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ZDNet Australia Interviews Richard Alston

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the big-country dept.

Censorship 138

ynotds writes "ZDNet Australia has an interview with notorious Australian IT Minister Senator Richard Alston which could even be read as suggesting that he, like some others in the Australian government, has learned a little about his portfolio during his 7 years at the helm. He responds openly about his censorhip regime, lack of action against spam and his antipathy towards Electronic Frontiers Australia but refuses to get into details on cyberterrorism response and security expenditure."

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138 comments

wow i always get (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779032)

first pissst

Re:wow i always get (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779182)

You can have your first pissst. I get to lick some sweet, sweet pussy tonight...

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779033)

fp

First Mick Jagger Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779035)

Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith
And I was 'round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain
I rode a tank
Held a general's rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
I shouted out,
"Who killed the Kennedys?"
When after all
It was you and me
Let me please introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game
Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
'Cause I'm in need of some restraint
So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I'll lay your soul to waste, um yeah
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, um yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, um mean it, get down
Woo, who
Oh yeah, get on down
Oh yeah
Oh yeah!
Tell me baby, what's my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, what's my name
I tell you one time, you're to blame

Alston's an Idiot (2)

laptop006 (37721) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779042)

But it's actually a hard job with the consumers wanting the impossible ("It must be our RIGHT to have FREE UNLIMITED broadband") and the telco's & ISP's (unsurprisingly) unwilling to give it.

Re:Alston's an Idiot (2)

darkov (261309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779144)

But it's actually a hard job with the consumers wanting the impossible ("It must be our RIGHT to have FREE UNLIMITED broadband")

Exactly, who ever heard of something really useful that benefits the community, but expensive, being available for free. Like free roads. Or free education. Or free healthcare.

Re:Alston's an Idiot (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779198)

I recall paying for all of these roads and my education. Fancy that.
Now who has ever heard of free taxes? I want some of those.

Re:Alston's an Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779243)

So what your parent poster was suggesting was: partially fund broadband provision from taxes. That's something that this Alston guy could look at.

Re:Alston's an Idiot (4, Insightful)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779260)

Exactly, who ever heard of something really useful that benefits the community, but expensive, being available for free. Like free roads. Or free education. Or free healthcare.

Free electricity? Nope.

Free telephones? Nope.

Free air conditioning? Nope.

Nothing is free; it all has to be paid for somewhere. All the things you mentioned are paid for, by the taxpayer. The only people clamouring for anything "free" are the ones who have made the deliberate decision that taxpayer-funding will result in them getting more from the system than they have contributed, i.e. they want their personal luxuries to be subsidized by other people's work.

Re:Alston's an Idiot (2)

tconnors (91126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779282)


But it's actually a hard job with the consumers wanting the impossible ("It must be our RIGHT to have FREE UNLIMITED broadband")

Exactly, who ever heard of something really useful that benefits the community, but expensive, being available for free. Like free roads. Or free education. Or free healthcare.


Yeah. Roads are fairly essential. Edumacation is pretty darn essential for a working society. Healthcare is essential (even if American's don't think so). I think broadband is in a different category. I certainly don't want to pay for your pr0n viewing pleasures with _my_ taxes.

Re:Alston's an Idiot (2)

darkov (261309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779525)

I certainly don't want to pay for your pr0n viewing pleasures with _my_ taxes.

You're starting to sound a bit like Mr. Alston. Keep in mind that roads, education, healthcare, etc all indirectly contribute to the manufacture and delivery of porn. Your taxes have already paid for other people's pleasure.

No, Alston is just undead (1)

allrong (445675) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779159)

Alston looks like a walking cadaver and maybe that explains his lack of policies. Seriously, the current Australian government never compares itself with Asia, so Korean statistics don't mean anything to them. American comparisons, maybe, but beating the Poms (in cricket) is all that really counts to Little Johnny & Co.

Srg. Shultz gave Oz IT to the USA. (3, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779415)

First off Telstra's systems are basically owned by IBMGSA. I have worked as an independant contractor through EDS, IBMGSA and IBM-Biz as a developer/team leader on Telsra's internal IT systems from 95-2001. Telstra and MS are good mates, you cannot get Telstra to intall broadband unless the service man eyeballs an "original MS-Windows CD". Apparently the certifiacte that comes with an OEM machine in place of the CD is not good enough, anyhow I digress.

When two of IBM's board members turned up on the Telstra board in the mid 90's, guess who got the megabuck five year outsourcing deal in the late 90's. IBM then spent the first three years documenting and testing everything. "Y2k & GST & CSG & LNP...", "its important", "gotta be done". "Pssst, Telstra you could make a truck load of your workers redundant and impress your new shareholders". "We will make offers to the key people with "Y2K" knowlage ( suckers ).

Year number 4 sees IBM rewrite just about everything they could and re-arrange the org chart on a daily basis. By this time they didn't need expensive "contractors" ( read Alston's SME's ) because Telstra's systems were declared "Functionally stable".

A cynic might say that they froze development and systematically dispersed the old corprorate IT knowlage as best they could in order to gain control. ( The employees refer to IBM as the "Borg mother ship" ).

IBMGSA called it "diversifying skills" and "new challenges", had grand speaches about "mindshare" and played "who hid my cheese" videos to the troops.

Suddenly the telecomms/IT market took a nose dive at the height of the re-org and everything turned to crap. The result, as I see it, is that Telstra's IT is now stocked with MS cerified TAFE graduates spending most of thier time on procedures designed to "push back on problems".

There will never arise a multi-national IT company from Oz. As soon as one pokes its head up the US boys will just kick the crap out of it. What happened to EDS I hear you ask, well since MS already had the education franchise they went on to do the the South Australian Government and ( I think ) the Commonwealth bank.

Alston is the Australian answer to Sergent Shultz ..."I know nothinnnnnnng, NuuuThink. H'er Comondant Johnny".

Alan Mortimer.

BSc, Computer Science.

Melb,

Australia.

BTW. I do not make any representations for the above companys. But I do appreciate the income they gave me for a while. Politians who want my vote are fair game for comic relief :o).

You guys, you guys! (5, Funny)

netsharc (195805) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779046)

You know what I just heard? ZDNet Australia has an interview with notorious Australian IT Minister Senator Richard Alston [zdnet.com.au] which could even be read as suggesting that he, like some others in the Australian government, has learned a little about his portfolio during his 7 years at the helm. He responds openly about his censorhip regime, lack of action against spam and his antipathy towards Electronic Frontiers Australia [efa.org.au] but refuses to get into details on cyberterrorism response and security expenditure.

Go read it!

Re:You guys, you guys! (2)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779160)

If only I had some mod points...

And whoever rated that redundant apparently hasn't kept up with the latest in Slashdot posting styles. :)

Re:You guys, you guys! (2)

kubrick (27291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779670)

censorhip regime

Hey, if you're going to post a dupe, at least do the editing that the Slashdot editors can't be bothered doing. :)

Lameness (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779047)

6th post! (I wan't quick enough today)

Let's spam him. (-1, Offtopic)

Annoyed Coward (620173) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779050)

:-D

amazing... (3, Insightful)

Gavin Rogers (301715) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779052)


Considering the drivel Alston normally comes up with, this interview seemed to be quite good. Anyone involved in the Australian IT and/or telecommunications industry would be honestly shocked and amazed that Senator Alston even knew what 'spam' was! (even if he still doesn't read his own email)

For those who missed it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779150)

Considering the drivel Alston normally comes up with, the second interview seemed to be quite good.

And, for those who missed it, here is the first interview [msnbc.com]

Re:amazing... (3, Funny)

darkov (261309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779158)

the Australian IT and/or telecommunications industry would be honestly shocked and amazed that Senator Alston even knew what 'spam' was!

