the owners of the site in question can't have any claim to legitimacy if they fraudulently use someone else's name to register it.

    Normally I'd agree with you but a satire of a political figure is, imo, legitimate use of a domain.

  • You-turn.. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, 2009 @02:49AM (#30509620)

    "The site was quickly moved to a US domain, stephen-conroy.com in order to stay active while the dispute with auDA is resolved.""

    Aren't we suppose to be moving things FROM the US in order to avoid censorship?

  • Re:To be fair... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by keeperofdakeys (1596273) on Monday December 21, 2009 @02:56AM (#30509648)

    It's not the supposed legality of the site that is the main problem in my view, it is the fact that they were not given much time before the site was pulled down. According to the site this is not very common, usually sites have a few days to respond. Coupled with the fact that the office is closed for christmas, there domain may 'expire'. The EFA has also accepted to help, which means it must not be as clear cut as mentioned above.

  • Re:To be fair... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Monday December 21, 2009 @03:02AM (#30509666)

    Normally I'd agree with you but a satire of a political figure is, imo, legitimate use of a domain.

    No, it's the legitimate use of a website, specifically its content. A domain brings in a lot of other talking points, such as trademark law, trademark dilution, etc.

    I think it is pretty damn good argument that if your name is not Stephen Conroy, or have a service contract with Stephen Conroy, that you cannot own the domain legally.

    Of course, I absolutely despise domain name squatters, so I may be a little biased in this regard. Ownership and registry of domains has to be reworked regardless.

    People get the political satire argument a little confused and immediately try to apply to it to domain names, which I just don't think is appropriate. If you make some content in the spirit of political satire and get it published at the New York Times, it is at the New York Times. If video, it could be shown on Comedy Central, or some other entertainment channel. It is still being presented through another distribution channel where it is clear that it is not being presented by the target of the political satire.

    In some ways, you might even look it as being libelous and even impersonation. Would a reasonable person conclude that it was not Stephen Conroy making the statements? Would a reasonable person conclude that the Stephen Conroy, or somebody named Stephen Conroy own and condone the content of that domain? Could a reasonable person sue Stephen Conroy for the content of the domain?

    The Internet is just too new right now. I don't think we have really answered these questions yet, or been forced to deal with them enough yet.

    I hate censorship as much as the next person, but putting your protest in the man's name? I don't think you should do that. Get something like censorship-in-australia.com.au or something.

    I may completely disagree with Stephen Conroy's politics, but I will wholeheartedly support the idea that he has the rights to own that domain and make arguments that it be turned over to him. Please note that I limit that to StephenConroy or Stephen-Conroy, etc. Not Stephen-Conroy-is-a-complete-douche.com.au.

    Of course... if the protesters can find another man named Stephen Conroy and make an agreement with him that could make it a lot more interesting to me.

  • by timmarhy (659436) on Monday December 21, 2009 @03:07AM (#30509680)
    yes and in any other case you'd only have 3 hours to respond? this is clear cut government intervention on a topic they should keep their fucking nose OUT of, and precisely the kind of thing that should be fought.
  • by b4upoo (166390) on Monday December 21, 2009 @03:32AM (#30509754)

    I'm not so certain that a mature or even polite action is called for when censorship is involved. When one's ability to speak or receive communications are limited by some kind of authority then action, even violent action, is justified. Basic freedoms are not up for debate. The needs of society bear no weight against personal freedoms and liberties. Freedom of speech is an absolute. It is hard to justify it in the most extreme circumstances. For example you may pass a law that one can not scream fire in a crowded theater and by so doing cause a lot of deaths because sometimes there really is a fire in a crowded theater.
                  In the US we have been undergoing a period of sexual repression. Things like adult films and publications as well as prostitution and some really absurd laws regarding young people and sex have been all the rage for the last twenty or so years. Frankly it seems to have created a whole lot of sexually off tract individuals and generated a lot of crime as well. It may also be contributing to drug use and alcoholism as well as suicides. And you don't even want to consider the millions upon millions of dollars spent it controlling sexual communications.

