The Internet Censorship General Strike

Last night at BTUB I met Michael Meloni from Somebody Think Of The Children (along with lots of other great people) and we were talking (of course) about the Australian government’s absurd plan to filter the internet.

I’ve been wondering over the last few months about what we, the Internet community, can do to alter the decision of the Rudd government on this issue. Signing petitions and writing letters to the Minister are great, but I suspect they aren’t enough to change the course he’s on. This morning I was reading Howard Zinn’s awesome “A People’s History Of The United States” and he was discussing the many strikes that occurred in the USA during the 19th century and I started wondering if a strike is one way we can get politicians to take notice of our concerns.

If the IT and Internet community in Australia went on a general strike over the issue of Internet censorship, I have no doubt that we could cause many Australian businesses and government agencies pain. A strike by the IT/Internet community would also generate a lot of press.

Then I started wondering how we’d mobilize the community. We don’t have a union or any kind of genuine organization. There are groups like AIMIA and the AIIA but I seriously doubt they would support any kind of industrial action, nor do they represent many people working in the industry.

So we need to organize and mobilize. We need to create a single focus point for action. Any ideas?

G’Day World turns FOUR

Just realized that today is the 4th anniversary of G’Day World and therefore also the 4th anniversary of podcasting in Australia. A lot has changed in four years! And I’ve been fortunate enough to produce over 350 episodes and interview some amazing people. Thank you everyone for tuning in and for the continual support and encouragement.

G’Day World #355 – Wayne Denning on Aboriginal Affairs

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Today’s interview features Wayne Denning, Managing Director of Brisbane-based media company, Carbon Media.

I caught up with Wayne to chat about the issues currently surrounding Aboriginal people in Australia and what I feel is a particularly insidious form of racism on the part of most white Australians. As a former manager at ATSIC and now the owner of a media company that produces a lot of indigenous programming, Wayne has insights into the reality of the current situation and he shared some of those with me over coffee at a local cafe near QUT.

Windows Live Account – Reset Password

WTF? I rarely use my Windows Live account. Today I tried to login but couldn’t remember my user ID or my password. Tried a couple of things but they didn’t work. So I went into the “reset your password” option. They give you two options – answer some questions about your location and your “secret question” or we’ll send you an email. As I can’t remember my bloody Hotmail password, the latter option is obviously no use, so I went for the first option – however, as you can see in the screenshot, that option is actually “temporarily unavailable” because i got my password wrong on the previous screen! No shit Sherlock! What kind of morons came up with this system?

G’Day World #354 – Nanette Burstein (Director of “American Teen”)

American Teen poster

American Teen is a terrific documentary about 5 high school seniors in a small American town struggling with their last year of school and figuring out who they are and what they want to do with their lives.

On today’s show I chat with the director of American Teen, Academy Award nominee Nanette Burstein.

Nanette Burstein

Getting Delisted By Google

A few weeks ago, Google decided to drop TPN from its index. Why? They apparently think we’re lowly spammers. I need your help.

First, a little history –

As some of you may recall, back in March, on the day I was leaving Melbourne to relocate to Brisbane, I found out that TPN had been massively hacked. We’d parted ways with out IT partner a few months prior and had spent that time waiting for our new IT partner, a large firm in Melbourne, to get their act together and provide us with a contract to begin work. In the meantime, our servers weren’t upgraded with the latest patches, someone got in through a security hole and went to town exploiting the hell out of our backend. Almost every one of TPN’s 100+ sub-domains had hidden pharmaceutical spam all over it, our email server was sending out spam, there were even a couple of banking phishing sites.

So I spent the first week waiting for the new IT partner to help us out. As it turned out, they were useless and did nothing. So I started looking for a NEW partner. As you know, TPN runs on the smell of an oily rag, so finding a new IT partner wasn’t going to be easy. I can’t just call up IBM Global Services and offer them $1 trillion to create miracles.

However, after I called for help on Twitter, the guys from Pollenizer quickly introduced me to a firm in India called XMinds. Xminds jumped straight into our system and started cleaning it up and re-building it. They were Oscar Goldman and TPN’s servers were their Steve Austin (but they didn’t cost anywhere near six million dollars).

We cleaned out our servers (or so we thought) and re-built and re-launched. The process took about 3 weeks.

Fast forward to Nov 5 when I was notified by a few people that TPN wasn’t listed in Google’s index. I jumped into my Google web account where I found a notification from them saying they had discovered pharamaceutical spam on one of our old, long-dead sub-domains and, as a result, had delisted our ENTIRE site from their index. Not just the one sub-domain, our ENTIRE site. No warning. No communication. Just delisted us, a war of shock and awe launched on our site.

I immediately had XMinds delete the old sub-domain completely and then I re-submitted TPN into the Google index. That was 13 days ago. We’re still not listed.

I’ve asked around, trying to find someone at Google to talk to, and I’ve been told that I’m wasting my time, that the process will take 30+ days and even then there will probably be a penalty to our googlerank.

Now, I know TPN isn’t the biggest and most important site in the world. But, on the other hand, we’re not totally small fry either. We’ve got about 400,000 – 500,000 unique visitors a month and over 6 million page views a month. We’ve never done anything illegal or even dubious. I’ve always maintained a clean site. No gambling, no porn, nothing.

And, like many sites, a great deal of our traffic comes from Google. Fortunately, iTunes is probably a bigger referral of traffic, but Google is #2. And being dropped from their index is hurting us.

So… if anyone out there knows of anything we can do, or anyone we can talk to, to get TPN re-listed in Google’s index, I’d appreciate the help.

G’Day World #353 – Antony Loewenstein on Internet Censorship

Have you donated yet to the TPN Pledge Drive? Help support independent media!

My guest today on G’Day World is once again Australian journalist and author Antony Loewenstein. Antony was on a couple of months ago to discuss his excellent book “The Blogging Revolution” and today he has come back on to discuss Kevin Rudd’s desire to censor the internet and we discuss a range of things we can all do to try and stop it from happening.

Links to further reading:

Antony’s blogs:

Other articles:

Please Support the TPN Pledge Drive

Dear TPN listeners, viewers and friends,

You know that we spend a LOT of time producing our shows for you.

And as we aren’t making money out of advertising, we’d like to ask for your support to help us keep TPN running. We have real costs in IT support, hardware, bandwidth, etc., as well as our time and effort. For the last four years, we’ve covered these costs ourselves. Outside a small amount of advertising that we have run, the majority of TPN’s costs have been covered by myself and the TPN hosts have donated their time.

Now, we know that paying for online content is probably new to some of you. You are used to getting it for free.

However, we do ask you to think about the idea of the people funding their own media. We all know that if corporate advertising is the main source of funding for the media, it influences the kinds of media that is produced and the messages they carry. We don’t want that kind of media to be the only kind out there. We want an independent media, run by the people and for the people.

If you want to support our efforts to bring you intelligent and entertaining content, please consider one of our donation plans listed here at the TPN Pledge Drive page.

Your support is appreciated!

cheers,
Cameron

G’Day World Video Interview – T. A. McCann, Gist.com

While I was in Seattle last month, my good mate Buzz Bruggeman (CEO of the best application for Windows EVER – Activewords… why the hell hasn’t Microsoft bought him out yet??), took me to meet another friend of his, T. A. McCann, CEO of Gist.com, a start-up (funded by Paul Allen’s Vulcan) that integrates your email, social networking sites, and news searches to provide you with a dashboard that keeps you informed about news items relating to people who are important to you and to help you get more control over your email.