He does: "It's what broadband gives you besides games and pornography."

mirror (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779065)

Just in case the site gets slashdotted (it is getting slow), here is the article:

ZDNet: IT Manager | Builder | Reviews | Shopping | Jobs | Downloads Home | E-Business | Security | HR | Communications | OS | Enterprise Special Reports | Future Tech | Broadband | Headline Archive Linux site hacked | Memory FAQ | Xmas Giveaway | Virus management | Security - White Papers! | Geek Trivia | Security Alert Win Console Games | Xmas specials | Computing heroes | Network security tips | Dual boot | XBox Live crackdown EXCLUSIVE: Alston hits back By Cass Warneminde, ZDNet Australia 27 November 2002 TalkBack! In the first instalment of this two part series, Federal IT Minister Senator Richard Alston talks exclusively to ZDNet Australia about broadband pricing, Telstra's service levels and Australia's cyber-terrorism initiatives. ZDNet Australia: Can you briefly describe the state of the Australian IT industry as you see it? Alston: It's going through tough times. There are signs of life. Certainly, what we've been trying to do is to create a lot more activity through our Innovation Action Plan. That's really designed to get a lot more SMEs coming through. Why isn't there a single successful Australian IT company competing and shining on the world stage? Can you name one? I think that's a bit misleading in some ways. I don't know if you should put all your eggs in one basket. In many ways it's better to have a series of smaller companies coming through. It is true to say that we haven't had a single company that has really dominated this landscape, but I suppose companies like ResMed have done pretty well and consistently in biotech, if you'd like to count them. What is the Government doing to rectify this? We're really in the business of letting one hundred flowers bloom rather than trying to build a national champion. That tends to be an artificial construct and unless they come through and prosper in a way that reflects their competitive success, then they're probably going to lose it all when they get on the big stage anyway. How would you describe the state of broadband in Australia? The Brits released a survey the other day that had us in the top three in terms of broadband improvements over the last 12 months. If you look at the stats, then overall we're up to about ten percent of households with the Internet having broadband connections. I think business improved by about 170 percent. So, from a low base, broadband is starting to take off. We'll know more when we release our Broadband Advisory Group report, but generally it's a bit misleading to have a single metric because broadband take up for entertainment purposes might be interesting, but does it really prove you're a clever country? Probably not. If the SME take up rate was higher, that might be more indicative. If broadband for say, research and national security purposes was world best practice you might say 'well, that's making a big difference'. I think it's a targeted approach. If you put Korea to one side as a special case, we're in the middle of the pack, but it's a very early stage of the race. Do you regret making the comments that broadband in Korea is being driven primarily by demand for porn and games? I said that was a number of reasons given to me by senior players here and there. I'm not expressing any personal judgement, I'm just reporting what people say to me. These were not the drunks on the street corner, these were people who have a sophisticated understanding of what's going on. There are a range of other factors. It's a very densely populated country. More than half the population lives in Seoul, more than half the population of Seoul lives in highrise buildings, cyber apartments are very easy to wire up, they don't rely much on the English language so they don't have trans-Pacific costs of accessing US databases. I think it is probably true to say ... that if you've been to Korea a few times, there isn't a great deal to do and a lot of kids do come home early and a lot of parents do encourage their kids to get onto broadband services. Given the Government has always seen it as an industry strategy, there's been a fair bit of subsidisation in terms of cost. I think because ISDN prices were high, it made it attractive to go to the next stage to ADSL. You put all those things together and Korea is different from anywhere else. Have you been unfairly targeted because of those comments? It's the same sort of response we got to Internet content regulation. There was a time when Electronic Frontiers were running around lampooning all that we ever tried to do. I think the Council of Civil Liberties in the US came out and said we were village idiots. The fact is our Internet content model is now regarded as one of the best. In fact, it was held up at a conference in Asia last year as an example of how governments can get the balance right. The simplistic notion that because you can't achieve 100 percent success in closing off any particular Internet site is a reason for not doing anything is not an acceptable explanation and I think everyone does expect us to do everything we can to control paedophile lists and bomb recipes and the like and most of the take down notices that have been issued have been of paedophile lists. What are your thoughts about a licence condition being imposed on Telstra requiring the provision of a certain quality of Internet services to Australians? It's difficult for us to assume that somehow Telstra is acting maliciously when you have outages. If you found that the rest of the world wasn't having problems but Telstra was, then you might be a bit suspicious. But I don't think we're the only country that's had service level problems. I think Telstra has lifted its game in recent times. We said we expected them to get serious about DSL. We didn't want, for example, to find that they were concentrating on their interests in the Foxtel cable to the detriment of DSL. I think take up rate has generally reflected that. The predictions are that Telstra says there'll be 1.5 million connections by 2005. I think it is picking up in the same way it's picking up in other countries. Britain is much further behind than we are. How about pricing. Any thoughts of stepping in there? I'm not sure that's right. AT Kearney's the most recent word on this and they say we're cheaper than the US and UK. You can't just convert currencies. You've got to look at purchasing power here. I don't think price has been a significant impediment here, other than the capital installation costs for satellite [broadband] in regional areas. The Estens report has identified that as a particular challenge but I think pricing levels have come down. The problem is that if there's only one player, they can set their own price levels. You can go out there and say 'half the price, double the volume what are you waiting for?'. But that's not what happens. People often price new services at a higher level and they'll soak up the early adopters who'll pay anything. Unless you're in the business of a command economy, it doesn't really make sense to try to orchestrate a particular price. What you ought to be doing is ensuring that you get competition in there, either head-to-head facilities-based or speedy access so people can be resellers of the product. We unbundled the local loop three years ago, we brought in line sharing last year and we'd be well up on world's best practice on those fronts. That should provide the opportunity for other players to come into the market and offer alternative packages. From then on, I don't know you can do much more. If the demand is there, we can move forward, but you shouldn't assume it's just a price issue anyway because it could be a content issue. To what do you ascribe the level of animosity in the community towards Telstra? I suppose you need to look at it as a proportion of the total. Telstra has 11 million lines and there are about 11 billion calls a year and it receives about 2,200 customer service guarantee-related complaints a day. So you need to know how many complaints there are as a proportion of the total before it becomes a problem. What happens is you get some guy who's just moved from the city to a holiday resort, he can't get the broadband speed he wanted and he says it's an outrage. All of a sudden it's a big problem. So it's a vocal minority? I'm not dismissing it. I'm just saying I don't think we should assume that somehow Telstra's service levels are woefully inadequate. They've certainly made very significant and consistent improvements on ordinary telephony in recent years and I think consumers will expect high standards from broadband. If we see evidence of systematic mediocrity we'll be doing something about that. At this stage though, I think it's a bit premature that Telstra is not up to scratch. I understand that the Government will soon announce some anti cyber-terrorism measures. Can you elaborate on what these measures will include? No I can't. Do you believe Australia's IT infrastructure is at risk? Well that's an absolute question. I suppose all you can do is try to minimise risk but you can't guarantee that people are immune. Do you believe Australia is a target of cyber-terrorists? Is our infrastructure a target more than anyone else? Every country around the world could probably ask itself the same question. In theory, I suppose everyone should assume that they might be and then do whatever they can to mimimise the risk. But certainly, the conventional wisdom that 80 percent of hackers were internal is now overwhelmed by the possibility of terrorists deliberately targeting whole networks, and that certainly raises the stakes dramatically for government. Has the government identified any specific threats in this regard? I can't give you an answer to that. I don't know. Certainly, I haven't been told anything. Would the threats likely be internal or external? Its sort of Boy Scout stuff isn't it, you know "be prepared". You should assume the worst, so you should be prepared for both. I mean, I am not aware that anyone in particular is targeting us, but as we know, these cells of terrorists are pretty diffusive and by definition aren't coordinated or orchestrated out of one location, so you don't know. It's very difficult to identify where the threat might emerge. It might be just one social isolate with terrorist inclinations or it might be a whole campaign. In the last Federal Budget, there was almost AU$25 million earmarked for IT infrastructure security. What sorts of policy initiatives can we expect to see as a result of that money? Where is that money going to go? I don't know if I can really tell you that. In many ways, it's not probably something that you'd want to canvas publicly anyway. Just as it has banned Australian-hosted pornographic content on the Internet, would the Government consider extending the ban to religious extremist groups' Web sites or known terrorist Web sites? Well the current regime caters for the possibility of these things being regarded as highly offensive, I mean if they're criminal then they qualify automatically - it's really then a complaints-driven regime. If someone wants to say that a particular Web site is offensive or illegal, they bring it to the attention of the ABA and things start to happen. I think we'd be reluctant to go down the path of trying to introduce some specific regime for racial intolerance, simply because things vary so much depending on the individual content. Have you identified any sites or have you received any complaints about particular sites? They don't complain to me, they complain to the ABA (Australian Broadcasting Authority). Are you aware then, of any complaints being made to the ABA? I haven't read of any. ZDNet Australia has found one site linked to Jemaah Islamiyah, for instance, which is even asking for donations. Is that the sort of site which could be on the Government's hit list? If it is now a proscribed organisation then it is presumably illegal to contribute funds, so that's a criminal offence then it would qualify under the existing proposal. Check out the second part of this interview, in which Senator Alston discusses anti-spam legislation, Australia's Internet censorship regime and his future in the IT and Communications portfolio. Mail the Editor Submit a News Tip Related stories Alston defends his commitment to telco sector Alston blasted for broadband porn comments Australian broadband survey paints disturbing picture Alston flags inquiry into bush telecoms Tell us your opinion Talkback: Post your comment here Can't we hit Alston back? To ...Throbbed Off Typical bloody poli. Says ...cynic The problem I have with ...Sumit Dutta Tech News Bulletin News & Tech Resources Week In Review More Newsletters... Why go wireless? Essential steps to a secure network Wireless LANs: Troubleshooting tips Why pay for corporate IM? 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EXCLUSIVE In the first instalment of this two part series, Federal IT Minister Senator Richard Alston talks exclusively to ZDNet Australia Print Publications Win! Win! Subscribe to Technology & Business and win 1 of 10 Business Card Scanner worth $295.00 each! ZDNet FREE Downloads | White Papers | Newsletters | Breaking News | TechMails | Mobile Ringtones Security & Privacy Policy | Advertise | Contact | About ZDNet Australia Copyright © 2002 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. ZDNet is a registered service mark of CNET Networks, Inc. ZDNet Logo is service mark of CNET Networks, Inc.

