Metadata retention

Without the content of a message, you’re privacy can’t be breached, can it? What the hell is metadata anyway? Thankfully the Attorney General has posted a clarifying letter which makes it quite clear they will be pursuing the EU model (which has already been declared unconstitutional in Germany, Romania and the Czech Republic).

The metadata applies to:

landline, mobile telephony, internet access, internet email and internet telephony.

And the metadata contains:

  • the source of a communication
  • the destination of a communication
  • the date, time and duration of a communication
  • the type of a communication
  • the users’ communication equipment or what purports to be their equipment
  • the location of mobile communication equipment

Let’s break this down. Millions of Australians have smart phones which are constantly using the internet to check for new email, download updates, synchronize calenders etc. Every time this happens, their location (presumably which mobile phone towers they are connected to) will be monitored and stored.

If this model is followed, the minute to minute movements of millions of Australians for two years will be monitored and stored. If that isn’t a gross invasion of privacy, I don’t know what is.

Edit: Rodney posted the video below which tells the story better than I ever could.


Gone in 60 seconds – How to bypass data retention in under a minute

If the proposed expansion of national security powers and internet surveillance comes to pass, many people will want to bypass it to protect their right to privacy. Here’s one way to do it.

  1. Go to
  2. Pay $40 for a yearly account
  3. Download and install their software
  4. Log in to your account and connect

That it, you’re done in less than a minute. All your internet traffic will be encrypted and routed through their servers, bypassing any data retention by the Australian government.

Of course this raises the question, if it can be bypassed so easily, for $40 a year, how could the system possibly hope to catch determined criminals? I challenge the scheme’s supporters to provide an answer.

Send Nicola Roxon a copy of 1984

Given the recent push for increased surveillance, ISP data retention, and the erosion of any “right to remain silent”, I wonder if Nicola Roxon has read 1984.

First edition cover of George Orwell's 1984

Let’s make sure she has, or at least that she re-reads it, given the circumstances. I’m going to buy her a copy and send it to her address at parliament house:

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon
Parliament House, Canberra 2600

You can do the same. Find a copy in your local book store, or order online at fishpond ($9.51 including shipping), book depository ($9.43 including shipping), or amazon. Be sure to mark it as a gift and include a note, but be civil. We are trying to convince her that our privacy and freedoms are important, and that new powers will violate them in an attempt to catch criminals that has dubious efficacy at best. Twenty copies of 1984 landing on her desk should get our message across.

If you send one, let me know in the comments so I can tally it up. If you’d like to remain somewhat anonymous, I could send one on your behalf, just contact me on email at, using my public key for encryption of course. I promise not to retain your data.

What’s wrong with the video game industry

This is appalling, but it sure explains the rampant sexism in videogames. Hey devs, 42% of all gamers are women! Perhaps you should not despise and fear them so much?

Clearly we need more women working in the games industry. We need to stop this bullshit. If you are a game developer like the turds in this video, grow the fuck up. Read something about feminism and misogyny. You don’t have to be afraid of women! It’s not their fault that you are afraid of them! Perhaps the reason you are single is because you hate women? Stop blaming them for your own failings.

And for those of you who would like to counter with the “this is just some shitty tv show” argument, you are so wrong.

I am racist

Ordinarily I consider myself to be anti-racist. I always question and confront people making overtly racist comments. In general my political views are firmly to the left of the centre.

A few days ago I saw a woman on television who I found quite attractive. When I found out she was part Aboriginal I was surprised – not that she was Aboriginal, but that she was attractive. Subconsciously I had thought that all Aboriginal people are unattractive. While I would never have stated such an opinion verbally, that does not excuse it. I may not be an overt racist, but obviously, some of my views are prejudiced and incorrect. Indeed, the evidence contradicting my prejudice was right in front of me – the woman I saw on television was both attractive and Aboriginal.

Yesterday Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of Australia, apologised to the members of the stolen generations. He apologised to everyone whose families were ripped apart, to the parents who lost their children, and to the children who grew up without their parents.

With this apology, the fight against racism in Australia has won a great victory. The government itself is no longer racist. Now it is time to continue the fight against the overt racism of others, but it is also the time to fight the inherent racism and prejudice within ourselves, within myself.

I am racist and I am sorry.

Female personification in gaming

Just read an interesting article on Gamers with Jobs about personification and female objectification in gaming. Here’s my take on the issue:

Princess peach aint no damsel in distress

I think the problem is that the people who care about this kind of stuff will still buy games with excessive boobs in them purely for the gameplay. They’ll do their best to ignore the objectification. Your average fifteen year old xboxer however just sees boobs and will buy the game no matter how shit it is. Case in point Dead or Alive: Extreme Beach Volleyball.