Thursday, February 25, 2010

Senator Lundy on Internet Regulation

Senator Kate Lundy has written extensively, and thoughtfully, on the issue of Internet censorship in Australia. I think she is on the right track. This is an issue where you can't please everyone. I had the task of preparing the ACS position on regulation in 1995. My own position is summed up in a talk gave on ABC Radio: "Filtering Porn on the Internet: Imperfect by Necessity".

By Senator Lundy on Internet filtering:

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Internet enhanced meetings for post-Copenhagen climate change negotiations

This is to propose the use of Internet enhanced meetings for the post-Copenhagen climate change negotiations. The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP-15) ended inconclusively without a binding agreement. There will be a need for ongoing extensive negotiations. Also there were problems with the format of the conference in Copenhagen, with it difficult for so many delegates to be heard. An alternative is for smaller face to face meetings, with Internet access to people not at the venue to take part.

The recent Realising Our Broadband Future forum sponsored by the Australian Government provides a model for such events. I suggest the Australian Government could take a leadership role in hosting climate change talks. Australian universities and their counterparts around the world could assist with technology and venues for this.

A global electronic infrastructure now exists for information communication and online discussion. I suggest it is time that this infrastructure be put to work for global governance.

The Australian National University provided the venue for the first "Public Sphere" event, which Realising Our Broadband Futures grew out of. The Prime Minister recently announced a National Security College to train senior public servants. Given the security implications of climate change, global negotiations on the topic would seem a reasonable to explore.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Cyberwar Podcast

Stilgerrian, interviewed me for a ZDNet Australia podcast on "Cyberwar: What is it good for?". This was recorded shortly before the Attorney-General released the new Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy and IBM announced a new computer security centre in Canberra.

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AARNet and the Internet in Australia

The book "AARNet – 20 years of the Internet in Australia" (ISBN 9780646521114) by Glenda Korporaal was launched yesterday. This claims to document the role of the Australia Academic and Research Network (AARNet) had in introducing the Internet to Australia. Unfortunately AARNet decided not to make their book about the Internet available via the Internet.

This decision is symptomatic of the problems which have plagued AARNet. The organisation has excellent technical skills and is still at the forefront of applying the Internet to research and education. However, AARNet after making a bold move into a new technology tends loose it nerve and fails to follow up and make effective use of the what it has done. In this case they have commissioned a book, but ensured almost no one will ever read it, by not making it available using the technology they advocate.

The message AARnet is sending out to its clients in Australian universities and to its backers (the Australian Government), is that AARnet does not think the Internet is suitable for the distribution of important information: AARnet prefers paper delivery.

AARnet could have provided the book online, as a valuable educational resource. Australian students could have then learned about the role which Australian played in creating the Internet. Instead Australians will be educated using materials from other countries and not know Australia had a role in development of the Internet.

During the early years of the Internet I was asked by MPs and senior policy makers in Canberra (and still am) who were the important people in the world to talk to about the Internet, the web and other IT developments. When asked this in Parliament House I would point in the direction of the ANU, CSIRO and other research bodies saying: "down there". The response would usually be "no we don't want to talk to Australians, we want world leaders". AARNet are perpetuating that problem by failing to get their message out.

As well as not making the content of the book available online, AARNet do not seem to have made the paper book available either. I was unable to find the book on, nor anywhere else on the Internet. About the only way to get the book seems to be ask AARNet and at some time in the future they might tell you where it is available.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy

The Federal Attorney-General, Robert McClelland has released an Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy. This is a high risk strategy as it proposes transferring the functions of the successful and experienced non-government AusCert to an inexperienced government body. A better strategy would be to resource AusCert so it can provide services to non-government bodies and work with DSD to look after government and military computer security.

The Australian Government Cyber Security Strategy has three objectives:
  1. Make Australians aware of cyber risks,
  2. Make businesses operate secure and resilient information and communications technologies,
  3. Secure Australian Government information and make communications technologies resilient.

The seven Strategic priorities are:

  1. Improve the detection, analysis, mitigation and response to sophisticated cyber threats,
  2. Provide Australians with information and tools to protect themselves online,
  3. Partner with business to promote security and resilience,
  4. Protection of government ICT systems,
  5. Promote a secure, resilient and trusted global electronic operating environment,
  6. Maintain an effective legal framework and enforcement against cyber crime,
  7. Promote research and development of cyber security a skills.

By early 2010 the Australian Government expects to have:

  1. CERT Australia: with Attorney-General’s Department taking over AusCert's responsibilities. This will incorporate the Australian Government Computer Emergency Readiness Team,
  2. Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC): The Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) will continue to provide civilian and military government agencies with cyber security assistance.

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