The #Nocleanfeed campaign, DoS and political nous

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The #Nocleanfeed (aka, #OpenInternet) movement won’t succeed in blocking the Australian Government’s filter because its leadership are captured by the dead-end Democrats and fringe libertarians with little political campaigning experience. This capture means that unfortunately the movement is receiving ill-informed political counsel from serial Democrat losers like elitist apparent drug-taker Kathryn Crosby (links to screenshots now that Twitter is password protected) and Geordie Guy.

(Disclosure: I have had public disagreements with both Kathryn and Geordie over the campaign direction. Further disclosure: I am a member of the ALP. Final disclosure: I oppose the internet filter proposed by the Federal Government, and have written about it here.)

Why do I think the #Nocleanfeed campaign won’t succeed? Because they are obsessed with issues that actively marginalise them from the broard-based messaging and campaigning needed to succeed.

I think “comms_consult” summarised the problem quite well here:

From those on the side trying to stop the filter, you basically represent some territory educated net savvy twitter users. You’e lost parents worried about the amount of time their kids proficiently spend on the net. Conservative religious lobbies are making huge gains whipping up fear, online. You said the filter would slow down the net, but their trial said it wouldn’t. You went on telly and said it would be bad for free speech. If free speech means paedophilia, the government said, well we don’t want it. They’ve got this campaign by the balls. Besides, they’re giving you an NBN, which they think you’re ungrateful for.

The campaign against has largely focused internally, and hasn’t done much of anything to win over their opponents or expand the base. The Opposition and the Greens have publicly supported the against position, and yet there is nothing either can do –  and it polls terribly.

Talking to yourself is not how you win campaigns.

The government’s argument is that the internet is a dangerous, unregulated place. It’s arguing that it is not unreasonable to regulate dangerous content online, as it is in every other medium. It is arguing holds that it is doing something to keep people safe on the internet, which otherwise would be at risk.

Their opponents state that the filter will slow down the net, that the filter will stifle free speech and that it will push deviants further underground. They’re arguing that people will simply circumvent the filter.

The other problems is that the #Nocleanfeed campaign is focusing on Internet exceptionalism.

There is no doubt that the classification system in Australian is deeply flawed. It is outdated. The Refused Classification system is ludicrous and wrong-headed.

But that doesn’t mean, and ordinary Australians don’t believe, that the Internet should be exempt from the laws that govern TV, books, DVDs, radios and every other publication or broadcast in Australia.

Alex Schlotzer from the ACTU and Greens Party has a similar concern about the campaign.

To effectively respond it requires a coordinated, concerted and sustained approach; with a plan for real political action. I don’t mean more protests and demonstrations. And I don’t mean sending more protest messages to Kevin Rudd’s Twitter account.

The other problem facing the #Nocleanfeed campaign is that their obsession with censorship has activated an extreme fringe of Internet “hacktivists”. These “Anonymous” cyber-activists have conducted Denial Of Service attacks against Federal Government websites. Their public statements are profoundly disturbing and often misogynistic. Some of the comments of the group are reported by Alex Dickinson at The Punch.

(It should be clearly noted that the Anonymous group are not affiliated with the #Nocleanfeed campaign, and I understand that the #Nocleanfeed campaign has condemned the DoS attacks.)

Recent polling indicates that most Australians, even if they were concerned about the filter, don’t consider filtering pornography and other RC material to be a vote-changing issue.

Comms_consult has some useful advice (which largely accords with my Key Messaging Advice here):

So what needs to be done? Well, there needs to be a strategic view taken of where this battle needs to be fought. And it needs to be on the terms that the opponents are strongest is on – the technical impacts, and through its flow on economic and cultural impacts.

What needs to be said is:

“Something needs to be done to protect vulnerable people on the internet. However this filter is false hope. Families are being misled that this will provide the protection they clearly want online, and this project is an expensive and misleading exercise in futility. Essentially, this filter is not what it seems. It will not protect anyone because it will make the important job of policing the internet harder.”

This is not campaigning with branded avatars and attacks on the Minister’s character. There needs to be a debate about protecting children online and there needs to be options – including education, or whatever but it needs to talk to the public on positions they would be willing to accept.

I hope the #Nocleanfeed campaign starts taking better advice.

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