The Internet has become an integral part of Australian people’s lives. Since the beginning of the 21st century it has been steadily replacing television and radio as the major source of news and entertainment. This makes it some people’s only window on the world and therefore a very powerful tool for social change or social control. More and more functions of daily life such as shopping, banking, social networking and learning are performed online. As the internet becomes more essential for daily life, its effective regulation and who controls it become important issues for working Australians.
The CPA is opposed to the arbitrary collection of data on Australian citizens by intelligence agencies with the intent of spying on and undermining progressive forces and interfering with the legitimate use of internet services by ordinary Australians. ASIO and law enforcement agencies have no place monitoring the Facebook posts of citizens who are not under investigation on a criminal matter. We are also opposed to any individuals or groups who use the internet for organised crime or to promote violence. There is a role for law enforcement online but it needs to be strictly defined in law and carefully monitored by independent bodies to ensure against abuses of power.
Governments such as those in Australia and the US see the internet as an opportunity to further control and suppress working people. Australian intelligence and law enforcement agencies already monitor Facebook pages for political dissent and mark people for further investigation. There have also been attempts to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to log all user data for two years. Every site you visit, every comment you make would be stored for up to two years and made available to government spies. Ordinary working people are being treated as criminals.
In opposition to these reactionary policies, the Communist Party of Australia proposes:
- Safeguards on the internet for the legitimate use by working people.
- Accessibility for all Australian people regardless of geographic location or material circumstances.
- Privacy and legitimate use of the internet protected from corporate data collection and arbitrary government spying.
- Improvements to services for rural areas.
- Affordable internet access for low income families.
- Special attention to provision of services to rural Indigenous communities.
- No monitoring of Facebook posts of citizens who are not under investigation on a criminal matter.
- Nationalisation of all communications infrastructure and the development of a public internet utility, which would make the provision of affordable internet services to all Australians a reality.
In the international sphere we oppose imperialism’s exploitation of the public’s desire for legitimate exercise of their internet rights to attack other countries. China is held up by imperialism as the world’s internet bogeyman. As the world’s largest and most economically powerful socialist country, China’s example is a direct threat to the capitalist system. Its continued existence is anathema to exploiters around the world, so is the fact that more than one billion people are unavailable for their untrammelled exploitation. Undermining the Chinese government has become a major focus for the propaganda apparatus of imperialism with billions being spent every year.
One such campaign was the promotion of the Falun Gong cult. Unlike the hundreds of other Qigong sects which operate openly and legally in China, Falun Gong was banned because of its incredibly harmful ideology, cult-like indoctrinations which turned people against their families, the violence its ideology promoted and its ties to Washington. Falun Gong cultists have been responsible for over 1,700 deaths and as a result have been rightly banned as a criminal organisation within China. As a criminal organisation they have continued to use the internet, with the help of the US government and “human rights” organisations to spread their harmful ideology. This is an illegitimate use of the internet and we support the Chinese government’s efforts to protect their people from cult propaganda and murderers.