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.

Filter this! – An open letter to Nick Xenophon

Update – Xenophon has responded, read below.

My name is Daniel Kinsman. I am a South Australian resident and I am against internet censorship. Recently I was very concerned that, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, you “want the mandatory filters broadened to include the blocking of hard-core pornography and online gambling sites.”

I am a highly qualified computer programmer, working nine to five for a South Australian owned and run technology company. In my spare time I volunteer my skills for the Open Australia website which parses and indexes the Hansard.

In my professional opinion, the idea of trying to filter the internet at the ISP level is absolutely ludicrous. Personally I don’t understand how the people working on the filtering software can honestly believe they will succeed. I suggest you talk to them, not their managers but the programmers on the ground and ask them what they think their chance of success is.

Just take a look at the so called great firewall of China. Despite the countless resources thrown behind it, even they don’t attempt to examine all http content as it comes through.

I pay my taxes every year, please don’t waste them.

Ultimately, even though the filtering will not work, the mere attempt to curtail my rights and freedoms is abhorrent. You have no right to judge what content is appropriate for me to view. That is not why I voted for you in the Senate.

And the response from the Xenophon camp:

Dear Daniel

Thank you for your email to Nick Xenophon regarding the proposed internet clean feed. Nick appreciates your concerns, and also has concerns that the technology being advocated by the government may not work. There is a real danger based on trials of the technology that have been undertaken that banned sites will get through the filter and sites that were not intended to be banned will be blocked. He will continue to investigate this matter and decide on what he believes is the appropriate course of action in due course.

Thank you for taking the time to write to Nick on this issue.

Kind Regards
Correspondence Officer for Nick Xenophon
Independent Senator for South Australia

So while he may share my technical and budgetary concerns, there’s no mention of the censorship issue. Hmmm, let’s wait and see.

Site Down

I’ll be moving soon so as of the 14th of April the site will be down. It’ll be back up whenever I get my ADSL hooked up at the new place. I’m sure the wordpress comment spammers will sorely miss me.

Incidentally I will not be using Adam Internet again. When I signed up to them I was sure to read the terms and conditions carefully and there was no mention of a disconnection fee. Half way through they decided to change the terms and conditions to include a $90 disconnection fee.

Seems they included a clause in the original terms and conditions stating that they can change the terms and conditions at any time. If so why stop at $90? Why not chuck in my fist born child as well?

Of course the disconnection fee is due to Telstra and not Adam itself, but other ISPs such as Internode have been decent enough to eat the cost. I don’t mind paying if the terms are settled from the start but changing them half way through is plain dishonest.

Okay, turns out I was wrong. Adam always had the disconnection fee hidden in their terms and conditions. The real issue is that when they increased their prices customers either had to eat the price rise, or pay a $90 disconnection fee to back out. Customers should not be slugged a fee for backing out of a contract when the terms and conditions are changed on them.

Incidentally, the main reason I went with Adam rather than Internode was price. After factoring in the disconnection fee and the price rise I would have been better off with Internode.

Coherent youtube comments?

After getting back from lunch at the pub yesterday afternoon Tori Amos’ Raspberry Swirl suddenly popped into my head. It’s on my least favourite album of hers so I didn’t have a copy of it on my work computer. I managed get it via youtube however.

And the comments posted below the clip were as follows:

Oh man, I jsut watched the video back too, it’s so obvious! The girls sit around a table, they all ‘dig in,’ they get messy and have fun, the boy stays out of it, he laughs at the girls, he sees them as pigs and when he finally ‘gets involved’ he stamps over the table, avoiding the getting messy. Girls know each others bodies, and are happy to get down and dirty with it, whereas (lol what a perfect example you are) men see it as degrading and don’t want to be part of it!

lol I’m afraid, Tori says herself that this is about the fact that yeah, she is married, but she and her best female friend share a very intimate relationship, and she hates it when said friend gets messed about by guys because Tori sees herself as her friend’s ‘man,’ boyfriend etc! So yes, the song is about sex, it is not a reference to the ‘clitoris’ but full on, lesbian sex- It’s the Wiki ‘songs about homosexuality list!’

Well I suppose you are right too. I, as a man, find sex a bit dirty to go into songs of such a high calibre. Love, on the other hand is a different matter. But we may have to agree to disagree! lol

I thought only loud dumb people post comments on youtube. I was surprised to see people actually being coherent, rational and reasonably mature; especially considering the song is about girl-on-girl action (check out the elevator “going down” in the clip). I guess the greater internet fuckwad theory doesn’t always ring true.

Damn, spoke too soon. Just checked the site again to find this gem:

I love gender generalisations. It’s what makes feminism so fuck’n great. FUCK OFF.