[LINK] RFC: Evidence for Joint Select Ctee on Cybersafety
Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Mon Mar 21 15:35:11 AEDT 2011
At 16:44 +1100 18/3/11, Roger Clarke wrote:
>Constructively negative comment greatly appreciated, on- or off-list!
Many thanks to those who provided feedback!
That enabled me to refine several elements of the message, and to
avoid the risk of the pro-filtering lobby making mileage from my
The biggest change was to consolidate all of the middle section into
an 'Enhance Consumer Protections' section, and to avoid referring to
content and SNS providers as ISPs:
Notes below on the session this morning, in case it's of interest.
Facebook, 9MSN, MS and 7Yahoo people preceded me.
It appeared at first that the Committee's questions to them were
going to be pretty banal ones on filtering. In fact they got
progressively better, and by the end they'd asked some *good* ones.
Facebook (ex-FTC Commissioner Mozelle Thompson, by teleconference)
was as oily as ever. They've come up with these brilliant new ideas
of a 'social reporting feature' (more or less, tell your teacher
about the content you think is wrong) and videos that explain safety
He referred to Facebook on multiple occasions as "them", underlining
that he's a consultant and Advisory Board Member. (Sub-text:
Facebook either haven't got a Regulatory and Policy Vice-President,
or the Australian Parliament isn't important enough to warrant their
Facebook have a dozen ad-salespeople in Sydney, but still haven't
appointed a policy person. He was vague about the slowness of
takedown of the pseudo-Martin Bryant page, and knew nothing about the
Jo Palmer (Tassie TV presenter?) takedown request.
Thompson claimed Facebook is "the only site in history to ever send
all of its users a message saying 'you cannot continue using this
service until you check and confirm your privacy settings'" - which
he says they sent out maybe a year ago. Despite that, the Committee
members appeared to be not greatly impressed with his answers.
The Australian content-providers' regulatory people used the
conventional line of deflecting mandatory reporting towards an
industry scheme. They did make some less predictable and more useful
statements as well though, particularly when they referred to
filtering as "only a small part of the puzzle".
The MS 'Security Advisor' (who seemed to be just a salesman) couldn't
say whether any personal data from MS Live was sold - 'It would
depend on whether there was a business case'. Even Thompson could be
more emphatic than that.
Thompson mentioned a Pew study that showed that 'kids manage risks
online better than their parents'. I've no idea whether it's true,
but it led to a useful discussion that I was able to leverage off
During the questions about my evidence, I took the opportunity to
reinforce the negative aspects of Facebook. In the consumer rights
area, I mentioned that not only Facebook but also Google was a major
problem. But I contrasted Facebook's tardiness with takedown against
Google's promptness (in the only takedown request I've been involved
with), and we all agreed it had a lot to do with having someone on
the ground here.
I pointed out that the announcement today about an 'Australian Best
Practice Guideline on Behavioural Advertising' (or similar) was just
another piece of plaster over the pretence that is self-regulation.
[One media report on that release is here:
I managed to get the Ombudsman notion (or 'cyber-czar' as the content
compy people seemed to want to call it) nudged across towards the
idea of a clearing-house for information, and a switching-point for
The questions and conversation were such that I felt more positive at
the end of the session than I'd expected to.
Roger Clarke http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au http://www.xamax.com.au/
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science Australian National University
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