TELnoone or we will sue!
Is electronic censorship by our service providers, following absurdly risk averse conservative standards, a growing and sinister censorship menace not simply to the internet but to the entire concept of a modern, open society?
In modern Australia we delude ourselves that we have openness, transparency, freedom of opinion, freedom of conclusion and a basic right to free speech. There is a postcard on display in my workplace, one of those free ones with a funny quip or pithy statement which announces..."Everybody has the right to complain!" It is amusing and because we do assume it is the case we immediately think "Yeah, damn right I do" as we read it.
The reality is you do not have the right to complain, not publicly.
If you disagree and think we do have these rights as natural provisions then think on how transparent, open and free you find the following.
The webpages listed below have been censored by Telnoone (1) an ISP I cannot name because they have threatened me that by doing so I will bring their "brand into disrepute" and that this will result it a shut down of my internet. They have informed me of this threat in an email today.
Since 4pm last Friday 7th October, I and my partner have attempted to fight against their first demand "...to remove the following articles and associated links by 4pm Monday October 10..." I've only altered the company name to "protect" it as per their demand.
(1) Telnoone is not the real ISP name it is the enforced censored version. I take no responsibility for any inference made by any reader further to that. I have not named the company in question.
It has been drawn to our attention that content hosted using your Telnoone Business Broadband service has breached our Acceptable Usage Policy as it could result in Telnoone incurring a liability to another person.
We therefore require you to remove the following articles and associated links by 4pm Monday October 10:
Failure to remove these articles and the associated links by 4pm Monday October 10 may result in your Telnoone Business Broadband Service being suspended or terminated without further notice. Please note that this will mean that all traffic using this service will cease.
Our Acceptable Usage Policy can be found at: Link removed as it would expose the company.
We obviously did not succeed. At this point we are forced, under duress, to censor these pages to protect our access to the internet. If I could show you the "acceptable use policy" in question you would find it broadly concerns, spamming with email, sending trojans over the internet amongst the listed breaches.
The ISP in question has been threatened with being included as a defendant in a defamation action brought against myself and my artist partner Demetrios by a Melbourne gallery director. This is why TElnoone claim they could "...incur a liability to another person". I as well cannot name the litigious gallery director(sic) because that will expose me to further legal retribution. The law doesn't like it when you talk about the legal(sic) actions being taken against you. This is despite the fact it is a matter of public record with the Supreme Court of Victoria, SCI01484 of 2011. Legal types reading this might also like to know we have brought a VCAT action agains this person see VCAT case number C5251/2011.
The "articles" (webpages) which Telnoone claim breach their "Acceptable Use Policy" describe an experience where my exhibiting artist partner and I were accused of being racists at our own art show opening by the Melbourne gallery director who cannot be named. This all happened in a public setting in-front of remaining guests at the opening night event (we didn't know anyone by that stage - it would have been nice to have their support now). He kicked us out and would not allow us entry (unmolested) to support our show again.
Any form of reasonable negotiation or use of reason to argue against the charges he brought against us and our art work publicly was rejected. Any recompense or remote chance of an apology was a pure fantasy. We cut our very expensive losses at the time and wrote reviews on this show and our experiences within our own art websites. It was too expensive a proposition to simply ignore, too big an outrage, too offensive and unprofessional an act to leave unaddressed in silence.
We were given advice at the time in 2009 not to take expensive, stressful legal action, we should have ignored that advice. It is our only regret that we took this advice.
We are not sorry to tell the truth and we are not about to deny our right to speak it, write about it and paint it. We do not regret our actions or where it has brought us because it is the truth. It is never ok to give in to bullies and belligerence yet this is what we are being asked to do at every step.
What keeps us so silent in the face of such offensive threats to our freedom to speak out, to complain and tell the truth?
Dark days indeed.