Re:mirror (2, Insightful)

MonTemplar (174120) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779103)

Two points:

(1) The site is ZDNet *Australia*, so there's going to be a delay getting their pages.

(2) If you're going to post the contents of another web page here, make sure you include the *formatting*, otherwise you might as well have hammered your keyboard randomly for 10 minutes.

Re:mirror (1)

Rip!ey (599235) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779698)

"you might as well have hammered your keyboard randomly for 10 minutes."

One doesn't need to read /. for long to realize that many people who post here do this anyway :)

Re:mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779118)

ZDNet: IT Manager | Builder | Reviews | Shopping | Jobs | Downloads Home | E-Business | Security | HR | Communications | OS | Enterprise Special Reports | Future Tech | Broadband | Headline Archive Linux site hacked | Memory FAQ | Xmas Giveaway | Virus management | Security - White Papers! | Geek Trivia | Security Alert Win Console Games | Xmas specials | Computing heroes | Network security tips | Dual boot | XBox Live crackdown EXCLUSIVE: Alston hits back By Cass Warneminde, ZDNet Australia 27 November 2002 TalkBack! In the first instalment of this two part series, Federal IT Minister Senator Richard Alston talks exclusively to ZDNet
Ooooooh - stop
Australia about broadband pricing, Telstra's service levels and Australia's cyber-terrorism initiatives. ZDNet Australia: Can you briefly describe the state of the Australian IT industry as you see it? Alston: It's going through tough times. There are signs of life. Certainly, what we've been trying to do is to create
With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there's nothing in it
And you'll ask yourself
a lot more activity through our Innovation Action Plan. That's really designed to get a lot more SMEs coming through. Why isn't there a single successful Australian IT company competing and shining on the world stage? Can you name one? I think that's a bit misleading in some ways. I don't know if you should put all your eggs in one basket. In many ways it's better to have a series of smaller companies coming through. It is true to say that we haven't had a single company that has really dominated this landscape, but I suppose companies like ResMed have done pretty well and consistently in biotech, if you'd like to count them.
Where is my mind?
What is the Government doing to rectify this? We're really in the business of letting one hundred flowers bloom rather than trying to build a national champion. That tends to be an artificial construct and unless they come through and prosper in a way that reflects their competitive success, then they're probably going to lose it all when they get on the big stage anyway. How would you describe the state of broadband in Australia? The Brits released a survey the other day that had us in the top three in terms of broadband
Way out in the water
See it swimmin'
improvements over the last 12 months. If you look at the stats, then overall we're up to about ten percent of households with the Internet having broadband connections. I think business improved by about 170 percent. So, from a low base, broadband is starting to take off. We'll know more when we release our Broadband Advisory Group report, but generally it's a bit misleading to have a single metric because broadband take up for entertainment purposes might be
I was swimmin' in the Carribean
Animals were hiding behind the rock
Except the little fish
But they told me, he swears
Tryin' to talk to me to me to me
interesting, but does it really prove you're a clever country? Probably not. If the SME take up rate was higher, that might be more indicative. If broadband for say, research and national security purposes was world best practice you might say 'well, that's making a big difference'. I think it's a targeted approach. If you put Korea to one side as a special case, we're in the middle of the pack, but it's a very early stage of the race. Do you regret making the comments that broadband in Korea is being driven primarily by demand for porn and games? I said that was a number of reasons given to me by senior players here and there.
Where is my mind?
I'm not expressing any personal judgement, I'm just reporting what people say to me. These were not the drunks on the street corner, these were people who have a sophisticated understanding of what's going on. There are a range of other factors. It's a very
Way out in the water
See it swimmin' ?
densely populated country. More than half the population lives in Seoul, more than half the population of Seoul lives in highrise buildings, cyber
With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
If there's nothing in it
And you'll ask yourself
apartments are very easy to wire up, they don't rely much on the English language so they don't have
Where is my mind?
trans-Pacific costs of accessing US databases. I think it is probably true to say ... that if you've been to Korea a few times, there isn't a great deal to do and a lot of kids do come home early an
Ooooh
With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Ooooh
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Ooooh
Ooooh

Re:mirror (1)

MonTemplar (174120) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779220)

Dude! Next time, make you the Thanksgiving turkey is cooked properly! :)

My Mind. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779551)

My Mind's gone to pot,but my skills are still hot.

Spinning, spining,feet in the air.

His wallet droped out,alongside some hair.

The courtiers found it,and tore it asunder.

So who now listens, to fools from down under.

Beware, Croc's are trained to eat tourists and water buffalo.

ASDF (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779068)

TENTH POST BITCH

Slashdotted! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779069)

The story is up just a quarter of an hour, and it's already slashdotted! Fortunately, MSNBC [msnbc.com] has a mirror!

GOATSE.CX in parent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779076)

Don't fall for that crap!

You'll have to admit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779072)

blow up a bomb in a city and combine it with cyber-terrorism and DOS against the local hospital-firestation-police-...
Somehow doesn't sound that theoretical anymore...

Re:You'll have to admit (1)

RyoSaeba (627522) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779106)

Well, for that to be possible, you have some requirements:
  • hospital / firestation / police are in networks you can hack. Maybe they are connected to the internet, but i sure hope they are securely protected from outside intrusions, or have 2 separate networks (internal & external)
  • assuming you can hack those networks, you'll need to DOS'em at the same time. Meaning you hafta get ready enough time before the bomb goes off, so you run the risk of someone noticing you 'pre-intrusion'
  • it also assumes hospital / police / firestation can't live without their networks... which is, i hope, partially false. In case of emergency, hopefully people will just use the old (read: pre-network) ways, and get going... maybe slower, but still do respond in some way

Just my 2 cents of euro...

the money (1)

z01d (602442) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779074)

ye, anyone can laugh at him and say: "you stupid.", but he is one of the men who get the real profit. fudge the threat and get the budget, old trick.

Don't know what was worth reading in that (2)

abhikhurana (325468) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779077)

I read the interview, and it was full of nomral political mumbo jumbo. Never say no to anything... just say that we are looking into it or whatever. For example, the pricing and Telstra.... I mean I can't really see what was so newsworthy in it to put it onto slashdot.Slow news day?

