Tonight’s coverage of the internet censorship debate on Insight (and the subsequent chat, which was … intense — I got quite a few comments in, and responded to by the guests!) featured a lot of the pro-clean-feed side arguing that being against the blacklist, or in support of free speech, is to be in support of criminal behaviour. (You can review the chat here)
I/we are directly opposed to the proposed internet censorship for a variety of reasons:
We hold that people should be able to make their own choices, within the framework of the law…
… but Government mandated censorship should never be a part of the framework of the law
We understand that you are innocent of any crime, until proven guilty in a court of law
The ability to speak freely, do research and come to a conclusion are an inarguable necessity of any democracy — no matter the subject, no matter how odious, there are legitimate purposes for not restricting access to most (if not all) content (how do researchers at the ANU, hypothetically, study the prevalence of illegal material if they cannot access it?)
The proposed clean feed does not block the most common routes taken by criminals for distributing their reprehensible materials (p2p sharing, private non-web filesharing sites, email, etc.)
The proposed clean feed CANNOT block all methods of access, because the world has encryption; it will always be possible to distribute information freely (regardless of the legality of that material)
Experience in Denmark, Finland, South Korea and Thailand has shown that while filtering systems may initially be intended to stop illegal material, they are soon used to stop legal material too
The leak of the ACMA Blacklist has shown that Australian authorities are not up to the task of administering and maintaining the blacklist, which contained several erroneous entries (and therefore blocked legal material).
A government is just a group of people, as fallible as any other. We do not trust them to make the decisions about what we can/can’t view on the Internet on a day to day basis, using taxpayer dollars; as citizens, we believe we have the right to self-inform and self-educate.
A project I’m working on had things that needed to be printed. Initially, I used FPDF to generate and output a PDF document, which was reasonably pretty and very printable.
Somewhere along the way, I lost my mind and re-implemented these as HTML documents. I don’t know what came over me. There was a reason for it at the time. HTML documents are a pain in the backside to print, most of the time — browsers usually feel obligated to stick headers and footers on them with URLs and dates, and in Firefox at least, these are a pain to turn off.
So, the call was made to turn them back to PDFs. For most of them this wasn’t too hard, or they hadn’t been implemented in the first place and needed to be created from scratch in FPDF. One of them was a bit ornate, and had been a PDF before — what a pain, to have wasted all that effort!
Oh-hoh! But I use subversion. My effort was not wasted. Revert to revision 190, code recovered. Bam! I love you, Subversion.
If you’re the technological software developer type, you might be wondering now why I’m not using git or bazaar or the like — one of the new distributed RCS tools. Quite honestly, they’re overkill for me — I have at most 2–3 other people working on my projects, they’re not open source projects that the world will see, so there’s really no point to setting up a new RCS when Subversion does the trick.
The rest of you are already smiling and nodding at the crazy computer-man. :D