This piece was first published in Green Agenda, an online publishing project of the Green Institute think tank.

It was never going to go well. Attempting to prop up the media sector while reigning in the tech giants with one bill was always going to be chaotic, but even then, the impact of Facebook’s Australian news content ban last Thursday was more widespread than almost anyone anticipated.

The government passed their revised News Media Bargaining Code through the House of Representatives last Thursday. …


This is a piece to inform a discussion at Virtual Progress 2020 https://australianprogress.org.au/event/virtual-progress-2020/

Written with Peter Lewis, Director of the Centre for Responsible Technology

As progressive political activists we are all committed to running and winning campaigns that make our world a better place.

This involves striving to understand the world in all its complexity, identifying injustice and developing policy to address it, articulating a vision and engaging supporters and developing effective strategies for change.

Our traditions are all about building movements: from workplaces to communities, campuses and more recently to cyberspace: we engage, we organise and we activate.

But…


I’ve read a few million posts about it, written several thousand words on it myself for Digital Rights Watch and others, and I’ve been rustled by some festering nonsense amongst some genuinely good commentary from experts in particular fields, so to prevent any further word vomit from me in conversation threads with mates here is some feelpinion I originally expelled on Facebook.

Privacy and security issues have a unique power to elicit ignorance by privilege. I’ve had conversations with people who’ve done good work on refugee and anti-racism campaigns who dismiss issues like data retention or anti-encryption legislation with a…


A year or so ago, only a couple of weeks after the madness that was the resignation courtesy of the constitution, Scott Ludlam and I fronted up to ‘People of Letters’ in Melbourne. For those unfamiliar with it, People of Letters emerged from Women of Letters, a love letter to letter writing itself. Guests each read a letter penned to someone in their life, centred on a theme specific to each event.

Our People of Letters was about partnerships. There were couples, and colleagues, mentors and mentees, siblings and co-conspirators.

Scott and I wrote about a decade of living and…


The movement has a massive problem and we need to talk about it.

It’s men clicking links like this seeking to furiously agree with anything that absolves us of any responsibility.

Stop it.

Stop clicking links like this.

Stop looking for reasons to blame victims or put all the responsibility to fix it on victims.

Listen instead. Here’s a good place to start.


Yes, Facebook.

In response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Mark Zuckerberg’s PR panic tour has produced nothing more than vague platitudes, or promises to do better. It’s the same game he’s been playing for years. Most infuriating is the determination that the considerable improvements that the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) platforms will be compelled to implement will not be available for users outside the EU. The billionaire Facebook CEO agrees “in spirit” with the changes.

That puts an end to the slim prospect that Facebook would voluntarily extend a world’s best practice suite of privacy measures to…


The extraordinary revelations from the Observer/Channel 4 investigation into the practices of the digital marketing firm Cambridge Analytica have, like many a great internet controversy, produced great outrage but few answers or ways forward. People are rightly horrified at the prospect of such comprehensive personal information being used to manipulate them by the million, but also daunted by the task of correcting it.

Many among the politically or technically savvy have responded with world-weary insouciance: “this has been going on for years”; “what did you expect?”. To be fair that view does have some merit. When you break it down…


The Cambridge Analytica revelations have spawned outrage across the world, as well they should. The mass manipulation of millions of individual Facebook users, psychometric profiling to reveal potential pressure points, micro-targeted advertising and black-ops electoral interference are certainly something worthy of the headlines.

As the full impact of this washes over the US, other countries are also questioning the level to which a data-mining startup has sought to influence their own democratic independence. Australian citizens are understandably asking whether they have been targeted through manipulative techniques.

Australia’s Privacy Act is woefully out of date with the digital sphere, and offers…

David Paris

Itinerant Internet Idiot

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