It’s difficult to feel anything but revulsion when pondering the case of former ABC Collectors host Andy Muirhead’s dramatic and public fall from grace. As Kate Legge noted in her lengthy piece in The Weekend Australian Magazine ‘Child pornography sickens to the core’.
Despite his defence arguments to the contrary, this week in Hobart Chief Justice Ewan Crawford told the Tasmanian Supreme Court he was satisfied the 36-year-old entertainer had a “sexual interest” in the 12,433 still and video images, some including sadism or humiliation.
In the case of Muirhead, we now know he downloaded thousands of images of innocent children.
What is it about our love affair with Google that we let them take wholesale liberties with our privacy, and sit back and watch what might be one of the largest data breaches in history go by without so much as a whimper?
After some prodding, Google recently admitted to European Privacy Commissioners that they had “mistakenly” collected the contents of communications between some computer users, as part of their “Street View” activities. Mistakenly. All around the world. For four years.
It goes something like this: specially equipped “Street View” vehicles criss-cross entire nations, taking photographs of our houses and streets, geo-tagging the location with both a GPS and also by “sniffing” for WI FI connections in the area. That way, when a person uses a Google product to locate themselves (like Google Maps), and there are WI FI networks detected nearby, Google can triangulate the device and give you an approximate location. Pretty cool, and nothing really too scary about that, even though there were privacy concerns raised at the time. We trusted Google.
Latest 2 of 22 commentsView all comments
There is a lot of misinformation circulating about the Government’s ISP-level filtering proposal and Eliza Cussen was right to warn people they shouldn’t believe everything they hear or read (Top Ten Internet Filter Lies, 25 March 2010).
Unfortunately her article repeated some of the misinformation and I’d like to outline the facts.
The Government has always maintained there is no silver bullet when it comes to cyber safety and we have never said ISP-level filtering alone would help fight child pornography or keep children safe online.
Latest 2 of 507 commentsView all comments
Online memorials have been getting a bad rap lately, and in many ways, rightly so. The cruel comments posted on the Facebook memorial page for murdered Brisbane 12-year-old Elliott Fletcher are nothing short of repulsive.
Even after the furore over the posting of pornographic images on Fletcher’ s site, insensitive and offensive comments persist. Amid good wishes to Elliott and his family, Matt Jackson has written on one Fletcher tribute page, “im famous, im on the world famous post hahahahaha hi mum im on tv lol.”
Scroll down. One of three “fan photos” at that page’s left shows Fletcher in life, grinning under tousled hair, with the words “Woot I’m [sic] dead” written over him in thick red marker.
Latest 2 of 7 commentsView all comments
Public outrage over the shocking vandalism of internet tribute sites for two young Queenslanders who died in terrible circumstances has again raised questions over freedom online.
The worldwide web next month celebrates its 21st anniversary. It has grown from a single web page to more than a trillion unique pages and is expanding rapidly every day.
Social network sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube transformed the web from largely static pages under a website owner’s control into something more fluid, with people interacting on the websites to create content.
Latest 2 of 30 commentsView all comments
The Punch has just left Facebook’s headquarters in San Francisco where the company sought to address the fallout from the controversy of tribute pages to dead minors being defaced with obscene content.
Following questions earlier this week from The Punch, Facebook’s global communications and policy director, Debbie Frost, told us the company was sending a letter to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh apologising for the incident and addressing the Premier’s letter of concern sent to the social networking giant this week.
Frost said the incident was unprecedented in her time at Facebook, adding it was difficult to fathom how people would decide to attack memorial pages in this way.
Latest 2 of 67 commentsView all comments
As a new recruit to Facebook, I admit I was not exactly on the first-wave of the online social networking phenomena. It’s not that I’m a techo-phobe by any measure (my blackberry is a constant companion).
It’s just that I am not entirely convinced that the addition of a Facebook page will enhance either my work or personal lives. And the thing is, in this job, the two are often inextricably linked. MPs are public figures - albeit very minor ones. And - after sharing weekends, evenings and most waking hours with either my local constituents, my parliamentary colleagues, Industry groups and stakeholders within my shadow portfolio responsibilities - I’d kinda like to keep a little bit of me just for my nearest and dearest.