  • by Muskstick (1522069) on Monday December 21, 2009 @03:53AM (#30509834)
    ...that Bob Brown is the best choice for PM, The Greens really have the only policies that make sense. Can you all imagine no Labor or Liberal bastards calling the shots and the country actually being run by someone who cares about it rather than these insane power hungry pollies with mad personal agendas to fulfill.
  • by TapeCutter (624760) * on Monday December 21, 2009 @03:56AM (#30509840) Journal
    "this is clear cut government intervention"

    No it's clear cut corporate intervention [zdnet.com.au], unless you want to go for the standard conspiracy theory crap.
  • by bmo (77928) on Monday December 21, 2009 @03:58AM (#30509848)

    >I think this is somewhat justified.

    No, it's not. Not in the least.

    It's political speech. If there's *any* sort of speech that needs protecting, it's "controversial" political speech because mainstream political speech doesn't need protection as much. Stephen Conroy doesn't like criticism. Well, boo-hoo, cry me a river. It doesn't matter if it's "immature" or not. What's next, banning editorial cartoons that Steven doesn't like, or throwing people in prison that Steven doesn't like? He has now demonstrated that he won't stop at child pornography. This is *exactly* why Steven Conroy's "protect the children" censorship should be shouted down.

    Steven Conroy is a fascist with a stick up his arse, pure and simple.

    I'm in the States, and Steven Conroy makes me want to punch him.

    --
    BMO

  • by trickyD1ck (1313117) on Monday December 21, 2009 @04:32AM (#30509984)
    If something isn't true, it doesn't make it a fallacy.
  • by kestasjk (933987) * on Monday December 21, 2009 @04:39AM (#30510006) Homepage
    I'd like to hear the details of this before I take it at face level. As much as I am opposed to Conroy and his barmy internet filters as an Australian I do also recognize that .com.au has different requirements than a .com domain, and still take stories like yours with a pinch of salt. Please back it up.
  • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Monday December 21, 2009 @06:50AM (#30510520)

    If there's *any* sort of speech that needs protecting, it's "controversial" political speech

    I'm all for protecting free speech, but that does not mean we need to protect every manner of expressing that speech. You don't get to go through town on a loudspeaker at 2am without getting cited for noise ordinances just because your message happens to be "VOTE OUT OBAMA!" You don't get to spray paint your message on my garage. We already accept sensible limits on these means of expression without necessarily supporting censorship of the message, and that is rightly so.

    In that same vein, I have absolutely no problem with the website saying WHATEVER it wants about Senator Conroy and his Internet filtering crap. In fact I applaud it. I do NOT think that having something to say about him entitles them to a domain name compromised entirely of his name, particularly when registering such a domain appears to be in violation of the registration rules. If they want to create an organization called No To Conroy or some such, and register notoconroy.com.au or notoconroy.org.au or what-have-you, more power to them. Keep the message out there. Just not like this.

  • by CrackedButter (646746) on Monday December 21, 2009 @07:07AM (#30510608) Homepage Journal
    How do you explain free speech zones then during the bush administration?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, 2009 @07:50AM (#30510792)

    That was exactly my first thought upon reading this - it definitely seems that they crossed the line. Of course, the more cynical line of thought is that maybe they pushed this purposely further than they should to provoke such a reaction which they can then use to justify their argument (look, the facist system is now shutting us down), while hoping the actual facts get buried in the snowstorm.

  • by ta bu shi da yu (687699) on Monday December 21, 2009 @08:35AM (#30510988) Homepage

    That's true. But this is a moot point, given that it was nobody by the name of Stephen Conroy has anything to do with the website in question.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 21, 2009 @09:51AM (#30511402)

    Cultural context matters, If this was china, not only would the originators have been arrested, but the Chinese public would have agreed with the move.

  • Wow, so you're comparing a website to a passport? That's really.... wow. Have you also given thought about multiple people having the name Steven Conroy?

    Australia already holds the view that .com.au domains are for businesses, and that their name should be related to the company's name. I think this is a completely reasonable restriction; I would welcome it for .com as well. It would all but eliminate domain squatting if you had to get a business license to go with every domain, yet would not prevent savvy individuals from forming a vanity business for a single vanity domain. In any case, this is the way the rules are written for .au, though not for .us, so the standards are different. As a consumer, I welcome some meaningful protection; if you accept that trademarks are a legitimate concept, this isn't much of a leap.

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

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