Re:Don't know what was worth reading in that (2, Interesting)

RyoSaeba (627522) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779091)

There are a few points noting, though. The one i remember on top of my head is about holding the Australian IT industry back. Alston simply points out that apart journalists, presumably in search of subjects to run, were the only ones complaining...
Apart that, yeah, fairly political thingy...

Slow news day? (1)

newsdee (629448) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779093)

You don't really need to ask that. Just count the dupes.

antoher miror (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779080)

enjoy... Click here! Click here! Welcome to Slashdot Linux Technology Graphics Music Programming faq code awards journals subscribe older stuff rob's page preferences submit story advertising supporters past polls topics about bugs jobs hof Sections apache Nov 25 apple Nov 27 (2 recent) askslashdot Nov 29 (17 recent) books Nov 27 (1 recent) bsd Nov 27 (1 recent) developers Nov 28 (7 recent) features Nov 26 interviews Nov 18 radio Jun 29 science Nov 28 (11 recent) yro Nov 29 (5 recent) ZDNet Australia Interviews Richard Alston CensorshipPosted by timothy on 02-11-29 1:58 from the big-country dept. ynotds writes "ZDNet Australia has an interview with notorious Australian IT Minister Senator Richard Alston which could even be read as suggesting that he, like some others in the Australian government, has learned a little about his portfolio during his 7 years at the helm. He responds openly about his censorhip regime, lack of action against spam and his antipathy towards Electronic Frontiers Australia but refuses to get into details on cyberterrorism response and security expenditure." jnana (519059) [ Preferences ] Related Links ynotds interview with notorious Australian IT Minister Senator Richard Alston Electronic Frontiers Australia More on Censorship Also by timothy Your Rights Online Record the Surveillance Cams Ireland To Check EVerything A Birds-Eye View of Online Censorship American Companies Help China Censor the Net Security and Privacy in the US Death Of The Global Information Infrastructure Canadian Privacy Commissioner Addresses 'Lawful Access' Speaking Out For Free Software In India CA Supreme Court Saves LiViD, Pavlovich DMCA Comments HOWTO Linux Kernel 2.4.20 Released ZDNet Australia Interviews Richard Alston | Preferences | Top | 10 comments | Search Discussion Threshold: Save: The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way. wow i always get (Score:-1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on 02-11-29 2:01 (#4779032) first pissst [ Reply to This ] fp (Score:-1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on 02-11-29 2:01 (#4779033) fp [ Reply to This ] First Mick Jagger Post! (Score:-1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on 02-11-29 2:02 (#4779035) Please allow me to introduce myself I'm a man of wealth and taste I've been around for a long, long year Stole many a man's soul and faith And I was 'round when Jesus Christ Had his moment of doubt and pain Made damn sure that Pilate Washed his hands and sealed his fate Pleased to meet you Hope you guess my name But what's puzzling you Is the nature of my game I stuck around St. Petersburg When I saw it was a time for a change Killed the czar and his ministers Anastasia screamed in vain I rode a tank Held a general's rank When the blitzkrieg raged And the bodies stank Pleased to meet you Hope you guess my name, oh yeah Ah, what's puzzling you Is the nature of my game, oh yeah I watched with glee While your kings and queens Fought for ten decades For the gods they made I shouted out, "Who killed the Kennedys?" When after all It was you and me Let me please introduce myself I'm a man of wealth and taste And I laid traps for troubadours Who get killed before they reached Bombay Pleased to meet you Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah But what's puzzling you Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby Pleased to meet you Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah But what's confusing you Is just the nature of my game Just as every cop is a criminal And all the sinners saints As heads is tails Just call me Lucifer 'Cause I'm in need of some restraint So if you meet me Have some courtesy Have some sympathy, and some taste Use all your well-learned politesse Or I'll lay your soul to waste, um yeah Pleased to meet you Hope you guessed my name, um yeah But what's puzzling you Is the nature of my game, um mean it, get down Woo, who Oh yeah, get on down Oh yeah Oh yeah! Tell me baby, what's my name Tell me honey, can ya guess my name Tell me baby, what's my name I tell you one time, you're to blame [ Reply to This ] Alston's an Idiot (Score:2) by laptop006 on 02-11-29 2:06 (#4779042) Alter Relationship (User #37721 Info | http://laptop006.net...-crap-never-updated/) But it's actually a hard job with the consumers wanting the impossible ("It must be our RIGHT to have FREE UNLIMITED broadband") and the telco's & ISP's (unsurprisingly) unwilling to give it. -- /* FUCK - The F-word is here so that you can grep for it */ [ Reply to This ] You guys, you guys! (Score:2) by netsharc on 02-11-29 2:07 (#4779046) Alter Relationship (User #195805 Info) You know what I just heard? ZDNet Australia has an interview with notorious Australian IT Minister Senator Richard Alston [zdnet.com.au] which could even be read as suggesting that he, like some others in the Australian government, has learned a little about his portfolio during his 7 years at the helm. He responds openly about his censorhip regime, lack of action against spam and his antipathy towards Electronic Frontiers Australia [efa.org.au] but refuses to get into details on cyberterrorism response and security expenditure. Go read it! [ Reply to This ] Lameness (Score:-1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on 02-11-29 2:07 (#4779047) 6th post! (I wan't quick enough today) [ Reply to This ] Let's spam him. (Score:0, Offtopic) by Annoyed Coward on 02-11-29 2:08 (#4779050) Alter Relationship (User #620173 Info | http://slashdot.org/) :-D -- Hmmm... Ok.. Chivas on the rocks. [ Reply to This ] amazing... (Score:2, Interesting) by Gavin Rogers ([ua.di.andihce.rgh6kv] [ta] [sregorg]) on 02-11-29 2:08 (#4779052) Alter Relationship (User #301715 Info | http://vk6hgr.ampr.org/) Considering the drivel Alston normally comes up with, this interview seemed to be quite good. Anyone involved in the Australian IT and/or telecommunications industry would be honestly shocked and amazed that Senator Alston even knew what 'spam' was! (even if he still doesn't read his own email) [ Reply to This ] mirror (Score:0) by Anonymous Coward on 02-11-29 2:15 (#4779065) Just in case the site gets slashdotted (it is getting slow), here is the article: ZDNet: IT Manager | Builder | Reviews | Shopping | Jobs | Downloads Home | E-Business | Security | HR | Communications | OS | Enterprise Special Reports | Future Tech | Broadband | Headline Archive Linux site hacked | Memory FAQ | Xmas Giveaway | Virus management | Security - White Papers! | Geek Trivia | Security Alert Win Console Games | Xmas specials | Computing heroes | Network security tips | Dual boot | XBox Live crackdown EXCLUSIVE: Alston hits back By Cass Warneminde, ZDNet Australia 27 November 2002 TalkBack! In the first instalment of this two part series, Federal IT Minister Senator Richard Alston talks exclusively to ZDNet Australia about broadband pricing, Telstra's service levels and Australia's cyber-terrorism initiatives. ZDNet Australia: Can you briefly describe the state of the Australian IT industry as you see it? Alston: It's going through tough times. There are signs of life. Certainly, what we've been trying to do is to create a lot more activity through our Innovation Action Plan. That's really designed to get a lot more SMEs coming through. Why isn't there a single successful Australian IT company competing and shining on the world stage? Can you name one? I think that's a bit misleading in some ways. I don't know if you should put all your eggs in one basket. In many ways it's better to have a series of smaller companies coming through. It is true to say that we haven't had a single company that has really dominated this landscape, but I suppose companies like ResMed have done pretty well and consistently in biotech, if you'd like to count them. What is the Government doing to rectify this? We're really in the business of letting one hundred flowers bloom rather than trying to build a national champion. That tends to be an artificial construct and unless they come through and prosper in a way that reflects their competitive success, then they're probably going to lose it all when they get on the big stage anyway. How would you describe the state of broadband in Australia? The Brits released a survey the other day that had us in the top three in terms of broadband improvements over the last 12 months. If you look at the stats, then overall we're up to about ten percent of households with the Internet having broadband connections. I think business improved by about 170 percent. So, from a low base, broadband is starting to take off. We'll know more when we release our Broadband Advisory Group report, but generally it's a bit misleading to have a single metric because broadband take up for entertainment purposes might be interesting, but does it really prove you're a clever country? Probably not. If the SME take up rate was higher, that might be more indicative. If broadband for say, research and national security purposes was world best practice you might say 'well, that's making a big difference'. I think it's a targeted approach. If you put Korea to one side as a special case, we're in the middle of the pack, but it's a very early stage of the race. Do you regret making the comments that broadband in Korea is being driven primarily by demand for porn and games? I said that was a number