Call me old fashioned (and I’m sure many of you will) but I prefer to share my personal trials, triumphs and trivia with those I am closest to, rather than the-acquaintance-of-an-acquaintance who I met once at a function and who has now requested to be my “friend”.
Latest 2 of 61 commentsView all comments
Update 7am: Despite the company’s statement yesterday, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy say Facebook needs to explain itself. The Punch is still awaiting a response to its questions put to Facebook’s press office.
Update 4.45pm Wednesday: Today there are at least two groups live on Facebook - one of which has over 3400 members - calling for the death of the man accused of Trinity Bates’s murder. If this happened in a newspaper or on a major news website the editor would be at risk of going to jail.
Update Wednesday 2.45pm : Facebook has published a statement about obscene content on the tribute pages to Elliott Fletcher and Trinity Bates on its website. It is printed in full below. We’re yet to hear from them.
Latest 2 of 178 commentsView all comments
This simple graphic illustrates one way the internet can be used to get an insight into a person, by analysing publicly available information associated with a name. I’ve chosen, for no particular reason, Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull. Through the rest of this post are similar profiles of a range of Australian public identities.
You can enter your own details into the Personas tool here. If you feel uncomfortable watching the process of this tool scouring the web for information about you, that’s the idea. It was designed to show you have a publicly available profile which you cannot control.
Developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it’s intended to highlight not just how you are seen on the web, but “for the viewer to reflect on our current and future world, where digital histories are as important if not more important than oral histories.”
Latest 2 of 24 commentsView all comments
For the sake of marking a slightly unusual date in the calendar tomorrow, 09/09/09, there’s a campaign underway to rid the internet of cats for 24 hours.
If that doesn’t strike you as a perfectly sensible idea, you’re probably reading this on a dial-up connection. Cats are to the web what tomatoes are to Italian cooking. One online magazine said earlier this year declared the internet was made of kittens.
To a classically Catholic reaction of horror and amusement, I discovered this week there’s even a project underway to rewrite the Bible in kitteh, the imaginary moggie tongue which has some rigid conventions – “can I have” becomes “I can haz” and omnipotence comes in the form of “Ceiling Cat”, a meme stemming from photos of cats looking out of holes in the roof.
Latest 2 of 37 commentsView all comments
I am a social media whore. That’s the point of it all right? There’s a lot you can know about me from what music I listen to, what concerts I’ve been to and yes, even occasionally what I just ate.
There’s even a 12 second video somewhere of me dancing in a tutu to What a Feeling by Irene Cara. All of which I chose to share across a number of social networks I belong to that include Blip.fm, Twitter and 12seconds.tv and I’m comfortable with that.
And then there’s Facebook.
This is on news.com.au today:
If you spent just one minute reading every website in existence, you’d be kept busy for 31,000 years.
This is based on information from Bing, Microsoft’s new search engine. It adds that to actually read the entire internet, you would need six hundred thousand decades - six million years - of nonstop reading to read through the information. I guess that’s before you start watching stuff like this or this.
So, Punchers, let’s help each other out. In the comments below post links to the pages you think are the absolute must-sees of the web. I’ll kick it off with this, just because it’s top-of-mind: Joe Hildebrand’s review of Tango & Cash.
Latest 2 of 121 commentsView all comments
A recent edition of the New Yorker carried a cartoon that depicts a man about to be executed by firing squad. Beside him an executioner holds out a mobile phone and asks: “Last tweet?” (You can see it here)
This is an incisive analysis of the wild variance of the content on Twitter. Suspected previous tweets for our cartoon hero: “Just about to go through security.” Or: “Putting on my hood now.” It’s the Twitter rollercoaster. One moment you can be reading about someone eating an egg sandwich. The next, you can be reading first-hand news of one of the stories of the year and looking at a photo like this:
Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s creator, says the service will be a success “when it’s not talked about so much”, and when people just use and accept it “like electricity”. Amen. The incessant hype and stream of stories has become a bore. Yes, it breaks news in ways traditional big media outlets cannot. Yes, it’s yet another challenge for big media companies to get to grips with. Yes, it’s a valuable search tool. Twitter’s success is proof, though, of something much more unsettling - or exciting, depending on your point of view.
Latest 2 of 6 commentsView all comments
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…