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Policies

Internet

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.

Capitalists believe that the internet should be treated like every other sphere of economic activity, i.e. it should be completely deregulated and left in the hands of market forces and open to exploitation by transnational corporations and profit gouging. An outright statement of these aims would not go down well with many internet users so their intent is hidden by bogus expressions of concern for internet freedoms, and what has been termed net neutrality.

Net neutrality is a term invented by the major internet corporations (such as Google and Facebook) and is used to attack any attempts to regulate their commercial interests and domination of the internet. It is they who have the most to gain from an unregulated internet. Without regulations to control their power they are free to mine user data and sell it to advertisers and create onerous terms of use for any of their online “products”.

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.

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.

In the international sphere we oppose imperialism’s exploitation of the public’s desire for legitimate exercise of their internet rights, to spuriously attack other countries who regulate the internet under the above provisions.

In opposition to these reactionary policies, the CPA proposes:

  • The 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.
  • Safeguards on the internet for the legitimate use by working people.
  • Accessibility for all Australian people regardless of geographic location or material circumstances.
  • That privacy and legitimate use of the internet be protected from corporate data collection and arbitrary government spying.
  • Improvements to services for rural areas.
  • Affordable internet access for low income families.
  • Special attention paid to the provision of services to rural Indigenous communities.
  • There should be no monitoring of Facebook posts of citizens who are not under investigation on a criminal matter.
May 2019

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