Aus politicians puppeted by hackers
Hearty endorsements of net censorship carpet Christian message board
Red faces all round at the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) after a posse of seriously unchristian hackers overloaded its shiny new message board with spoof messages, and the ACL blog toppled over.
The story begins with one sharp-eyed Reg reader, who drew to our attention a large number of highly impolitic comments apparently being made by leading Australian politicians on the new ACL blog site. In some cases, the name of the supposed commenter is given in full, together with a link to their website: in others, it is just the link that gives the clue.
The blog opened with a message of goodwill supposedly from Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, which announced: "Keep up the good work guys. I am trying my hardest to ensure that Internet Filtering becomes a reality. I hope that in the future we can (with God’s help) and some improvements in technology, filter millions and millions of pages."
This is followed by a short comment from someone who wishes simply to be known as 'Kevin' (like outgoing Australian PM Kevin Rudd*) welcoming the "update" and ending with a stirring message: "God bless the ACL, the Rudd Government, but not Playboy".
Prominent soul-barers appeared to include Australian Senators Barnaby Joyce and Kate Lundy, with the latter allegedly claiming that she is "very much FOR Internet censorship". However, her role was "to weaken opposition by appearing to have a conciliatory position".
Family First Leader Stephen Fielding’s name was there, as was that of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, reportedly saying: "My dream is an Internet that is full of safe and happy young Australians and Good News, not one where anyone can promote their views on objectionable topics like euthanasia, promiscuity amongst teenage girls, and evolution."
So has the Australian political establishment finally decided to come clean about its views on internet censorship? Have they mistaken a public Christian forum for the confessional – and decided to let us in on their innermost thoughts?
Er, probably not. We asked various politicians named in this blog to confirm that these comments originated with them. We received no reply from Lundy, Fielding and Abbott. However, a spokeswoman for Senator Barnaby Joyce did get back to us.
She showed the comments to Senator Joyce, and confirmed that the Senator described them as “rubbish”, before adding that he does not blog and categorically denying that the comments written on the ACL site have anything to do with him.
A little later, the same spokeswoman got back to us to say that she had spoken with ACL’s CEO who was "all apologies" about this matter. She told us: "Apparently someone got into their system and set up blogs for not only Barnaby but other politicians."
While we are pleased that this matter is now resolved, we did ask much the same question of the ACL ourselves – and are still waiting an official response.
On the surface, this issue is mostly a source for public entertainment. However, it is worthy of note that an organisation with strong views on internet censorship and personal responsibility on the net should set up a message board that was so easily spoofed – and that three out of four politicians whose names were misused as a result of that spoofing did not get back to us.
The board is still up – but the questionable content is no longer there: it disappeared shortly after the Reg alerted ACL. Also gone is the - possibly hacked - lead message that stated: "So far, we’re finding the comments very eye-opening..."
However, many of those posting are still referring back to what went before – and ACL are still accepting posts from possibly dodgy commentards, including a follow-up from 'Kevin' – and several from a Mr J Goebbels. Subtle. ®
*At time of writing, Australia's Prime Minister was still Kevin Rudd. In a surprise move by the parliamentary Labor party yesterday (or Thursday morning down under), Mr Rudd was deposed and Australia is now celebrating the appointment of its first female PM, Julia Gillard.
background and anon for a reason
Just a short clarification regarding the events leading up to the "hack." (sorry couldn't help that, it wasn't a hack as we all know) Being a bit closer to where the action is, and having some connection with the so-called "hackers" as part of the anti-censorship movement, I thought a bit of background might throw some light on this event.
When the ACL blog came live it was spread around the group as a place where we could make our feelings known regarding the filter and the ACL backing of censorship. A number of posts were originally submitted crtiticising the ACL for supporting the censorship agenda of the government. They were not at all sarcastic and were serious discussions of why the filter was a bad idea, however despite the blog being created for apparantly this purpose, to communicate the feelings of the Australian people to the ACL, not a single post appeared. So one of the posters who's comment never appeared created an over the top sarcastic and outrageous post in support of the filter to see what would happen. Of course it was signed by a well known member of the Australian parliament :-)
Amazingly enough this ludicrous post in support of the filter appeared almost immediately, so apparantly it doesn't matter how mad and crazy the post is, as long as it suports the ACL agenda it gets allowed through, but no matter how sensible, logical and well thought out a post is, if it criticises the ACL in any way it gets rejected. Naturally this opened the flood gates, and J Goebbels, among many others, is still posting away.
Of course its no surprise that the ACL, a supporter of censorship, has no intention of allowing anything like free speech on its blog, it suprises me that they even bothered with the blog in the first place, the tiny fringe group of unorganised evil civil libertarians seems able at will to derail the well organised moral majority, surprising for such a derided and disorganised rabble.
Rudd is a career beurecrat.
His interest in being Australian PM was never more than as a stepping stone to a position at the UN.
Oh, and Australian's don't elect their PM. We elect our local representative, then all the local reps get together and choose a PM, et. al. Though from the bitching that goes on every time a PM changes outside of election time, most of us aren't aware of this detail, which is just how the major parties like it - lets them sell themselves on the 'personality' of one person instead of having to promote what passes for their policies in each seat.
look at me, I'm hacking
...by posting to an open forum!
Really bummed about being dropped as PM, but I've had a fair shake of the sauce bottle.