Electronic Frontiers Australia

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About

Founded in 1994, inspired by the US based Electronic Frontiers Foundation[1] Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc. (EFA)[2] is an incorporated association, based in South Australia.[3] It is a non-governmental organisation that advises and advocates on issues of civil liberties on the Internet and is a founding member of the now apparently defunct Global Internet Liberty Campaign.[4]

Its stated objectives are to:

  1. To protect and promote the civil liberties of users of computer based communications systems and of those affected by their use.
  2. To advocate the amendment of laws and regulations in Australia and elsewhere which restrict free speech and unfettered access to information.
  3. To educate the community at large about the social, political, and civil liberties issues involved in the use of computer based communications systems.
  4. To support, encourage and advise on the development and use of computer based communication systems, and related innovations.
  5. To research and advise on the application of the law (both current and proposed) to computer based communication systems and related technologies.[3]

Current Board

Executive

  • Colin Jacobs - Chair
  • Geordie Guy - Vice Chair
  • David Cake - Secretary
  • David Boyd - Treasurer

General Board Members

  • Alan Isherwood
  • Andrew Pam
  • Cameron Watt
  • Marcus Wigan
  • Stephen Collins
  • Amanda Ellis

EFA Campaigns

Internet Censorship

No Clean Feed

No Clean Feed[5] was the initial campaign banner under which the EFA opposed the latest incarnation of an Australian mandatory Internet censorship policy proposal. and was a campaign that most organisations and groups opposing the filter supported until criticisms of the campaign, saw a strategic move towards the Open Internet Campaign.[6]

Criticisms

Criticisms of the campaign included a belief that the language of the campaign and slogan 'No Clean Feed' was self defeating, implying a desire for access to a somehow immoral 'dirty feed' that maligned the debate, and detracted from the real civil liberties and censorship considerations around the policy.[7] There was also a shift in understanding that saw a more considered strategy develop with respect to highlighting the electoral consequence of the policy,[8][9] and even a reflection of procedural campaign tactics.[10] There was also criticisms that suggested campaigners were focused too heavily on censorship and civil liberties issues, which to many Australians, was said would be considered a trivial issue if it was perceived to only block "refused classification materials includes weird p-rn and fetish material, Jihadi propaganda and other unsavoury material."[11] Instead it was suggested that highlighting the more practical impacts of the proposed policy, for instance highlighting the cost (both of implementation, and economic impact), ineffectiveness in achieving stated goals, and a suggesting better allocation of resources.

The Great Australian Internet Blackout

The Great Australian Internet Blackout[12] was a campaign that was conceived in order highlight the issue, and raise awareness and ran from January 25 to 29, 2010, January 26 being Australia Day.[13] It was an action under the No Clean Feed campaign. The action was an online protest, asked supporters of the campaign to blackout Twitter profile pictures or insert a html snippet that utilised javascript into webpages, that would temporarily 'blackout' the webpage, after giving the visitor information about the campaign and issue.

Over 1000 webpages were said to have participated in the online protest, however the list of sites participating has since been removed.[14] The campaign was proposed as an alternative to 'street marches'.

Open Internet

The Open Internet Campaign[6] shifted away from the No Clean Feed brand,[15] and was touted as a 'central hub' for the anti Internet censorship campaign, the EFA adopting a quasi de facto leadership role. The campaign itself was constructed under the interim campaign manager, Peter Black, a legal academic at the Queensland University of Technology.[16]

Tell your mum

The "It's Time to Tell Mum" campaign was an attempt at 'viral marketing' that used comedian Akmal Saleh[17] to help convince children and younger adults to raise concerns about the issue of Internet censorship with their mother. The campaign utilised the advertising agency Fnuky.[18]

Criticism

Although Vice Chair Geordie Guy declared the campaign a success shortly after launch,[19] with apparently 42,000 mothers contacted,[20] there were harsh criticisms about the campaign. Many feminists cited the campaign as sexist, offensive and even patronising.[21][22][23][24] Geordie Guy made attempts at explaining the EFA position, and countering some criticism, but has since removed those statements.[25] The EFA expressed regret that some were offended,[26]

Notes

  1. http://www.eff.org/
  2. http://www.efa.org.au
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://www.efa.org.au/about/rules-of-incorporation/
  4. http://gilc.org/
  5. http://nocleanfeed.com/
  6. 6.0 6.1 http://openinternet.com.au/
  7. David Olsen Why the language of #nocleanfeed dooms the movement to failure. Pointless Really, December 16, 2009
  8. Josh Mehlman, Filter opponents: change tactics or fail ABC - The Drum, December 22, 2009; Mehlman also criticises the debate regarding something as trivial as a Twitter #hashtag, indicating that the debate had become an "echo chamber".
  9. Possum Comitatus, Electoral Consequences of Net Censorship Pollytics, December 17, 2009
  10. Bernard Keane, Bernard Keane’s guide to writing to Ministers Crikey, December 16, 2009
  11. Alex White, No Clean Feed campaign needs to drop their "censorship" obsession Alex White Blog, January 6, 2010
  12. http://www.internetblackout.com.au/
  13. Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson, Internet filter protesters set to fade websites to black on Australia Day The Courier-Mail, January 20, 2010
  14. http://www.internetblackout.com.au/websites/
  15. James Riley EFA's anti-filter campaign dumps No Clean Feed slogan IT Wire, January 21, 2010
  16. Ben Grubb EFA hires senior lecturer to counter net censor ITNews, January 7, 2010
  17. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akmal_Saleh
  18. http://www.fnuky.com.au/
  19. Geordie Guy Time To Tell Mum Campaign a Massive Success EFA, May 28, 2010
  20. Colin Jacobs More power to the mums EFA, June 1, 2010
  21. It's Time to Tell Mum campaign Geek Feminism Wiki
  22. Sky Goodbye, Electronic Frontiers Australia Witty Title Pending, June 2, 2010
  23. Lara Brindley Time To Tell Mum About Privilege, EFA! June 6, 2010
  24. Helen Balcony It’s time to tell Electronic Frontiers Australia to stick it Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony, May 30, 2010
  25. Geordie Guy It’s Time To Tell Mum – My Personal Thoughts May 29, 2010
  26. Josh Taylor EFA apologises for 'sexist' anti-filter site ZDNet, June 1, 2010
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