[LINK] So what have we done about Melbourne IT's dirty deed
stil at stilgherrian.com
Mon Mar 20 07:11:11 EST 2006
Good morning Linkers,
There was of course some concern on the weekend that Melbourne IT has
removed the domain johnhowardpm.org from DNS without due process. So I was
wondering what people have actually *done* about it, other than furiously
agree with each other that it was terrible?
It strikes me that unless people object directly to the folks actually Doing
the Bad Things, or to the policy-makers who allow it to happen, then nothing
ever changes. So I, for one, have sent the message below to Melbourne IT.
Now it also occurred to me that when Melbourne IT was floated on the stock
market, certain folks in Melbourne got some very lucrative shares at very
cheap prices. And I seem to recall that there were questions about how those
shares were allocated, exactly.
Since Melbourne IT was spun out of the University of Melbourne, and since
the Liberal Party stronghold in Melbourne it also associated with that
University, could it be that "favours were owed", and a call from the PM's
office was given more weight than it might have been otherwise?
I'm disgusted by Melbourne IT's take-down of johnhowardpm.org.
While (so far) we only have the Fairfax media reports to go by, it looks
like you caved in just because you got a phone call from the Prime
Minister's office -- not an official takedown notice, not even a
communication from the organisations which are actually charged with
overseeing the Internet.
And you didn't even have the courtesy to communicate with the registrant
Your comparison with a phishing site is so obviously "covering your arse
after the event" that it's laughable.
What's worse is that you're not the hosting provider, who *could* be in the
firing line, but the domain registrar. You're meant to be providing a robust
DNS infrastructure, resisting interference and making changes only after
You have failed in that duty, and instead become a pawn of the incumbent
political party, an accomplice in its gradual suppression of dissent.
Australia has a strong tradition of political satire, and Richard Neville's
spoof was mild compared with what's on "The Chaser's War on Everything"
If there is any doubt over copyright violation or intent to mislead, then
that's a dispute between Mr Neville and the PM's office. It is outrageous
that you chose to act on the initial complaint of one side rather that
allowing due process to take its course.
And, if due process *should* find a problem with the content of the website,
then only the *website* should be affected -- not the entire domain. You
seem to have removed the domain from DNS entirely, killing email and all
other services that might have been running. This is heavy-handed.
I am disgusted by what I've read about this issue so far. I'm hoping that in
the clear light of day, Melbourne IT will realise its mistake, reinstate the
domain johnhowardpm.org, apologise to Mr Neville and let due process
determine whether the domain should be taken down or not.
As I'm writing about this issue in other media, I'd appreciate an "on the
stil at stilgherrian.com
[I'm sorry this is coming to a "customer service" contact point rather than
directly to the corporate level where the decision would have been made. But
the only other option for online communication on your "contact us" page
goes directly to your web development group -- even less appropriate.]
Stilgherrian <stil at stilgherrian.com> http://www.stilgherrian.com/
Internet, IT and Media Consulting, Sydney, Australia. ABN 25 231 641 421
mobile 0407 623 600 (international +61 407 623 600)
fax 02 9516 5630 (international +61 2 9516 5630)
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