of reasons given to me by senior players here and there. I'm not expressing any personal judgement, I'm just reporting what people say to me. These were not the drunks on the street corner, these were people who have a sophisticated understanding of what's going on. There are a range of other factors. It's a very densely populated country. More than half the population lives in Seoul, more than half the population of Seoul lives in highrise buildings, cyber apartments are very easy to wire up, they don't rely much on the English language so they don't have trans-Pacific costs of accessing US databases. I think it is probably true to say ... that if you've been to Korea a few times, there isn't a great deal to do and a lot of kids do come home early and a lot of parents do encourage their kids to get onto broadband services. Given the Government has always seen it as an industry strategy, there's been a fair bit of subsidisation in terms of cost. I think because ISDN prices were high, it made it attractive to go to the next stage to ADSL. You put all those things together and Korea is different from anywhere else. Have you been unfairly targeted because of those comments? It's the same sort of response we got to Internet content regulation. There was a time when Electronic Frontiers were running around lampooning all that we ever tried to do. I think the Council of Civil Liberties in the US came out and said we were village idiots. The fact is our Internet content model is now regarded as one of the best. In fact, it was held up at a conference in Asia last year as an example of how governments can get the balance right. The simplistic notion that because you can't achieve 100 percent success in closing off any particular Internet site is a reason for not doing anything is not an acceptable explanation and I think everyone does expect us to do everything we can to control paedophile lists and bomb recipes and the like and most of the take down notices that have been issued have been of paedophile lists. What are your thoughts about a licence condition being imposed on Telstra requiring the provision of a certain quality of Internet services to Australians? It's difficult for us to assume that somehow Telstra is acting maliciously when you have outages. If you found that the rest of the world wasn't having problems but Telstra was, then you might be a bit suspicious. But I don't think we're the only country that's had service level problems. I think Telstra has lifted its game in recent times. We said we expected them to get serious about DSL. We didn't want, for example, to find that they were concentrating on their interests in the Foxtel cable to the detriment of DSL. I think take up rate has generally reflected that. The predictions are that Telstra says there'll be 1.5 million connections by 2005. I think it is picking up in the same way it's picking up in other countries. Britain is much further behind than we are. How about pricing. Any thoughts of stepping in there? I'm not sure that's right. AT Kearney's the most recent word on this and they say we're cheaper than the US and UK. You can't just convert currencies. You've got to look at purchasing power here. I don't think price has been a significant impediment here, other than the capital installation costs for satellite [broadband] in regional areas. The Estens report has identified that as a particular challenge but I think pricing levels have come down. The problem is that if there's only one player, they can set their own price levels. You can go out there and say 'half the price, double the volume what are you waiting for?'. But that's not what happens. People often price new services at a higher level and they'll soak up the early adopters who'll pay anything. Unless you're in the business of a command economy, it doesn't really make sense to try to orchestrate a particular price. What you ought to be doing is ensuring that you get competition in there, either head-to-head facilities-based or speedy access so people can be resellers of the product. We unbundled the local loop three years ago, we brought in line sharing last year and we'd be well up on world's best practice on those fronts. That should provide the opportunity for other players to come into the market and offer alternative packages. From then on, I don't know you can do much more. If the demand is there, we can move forward, but you shouldn't assume it's just a price issue anyway because it could be a content issue. To what do you ascribe the level of animosity in the community towards Telstra? I suppose you need to look at it as a proportion of the total. Telstra has 11 million lines and there are about 11 billion calls a year and it receives about 2,200 customer service guarantee-related complaints a day. So you need to know how many complaints there are as a proportion of the total before it becomes a problem. What happens is you get some guy who's just moved from the city to a holiday resort, he can't get the broadband speed he wanted and he says it's an outrage. All of a sudden it's a big problem. So it's a vocal minority? I'm not dismissing it. I'm just saying I don't think we should assume that somehow Telstra's service levels are woefully inadequate. They've certainly made very significant and consistent improvements on ordinary telephony in recent years and I think consumers will expect high standards from broadband. If we see evidence of systematic mediocrity we'll be doing something about that. At this stage though, I think it's a bit premature that Telstra is not up to scratch. I understand that the Government will soon announce some anti cyber-terrorism measures. Can you elaborate on what these measures will include? No I can't. Do you believe Australia's IT infrastructure is at risk? Well that's an absolute question. I suppose all you can do is try to minimise risk but you can't guarantee that people are immune. Do you believe Australia is a target of cyber-terrorists? Is our infrastructure a target more than anyone else? Every country around the world could probably ask itself the same question. In theory, I suppose everyone should assume that they might be and then do whatever they can to mimimise the risk. But certainly, the conventional wisdom that 80 percent of hackers were internal is now overwhelmed by the possibility of terrorists deliberately targeting whole networks, and that certainly raises the stakes dramatically for government. Has the government identified any specific threats in this regard? I can't give you an answer to that. I don't know. Certainly, I haven't been told anything. Would the threats likely be internal or external? Its sort of Boy Scout stuff isn't it, you know "be prepared". You should assume the worst, so you should be prepared for both. I mean, I am not aware that anyone in particular is targeting us, but as we know, these cells of terrorists are pretty diffusive and by definition aren't coordinated or orchestrated out of one location, so you don't know. It's very difficult to identify where the threat might emerge. It might be just one social isolate with terrorist inclinations or it might be a whole campaign. In the last Federal Budget, there was almost AU$25 million earmarked for IT infrastructure security. What sorts of policy initiatives can we expect to see as a result of that money? Where is that money going to go? I don't know if I can really tell you that. In many ways, it's not probably something that you'd want to canvas publicly anyway. Just as it has banned Australian-hosted pornographic content on the Internet, would the Government consider extending the ban to religious extremist groups' Web sites or known terrorist Web sites? Well the current regime caters for the possibility of these things being regarded as highly offensive, I mean if they're criminal then they qualify automatically - it's really then a complaints-driven regime. If someone wants to say that a particular Web site is offensive or illegal, they bring it to the attention of the ABA and things start to happen. I think we'd be reluctant to go down the path of trying to introduce some specific regime for racial intolerance, simply because things vary so much depending on the individual content. Have you identified any sites or have you received any complaints about particular sites? They don't complain to me, they complain to the ABA (Australian Broadcasting Authority). Are you aware then, of any complaints being made to the ABA? I haven't read of any. ZDNet Australia has found one site linked to Jemaah Islamiyah, for instance, which is even asking for donations. Is that the sort of site which could be on the Government's hit list? If it is now a proscribed organisation then it is presumably illegal to contribute funds, so that's a criminal offence then it would qualify under the existing proposal. Check out the second part of this interview, in which Senator Alston discusses anti-spam legislation, Australia's Internet censorship regime and his future in the IT and Communications portfolio. Mail the Editor Submit a News Tip Related stories Alston defends his commitment to telco sector Alston blasted for broadband porn comments Australian broadband survey paints disturbing picture Alston flags inquiry into bush telecoms Tell us your opinion Talkback: Post your comment here Can't we hit Alston back? To ...Throbbed Off Typical bloody poli. Says ...cynic The problem I have with ...Sumit Dutta Tech News Bulletin News & Tech Resources Week In Review More Newsletters... Why go wireless? Essential steps to a secure network Wireless LANs: Troubleshooting tips Why pay for corporate IM? 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Aus (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779082)

A screwed up little insignificant country of exiled convicts with bullshit immigration laws and an apathetic attitude.

And these people actually have the guts to talk about China, Human Rights violations blah blah.

Motherfuckers.

