Thirty years on, it’s time to fix the Internet

By LAURIE PATTON | 18 March 2019

In the wake of horrendous events in New Zealand high profile Australian politicians are calling on social media outlets to take action against people spreading violent hate speech. They could start by banning anonymous posts.

Marking the World Wide Web’s 30th anniversary last week its creator, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, warned of the Internet’s unforeseen dysfunction, telling The Australian “there are a lot of people out there who believe in bizarre things, have fallen for atrocious conspiracy theories and are manipulated into scams”. Berners-Lee added, “This is not just about technology, there’s a people problem here as well”.

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Utopia: the professor, the public service, and the need for change

By LAURIE PATTON | 16 February 2016

In an article in The Mandarin former Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Department, Professor Peter Shergold, is quoted urging public servants to adapt and to show courage.

Shergold is spot on. But before things can change we need to be willing to accept that mistakes are made, even by the best of people. Continue reading “Utopia: the professor, the public service, and the need for change”

Data Retention: How not to introduce complex legislation

By LAURIE PATTON | 21 December 2015

One of my first tasks shortly after joining Internet Australia was to front the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS). Our appearance at the hearing into the (Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015) came at the end of a long day of mostly opposing submissions.

With our president and the head of our policy committee sitting beside me I boldly told the committee that the Data Retention Bill was “fundamentally flawed” and had clearly been drafted by lawyers who didn’t understand how the Internet actually works. How prescient those comments have proven to have been.

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