Electronic Frontiers Australia today expressed its surprise and concern that
the operators of the satirical protest site StephenConroy.com.au were given
only three hours to justify their "connection to" the domain name. Under
Australian domain name regulations, it is quite common for website operators
to be required to identify their reasons for operating under an Australian
domain name, but it is unusual for operators to be offered so little time to
provide those reasons.

"While we understand some of the quite sensible reasons behind the
restrictive rules on Australian domain names, we are surprised at the level
of energy with which auDA has pursued this particular matter", said EFA
spokesperson Geordie Guy. "At a time when criticism of the Minister around
the government's proposed mandatory filtering scheme is so prolific, it's
easy for Australians to be cynical about such assertive action from the
domain authority particularly when we understand that other cases are
usually afforded much more consideration."

This incident reflects worrying concerns about the power that private domain
name regulators have to silence critical political speech without going
through legitimate legal channels. In 2006, a similar incident saw Melbourne
IT cancel the domain registration for JohnHowardMP.org created by well-known
political commentator Richard Neville, a move that was instigated on advice
from the Australian Government. Cancellation silenced a satirical website
that featured a parody speech from Mr Howard that apologised for Australia's
involvement in the most recent Iraq war.

Background:

About EFA:

Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc. (EFA) is a non-profit national
organisation representing Internet users concerned with on-line
rights and freedoms. EFA was established in 1994, is independent
of government and commerce, and is funded by membership subscriptions
and donations from individuals and organisations with an altruistic
interest in promoting online civil liberties.

Media Contacts:
Mr Geordie Guy
EFA Spokesperson
Phone: 0415 797 142
Email: gguy at efa.org.au

10 comments

  1. damn and I was just about to register StephenConroyIsAFascistUninformedMoron.com.au too..

    Comment by cybergrunt on 22 December 2009 at 21:48
  2. Very poor form - obviously auDA has been leaned on by the minister's office. Even if its technically against the rules, you'd think the minister would want to leave critical sites in place to preserve what shreds of credibility he had left. Now he has none.

    Comment by Simon on 23 December 2009 at 00:02
  3. So, the real question is, do they have a legit reason for the site (under the domain registers rules)? If they do, give it and be done with it. If they don't, it doesn't matter if it was 3 hours or 3 seconds in my mind!

    Now why we have such stricter rules on domain registration, thats another (better) question!

    Comment by Phillip Malone on 23 December 2009 at 02:24
  4. Stephen Conroy is a disgrace to the name Stephen. Thank God I spell mine the other way.

    It's getting pretty obvious that Rudd, Wong, Conroy, Combet are all a bunch of Fascists pushing purely for globalist agenda.

    I think it is approaching time in Australia to flush the political toilet and get some real 3rd party action. A bit of Truth even - believe it when I see it, these current folks are just plain bold face liars that deserve only a court appearance for treason.

    This Internet filtering bill is purely to destroy any independent media and access to political dissent sites. It has nothing to do with Internet Child Pornography. It is shameful that they use that as an excuse to try and get it through, but people like Rudd would sell their Mothers for a chance to sit at the United Nations table so I guess I'm never surprised at the level they all stoop to in order to lie to the public.

    Comment by Steven on 23 December 2009 at 03:17
  5. It's also yet another reason why nobody in their right mind would register a domain or host a website or internet business in Australia.

    It's so frustrating to see our minister for the 'digital economy' waste energy and dollars trying to hide and impede the internet, instead of trying to harness its awesome potential.

    Comment by Simon on 23 December 2009 at 04:41
  6. As always when politicians are trying to do something they usually screw up pretty bad everybody else. And by "usually" I mean like 99% of the time. But coming back to shutting down a web site the way he did it, that is pure illegal. Traffic of influence to bend rules in your advantage is unforgivable. Stephen Conroy place is in jail.

    Comment by val on 23 December 2009 at 10:47
  7. @val He? There is no suggest and/or evidence that Conroy had anything to do with the shutdown! And on bending rules, if the site register has legit reason to run the site (legit as defined in .com.au registering rules (whether they are right or wrong)), they just need to forward those on and the site will be back!

    Comment by Phillip Malone on 23 December 2009 at 21:41
  8. @Phillip Malone
    "If they don’t, it doesn’t matter if it was 3 hours or 3 seconds in my mind!"

    Whilst I agree with most of the auDA policy not giving them a reasonable chance of appeal is inexcusable. Even though they have since been found not to have the rights to that name they should still have been given the correct time frame to appeal.

    Imagine if our courts did this "Well your probably guilty so we can skip the trial". Even if the suspect was later found to actually be guilty there would still be huge public outcry; and rightfully so. There is no excuse for skipping due process. Penalising someone on assumption of guilt is never ok in my mind.

    Comment by Dan Buzzard on 7 January 2010 at 09:50
  9. I love parody and satire and see them as important tools of democratic social comment BUT hijacking someone's name (even John Howard's!) for a domain name without clear indication that this does not emanate from them is a gross infringement of privacy and human rights, even if they are arseholes.

    Comment by Harry Dewar on 7 January 2010 at 18:10
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