Moderators on crack? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779111)

Why was this moderated down? It's absolutely true. The nation of Australia is a 3rd world country with a nearly 1st world living standard. Why? Because first world regions (Western Europe and North America) choose to import Australia's products (mainly argicultural) over the comparable products of many 3rd world nations. North America, Western Europe, and Japan (whose citizens invest millions in property and business in Australia) are holding up the Australian economy. Australia is lumped in with 1st world countries, but if you compare real 1st world economies with Australia's economy, (Australia's) just looks silly.

PARENT ON CRACK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779254)

well YOU must be on crack, where are your facts neighbour?!?

FIT CRACK ON THE LAKE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779267)

But her mate's got a flabby arse.

Re:PARENT ON CRACK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779571)

Facts about what? That Australia's economy is largely agriculturally based, like many 3rd world nations? Or that Australia therefore has a 3rd world economy with a 1st world lifestyle? You can look up the economic figures yourself. If you still want to deny the facts after that, you need.... something.

Re:Aus (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779570)

You are absolutely correct about our human rights record. it sux. We have 10,12 year old girls and their mother locked up behind barbed wire in the middle of the fucking desert because they dared flee a worntorn country like Afghanistan. I wouldn't mind punching Phillip Ruddock (Immigration minister) in the head.

. . . . Moo. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779085)

ynotds writes "Moo Australia has a moo with notorious moo moo Minister Senator Moo Moo which could even be read as suggesting that he, like some others in the moo government, has learned a little about his moo during his moo years at the moo. He responds openly about his censorship moo, lack of action against moo and his antipathy towards Moo Moo Australia but refuses to get into moo on cybermoo response and security moo."

Fair dinkum, mate?

from the article... (5, Funny)

newsdee (629448) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779089)

Do you regret making the comments that broadband in Korea is being driven primarily by demand for porn and games?

Has nobody told this guy that porn and games drive demand for the Internet in the whole world?

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779237)

... it certainly drives my world

First they ban porn... (4, Funny)

MavEtJu (241979) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779090)

...then they complain about the amount of overseas traffic. Can you add one to one?

Re:First they ban porn... (1)

RyoSaeba (627522) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779110)

Wait, the local web site calculator is banned, lemme go check overseas what it amounts to !

freedom of speech (3, Interesting)

katalyst (618126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779094)

Hypocracy.. why do countries/polititians claim they advocate freedom of speech , when they don't. Certain issues like child pornography and terrorist organizations , I can understand. But, why should they want to censor anything else ? DO they like flexing their political arms,or do they just want to be noticed ? And why drag Korea into all this ? Korean companies anyways have a much stronger global presence than Australian companies.. except for beer ofcourse.... ;)

Re:freedom of speech (1)

Annoyed Coward (620173) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779141)

Because... the world is grey. It is difficult to define what is "good" and what is "bad" in absolute terms. Different cultures bring more variables in the picture. Somewhere, one has to draw a line and express an opinion, and invite fair debate to make sure we reach a common minimum agreement.

Re:freedom of speech (2)

darkov (261309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779148)

Korean companies anyways have a much stronger global presence than Australian companies.. except for beer ofcourse.... ;)

When was the last time you watched the Simpsons? Next time you do, remeber that it was brought to you by an Australian company...

Re:freedom of speech (1)

katalyst (618126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779164)

when was the last time you drove an australian car or used an australian manufactured home appliance ? LG, Samsung, Daewoo, Goldstar are all Korean companies. They may not be the largest, but Australian companies can't stand up to these cos. BUT Fosters(australian for beer)...has gr8 market presence.. no denying cheers

Re:freedom of speech (2)

darkov (261309) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779187)

I use Australian appliances every day. And no, we don't have a competetive advantage in cars and such. But Foster's and beer isn't really the best example. Southcorp does much bigger business in the US with brands such as Rosemont wine. Fosters just had some commercials that everybody remebers.

Fosters (2)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779222)

(Brewed in the UK)

And who's even heard of Tooeys?

Re:freedom of speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779425)

As an Australian, I drive an Australian car, buy Australian furniture and use Japanese electronics.

But I don't think I have ever bought Fosters in Australia under any circumstances. I only know one person who has ever bought it and everyone there complained and ridiculed him.

After you get past the marketing propoganda, "Fosters is Australian for that crap we export."

Fosters... the rest of the world can have that ;) (1)

modme2 (630194) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779851)

Fosters is Australian for beer for much of the world, except Australia, although the Kiwis are probably in on the secret too.. we can't stand the stuff! That's why we export it ;)

Coopers [coopers.com.au] is Australian for REAL beer :)

Oh, give me a break. (2)

El Camino SS (264212) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779856)

When was the last time you watched the Simpsons? Next time you do, remeber that it was brought to you by an Australian company...

Ahhh, that explains why the Simpsons all speak in American accent, and live in Springfield, the most common name for a city in the USA. They also make fun of Australians in hilarious ways... as well as everyone else. But honestly, I think that many Aussies may not have seen those episodes.

I think it would be better that you said that the Simpsons were BANKROLLED by an Australian corporation... not brought to you by them.

After all, those are AMERICAN JOKES you're laughing at. You know. Those warhead Americans. Baby killers. But please, continue to bash away, telling us that were all like our "war mongering president" (and nevermind that most of America REALLY WANTS REVENGE, BIG TIME) that hasn't yet started a war... even after being attacked on American soil.

Honestly, how many Bali blasts do you people need to understand that religious based racism isn't solely directed at the USA, but simply is the easy reference card for genocide?

No action against spam .... ??? (2, Insightful)

LL (20038) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779101)

I'd just like to point out the National Office of Information Economy Interim Report on Spam

National Office of Information Economy,
The Spam Problem and How it can be Countered - Interim Report
, Aug 2002,
[pdf] [noie.gov.au]

While it is tempting to legislate Unsolicited Bulk Email out of existance (e.g. EU eCommerce directives), I think it might be better in the long-term for the governments to recognise the quasi-tribunal measures the private sector is establishing (SPEWS, RBL, etc). There's a test case in Perth at the moment (http://t3-v-mcnicol.org) which the government could take note of and if it gets to the appeal stage, might lead to de jure recognition of SPEWS and other abatement measures.

LL

Quick summary (2, Insightful)

ihowson (601821) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779104)

Alston is still a tool. Telstra still blows.

Alston's opinion on broadband in Australia seems to be "we're doing better than other places". That's not necessarily a good thing. People aren't going to start taking advantage of it until it gets cheap and ubiquitous, and it's not going to get cheap and ubiquitous until lots of people start using it.

personally... (4, Informative)

acehole (174372) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779113)

I dont like him, he's doing nothing but damage to the net services in australia. The government is pushing to privitize the largest telecommunications company 'telstra', so what you might ask?

Well for regional centres the access to broadband is less than adequate and if it is pushed to be a private enterprise company then the new owners might not bother with the regional centres because of the cost involved.

Re:personally... (1)

anandsr (148302) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779138)

Well think about it once telstra is privatised, then they can allow other private companies in the field. I think this is the normal method otherwise the government enterprise bogs down any new companies that you want to bring. That's what was being done by DOT in India before they were split into several parts and privatised. Now I think things will be better in India.

Re:personally... (0, Flamebait)

cranos (592602) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779162)

Umm, why does telecommunications have to privatised in the first place? It is an essential piece of infrastructure and one of the very few government bodies actually bringing any money in outside of the Tax Office.

There is a reason why Alston is known as the village idiot and thats because he really has no clue about the industry he is supposed to be overseeing.

That was such a piss weak article its a wonder the journo didn't offer to have Alstons love child.

And for those who are wondering I am an Australian.

Re:personally... (2)

doug363 (256267) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779448)

Telstra is bound by legislation to provide a "minimum level" of service to bush, or something like that. I know, it's weak, but Telstra is constantly being harassed at the moment because of it, and it does nothing for Telstra's reputation to have bad service levels in the bush. There's no reason why this legislation and mindset would go away if Telstra was privatised. Telstra's service ranges from reasonably good to pretty appaling, but it was far worse when it was fully government owned and had no competition. If you want to see what governments do when they run stuff, look no further than the disgusting inefficiency of the public service as a whole, and stuff like the ATO or Centrelink in particular. Huge amounts of red tape, with a mentality like they've got tenure. Telstra still has a lot of this sort of mentality and it'll take some time before it gets shaken out. And as for Telstra being an essential service: so is electricity, and it's going (or has gone, depending on where you are) that way too. So is the whole food industry.

