[AusNOG] Happy new year / New rules for age-restricted internet and mobile content after the 20th of january 2008

Mark Newton newton at internode.com.au
Wed Jan 2 19:55:21 EST 2008

On 02/01/2008, at 6:59 PM, Bevan Slattery wrote:
> - when the industry explains that this can't be done a number of  
> vendors with financial interests will say 'this can be done' and the  
> good Senator will sing their praises and highlight how the industry  
> has got it wrong again.

That is why the industry shouldn't rest its case on the notion that it
can't be done.

The industry should rest its case on things like:

"Every time you bozos examine this issue you keep coming up
with the same tired answers, and every time you do it you're
completely wrong.  Again.  When are you going to get smart?"
	(forces them to defend their record before they can advance
	a policy agenda)


"My grandmother uses Google to search for recipes, and my
14 year old daughter uses the Internet to help out with her
high school physics projects.  None of these people are complaining
about Internet content.  Why is it that Federal politicians comprise
the only serious social group left in this country who doesn't `get'
the Internet?  Why are the most fearfully ignorant, out of touch
people in Australia allowed to be in charge of everything all the
	(forces them to distance themselves from ignorance and
	fear before they can assert any leadership authority over
	the issue)


"The previous Government thought this was a good idea, and
spent $220m on NetAlert to prove the point, and we all know how
that turned out.  Why is the new Labor Government behaving like
policy copy-cats?  Can it be that they've only been in power for
two months and they're ALREADY out of new ideas, recycling
the old ones that failed for the Liberal Party?"
	(forces them to re-defend copycat policymaking, something
	which was a serious criticism during the election campaign,
	and which they'd hope was put to bed months ago)


"Australian businesses have invested considerable amounts of
money into providing commercial solutions for the Government's
perceived problem.  The Government's approach will destroy the
value of those investments, along with the businesses who have
made them, by turning niche features which those companies have
developed to differentiate themselves in the marketplace into
commodities.  Why is this new Government so hostile to small
	(forces them to distance themselves from one of the pervasive
	negative stereotypes of Labor governments before they can
	assert any leadership authority over the issue)

Each angle is a two or three sentence soundbite which
surreptiously imports a whole raft of negative political messages
which need to be answered by any politician who deigns to respond.
Politicians do not want to answer to those messages;  They don't
want to mention them at all, because they're uniformly toxic.
If they respond at all, we can concentrate the resulting discussion
on the failures contained in their responses instead of their future
policy goals.  Every sentence they utter will be a killing field,
because they have no good answers for any of this stuff, and
everything they say looks reprehensibly stupid.

Some messages will work better than others;  Unless they are
attempted we won't know which ones are most effective at
resonating with the public, industry and the political sphere.

This industry has historically been absolutely, horribly woeful at
playing politics.  It's worked to our detriment every single time this
stupid issue has come up, making us sit there babbling incoherent
jargon-filled commentary the public doesn't understand about
technology while the pols stand up on their bully pulpits and
moralize until we roll over.  It's happened again and again, and
it'll keep happening until we learn to respond in terms that they
understand.  That means keeping the discussion away from the
tech and focussed squarely on the incompetent vapidity of the
Government's new proposals.

When the Government wishes to regulate the TV industry, they don't
do it without the TV industry's consent -- They know the TV industry
can and will absolutely DESTROY them in the electorate if they dare.
No, when they want to regulate the TV industry they ask Uncle Rupert
nicely over a glass of Muscat in the back room of a club somewhere,
and only make public pronouncements about how stuff is going to work
when he's quietly given them the nod.

We have every bit as much reach as Uncle Rupert.  We're in the living
rooms of almost every house in the country, and all the voters who
have spent the last decade turning away from Television in droves
are spending their time with us instead.  We have an enormous
platform, a hugely loud voice, which we've never seen fit to use.

But squandering it doesn't mean we don't have it.

   - mark

Mark Newton                               Email:  newton at internode.com.au 
Network Engineer                          Email:   
newton at atdot.dotat.org  (H)
Internode Systems Pty Ltd                 Desk:   +61-8-82282999
"Network Man" - Anagram of "Mark Newton"  Mobile: +61-416-202-223

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