On the other hand, I completely agree with you on the point that Alston has no clue about the IT and telecomms industry. I mean, had he actually had any experience with a large-scale communications network before 1996 or so? Even using the Internet? I have my doubts there. Heck, most slashdotters probably used a computer before he did, and he's minister for IT.

Re:personally... (2, Informative)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779521)

The main problem with privatizing Telstra is that it is not economically feasible to maintain its infrastructure to the more remote areas of Australia. What would be really good is if the infrastructure became run by a 100% government agency, while the services became 100% privatized, and paid a subscription to the government for access to the infrastructure. Then you could have equal access to the infrastructure for competitors, and no profit-based conflicts over maintaining the infrastructure.

Re:personally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779163)

and the other private companies will help rural australia because....?

The only way these people are going to get anything better than a 28.8k modem is through the govt paying for it. aint gonna happen

Question (3, Funny)

jsse (254124) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779116)

like some others in the Australian government, has learned a little about his portfolio during his 7 years at the helm. He responds openly about his censorhip regime, lack of action against spam and his antipathy towards Electronic Frontiers Australia but refuses to get into details on cyberterrorism response and security expenditure.

Out of curiosity, where did you aussies pick up those people to run your Government? Law firms? Car insurance companies?

Microsoft?

Re:Question (1)

narkotix (576944) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779134)

the luddite escaped from a community of ahmish ppl. (lucky for them...bad luck for us aussies that put up with his backward thinking for so long)

Re:Question (5, Funny)

simong_oz (321118) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779251)

Out of curiosity, where did you aussies pick up those people to run your Government? Law firms? Car insurance companies?

My first temptation was to mention George Dubya Bush, but I'm not sure if you're american :)

But seriously (!), as an aussie who has spent a fair amount of time overseas, this is quite an interesting point. The attitude of the average australian to politics is hard to define - complete apathy is the closest thing I can think of but that's not quite right either. All I can say is that it's quite different from anywhere else in the world.

(Yes, I do realise I'm generalising and oversimplifying here)

All of the politicians and most of what they stand for are completely hated (that's too strong a word, but it will do). Australians have accepted that they care for nothing more than the next election and protecting their massive superannuation payouts. Whenever a politician speaks, they are just dribbling the same bullshit (read the interview carefully - is any of the questions actually answered?) and lies, and nothing worthwhile is actually going to happen.

Australians seem to realise that no matter who is elected, they will do the same crap job as whoever was in power before. If the same major party is elected they'll do the same crap job, if the other major party is elected they'll spend 3 years undoing what the previous government did and accomplish nothing anyway. There seems to be a genuine feeling that if every poiltician disappeared tomorrow Australia would actually be better off as a country.

The upshot of this attitude to politics is that nobody with the slightest grain of intelligence wants to be a politician, so we get people like Richard Alston. You just have to look at our prime ministers over the years ... ye gods

Re:Question (3, Insightful)

hughk (248126) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779302)

An aussie was heard to remark that anyone going to their parliament should first spend a couple of years in prison - it saves time later. Regrettably after a series of scandals, corruption and incompetence seems to be acceted as the norm of political life.

I would certainly agree that politician may be above child pornographer in the Australian list of professions, but not by much. I mean there are political scandals in every country, and incompetent politicians too (who can even be elected president) but the problem of disrespect seems particularly high in Australia.

That's unfair (2)

Goonie (8651) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779371)

Yes, Alston is incompetent, but corruption (in the traditional sense) is a bit harsh. Compared to the US, the level of out-and-out corruption in Australian politics is relatively low - for the simple reason that you can't buy individual votes like you can in the States (parties virtually always vote as a bloc).

The other thing that should be pointed out is that the policies Alston implements are probably not entirely his own views. He has them imposed from above (the Prime Minister and the rest of cabinet) and below (the Liberal parliamentary caucus imposing things on Cabinet occasionally), and he just implements them. Blame the government as a whole, not Alston. He's just the schmuck that drew the short straw.

Re:That's unfair (1)

kubrick (27291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779707)

Re: corruption, a number of them were caught rorting their travel expenses, including one who got off because he had a note from his doctor saying that he only had three months to live. (This was a few years ago now.) The only reason they stopped flinging those accusations back and forth was because Nick Sherry's suicide attempt gave them an excuse... too many people being damaged on both sides, and neither side wanted any more blood drawn, figuratively or literally.

I don't imagine pork-barrelling your party's electorates really counts as corruption, but it's pretty odious at the best of times, and both parties have been guilty of it (the 'sports rorts' affair for Labour, the Federation Fund for the Liberals).

Also, Howard's "Code of Ministerial Conduct", introduced after he took office, was a bit of a laugh, as it kept on being violated and he wouldn't do anything to the guilty parties. His Resources Minister owned a load of coal shares and his Small Business Minister ran a few shopping centres on the side.

There's always Crikey [crikey.com.au] if you want more, mostly true, dirt on Aussie politics.

Re:That's unfair (2)

simong_oz (321118) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779843)

Don't forget such great moments as:

[in no particular order other than the one I remember them in]

* Paul Keating & his pig farm
* Joh Bjelke-Peterson (pretty much every time he opened his mouth)
* Bob Hawke - "By 1990 no child will live in poverty"
* Bob and Blanche
* Bob Hawke playing cricket with the PM's XI
* Little Johnny playing cricket with the PM's XI
* WA Inc, Alan "I'm not your bitch" Bond, Laurie Connell and Christopher "wheezey" Skase
* Jeff Kennett's regime
* Pauline Hanson and One Nation
* Senator Brian "Don't let me catch you looking at naughty pictures" Harradine
* The speaker of the house who got an enormous injury payout because he fell off his bike

wait, maybe I do understand where all that political apathy comes from ...

Re:Question (2)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779352)

nobody with the slightest grain of intelligence wants to be a politician

Hey, Abraham Lincoln was pretty cool! (grin)

Trust me, people though politicians were tools back then, too. It's an American vice to think that you can rag on a profession like politicking or teaching and expect it to magically improve. Then again, the criticism liberates us from responsibility for our political apathy.

Re:Question (2)

Rasta Prefect (250915) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779821)

All of the politicians and most of what they stand for are completely hated (that's too strong a word, but it will do). Australians have accepted that they care for nothing more than the next election and protecting their massive superannuation payouts. Whenever a politician speaks, they are just dribbling the same bullshit (read the interview carefully - is any of the questions actually answered?) and lies, and nothing worthwhile is actually going to happen.

Funny, this is how quite a few Americans feel about our politics, particularly after the last election...

Re:Question (1, Funny)

poo203 (305282) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779305)

dude...the same place you get your politicians....the universal pool of slime.....

Re:Question (3, Informative)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779683)

Out of curiosity, where did you aussies pick up those people to run your Government?

Disclaimer: IANAA (I am not an Australian).

The ministers that make up the Australian Cabinet are selected from the elected Members of Parliament in the ruling party. I imagine that they are chosen by the Prime Minister in consultation with his party. As in many other UK-style parliamentary democracies (ie England, Canada, etc.) there is little public input into the selection of ministers--though unpopular choices will often be shuffled off into other posts fairly quickly.

Deputy ministers hold unelected staff position, and they are usually the ones that actually have a good understanding of the portfolio and deal with it on a day-to-day basis. Some ministers are more clued-in than others.

There is no equivalent to the Senate confirmation process that exists in the United States, which is something of a mixed blessing. There isn't any public debate about choice of ministers. On the bright side, you have to option of not reelecting particularly annoying Ministers.

The system has its flaws--but it does mean that anyone who holds a cabinet post has had to win an election. In the States, I note that the current Attorney General was nominated shortly after losing his election bid to a dead man. (In principle, IIRC Ministers do not have to be sitting Members of Parliament, but this is almost unheard-of. A Minister without a seat would not be able to speak during government debates--utterly a sitting duck. The Opposition would eat him alive.)

Going to censor this? (1)

nobody knows my name (630152) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779140)

Are they going to censor Yer Sex [tilegarden.com] ? If so, I dont know how the hell I am going to find out what I am.

more background information for ppl (1)

narkotix (576944) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779146)

http://www.whirlpool.net.au is where us aussie ppl have our bitch session about the state of broadband in oz. It contains all of the blunders by telco's that we have put up with for the last few years!

Many ISP's is better than one big ISP. (3, Insightful)

dagg (153577) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779153)

Q. Why isn't there a single successful Australian IT company competing and shining on the world stage? Can you name one?

A. I think that's a bit misleading in some ways. I don't know if you should put all your eggs in one basket. In many ways it's better to have a series of smaller companies coming through.

... That is truncated. I agree with that statement. The net was probably better off in the US when there were many small ISP's (rather than just AOL, AT&T, etc).

--

your sex in america [tilegarden.com]

Australian Beer Joke (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779177)

Why do the Australians call Castlemaine "XXXX"?
Because they can't spell "beer".

Re:Australian Beer Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779405)

Why do the Australians call Castlemaine "XXXX"? Because they can't spell "beer".

Castlemaine is Queensland beer and the joke is, "Why do Queenslanders call their beer XXXX?"

drongo

omicoo--

Re:Australian Beer Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779423)

Thanks for the correction, drongo. :-) Constructive criticism is always welcome. Is that an Aboriginal name?

Re:Australian Beer Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779427)

If you'd ever tasted XXXX, you'd realise it stood for something a whole lot less flattering than beer.

Jokes on you. (1)

Rip!ey (599235) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779739)

Why do the Australians call Castlemaine "XXXX"? Because they can't spell "beer".

Actually mate, nobody here drinks that shit. We export the lot. We name it "XXXX" because we don't know how to spell "cats piss" in any foreign languages.

Re:Jokes on you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779749)

Irony gets lost on some people.

Information on Senator Alston (1, Informative)

Sex_On_The_Beach (621587) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779178)

For those who are not familiar with the infamous Senator, his profile can be seen here [dcita.gov.au] .

Eat me like a sausage!

Re:Information on Senator Alston (0)

Sex_On_The_Beach (621587) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779184)

./ his page!! He won't know what hit him.

Hey Diddle Diddle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779231)

Hey diddle diddle,
The cat did a piddle,
All over the kitchen floor,
The little dog laughed to see such fun,
So the cat did a little bit more.

The full story (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779283)

For those overseas readers who dont know, senator alston is the minister for technology in Australia, he has copped alot of flack for issues regarding Telstra, and the infamous 3g cap imposed by the company on the users.

Senator alston is famous for quotes such as "Broadband is only used for pornography" and "3 gigabits (note bits) is enough for everyone".

He was the head of a 4 million dollar investigation of how spam affects australian businesses. A 98 page report was the output of 4 million dollars of Tax payers money.

I personally believe that he is out of touch with technology, and is being hand fed statistics and information by australias technology corporations, in their favour.

Without the necessary infastructure, Australia as a country can not expect to keep their IT professionals in Australia.

Re:The full story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779316)

A 98 page report was the output of 4 million dollars of Tax payers money.
So if it had been a 400 page report would you be happy?

Sheep rhyme for you Australians (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779293)

Mary had a little lamb,
She tied it too a pylon,
10,000 volts went up its bum,
And turned its wool to nylon.

Alston.. (1)

jamesjw (213986) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779307)

Alston should simply not be in the role he is in, somebody with a 'clue' should be.

I rarely rant, but I truely think his attitude is 'ignorance is bliss'.

Stupid amounts of Tax payers money is wasted on reports that seem to favor the big T (Also know as Telstra) One can be cynical into thinking this is done to "fatten up" Telstra for the rest of it to be sold to the public as shares.

For those who dont know, and its probably been covered above, Telstra is the largest telecomminications and data carrier in Australia - Has a Monopoly on 80% of all comms infastructure, originally owned by the Taxpayers of Australia, the government saw it fit to sell it back to us!!
1/3 of Telstra remains in Government hands.

Genius, like it to you buying a VCR, somebody stealing it from you and then offering you to buy it from them, effectivly paying for it again..

Crazyness..

Do the imperfect? or don't do the imperfect (2, Interesting)

stephendavies (613413) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779312)

When Alston's asked about censorship, he makes this comment:
The simplistic notion that because you can't achieve 100 percent success in closing off any particular Internet site is a reason for not doing anything is not an acceptable explanation
(and similar words at the start of part 2)

It looks like he views the imperfect solution as superior to doing nothing.

But when asked about spam, and plans to legislate about that, he says:
If it's interfering with the critical infrastructure I suppose yes, but if it's interfering with normal commerce - well, you do what you can. But you don't want draconian solutions that are worse than the problem. It's a nuisance at the moment but if it started to clog up the system then we might have a very different view.
(Really not sure exactly HOW much spam would be "clogging up the system"!)

These statement seem inconsistent to me. What do others think?

Tacit agreement between gov. and "community" (2)

Goonie (8651) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779391)

Alston and the rest of the government almost certainly know the internet censorship system doesn't work. However, they don't care. It was only ever about placating a nutball Christian fundy Tasmanian Independent Senator in the (misguided) hope that he'd support the privatisation of Telstra, and to a lesser extent keeping the nutball Christan fundies in his own party happy. They believe the problem is solved, all the local pr0n moves its hosting offshore, everybody and their uncle keeps on downloading pornography of every kind, Telstra itself keeps running a full feed of usenet porn groups. Everyone is happy.

To reply to your actual point, yes it's a complete contradiction. However, the sector of the population who care about IT policy (beyond the ridiculous debate about "selling Telstra") is vanishingly small, and probably vote solidly Labor anyway. So Alston can do what he pleases on every other IT and communications issue.

Filtering of Web good - Filtering Spam bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779330)

Alston believes that imperfect "content regulation legislation" is better than nothing - it won't stop "smart young kids." But with regards so spam he says "But you don't want draconian solutions that are worse than the problem."

It's not difficult have a law banning spam in the same way that there is "a law banning murder" and IMHO there are thousands of people who would be willing to help the Australian government if they decided to invest money in writing (gpl?) spam filtering software and distributing it to all ISPs in the country.

As an aside does the content regulation legislation criminalise smart young kids?

As a further asside - do Australians not get porn spam?

Ronan
-- I can't remember my nick/password.

He's learned "a little"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779390)


s/he's learned a little/he's learned little/

The Truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4779589)

All Politicians are Assholes.

£29 unlimited broadband (2, Insightful)

natslovR (530503) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779633)

Im an Australian living in London and suffered under Australia's broadband reigme for many years before moving here (during the days of the 100meg per month 'external' caps on telstra for example as well as during the introduction of their 3gig cap)

While a lot of slashdot readers won't appreciate this, I read that article over my £29 unlimited broadband connection. That's not cheap for England, nor is it unusual.

To even start to pretend that Australia's broadband is better than what is available in England is a load of rubbish. For less than the price of a full-priced computer game or a full priced DVD i have unlimited broadband. The same price in Australia gives me access to a continually failing service with a 3gig cap. If i want to download more than 3gig on the major provider i'm looking at a bill four times the monthly cost. Pretending that 'purchasing power' has something to do with the perceived value of broadband is a load of rubbish. Not only is the broadband deal in England far superior than in Australia on a 'purchasing power' basis but it's far better when just doing a direct currency conversion.

Re:£29 unlimited broadband (2)

perky (106880) | more than 11 years ago | (#4779872)

You might have spotted the following subtle differences between Britain and Australia:

o Australia is slightly smaller than America, but has a population of 20 million.

o Britain is slightly smaller than Oregon and has a population of 60 million

o Britain has a large amount of transatlatic bandwidth installed, and is conveniently next door to continental Europe.

o Australia is fscking miles from anywhere.


Now taking the above facts into consideration perhaps you could think about why broadband access is more expensive in Australia than London? You might also consider that when I am at home 30 minutes ride from Charing Cross on good old Connex South East, I cannot get broad band. That's right: scarcely outside the M25 and broadband connections are simply not available.

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