[Linux-aus] Seeking feedback - EFA Citizens Not Suspects campaign

Ben Dechrai ben at dechrai.com
Sun Jun 9 15:28:31 EST 2013

Hi LA,

> From time to time, Linux Australia is approached by various organisations to 
> seek support for campaigns or initiatives. Many of these fall into the 
> category of grants and sponsorship - cf. the recent work we have been doing 
> with the Australian Internet Governance Forum and GovHack. In this case, 
> we've been approached to support a political campaign being run by Electronic 
> Frontiers Australia called 'Citizens not suspects'. We warmly welcome the 
> approach from EFA, and now would like to gauge community feedback to help 
> guide our support actions.

To me, Linux Australia represents more than just Linux, it represents
Open Source at many levels.

I find huge value in Open Source protecting the freedoms of the people
and/or the code (depending on your licence of choice), and I consider
supporting an organisation who's remit is to protect people's freedoms
and civil liberties in areas other than code creation as being in line
with LA's own principles.

> 1. The level of comfort in the community in taking a specific political 
> position against the proposals

If there is general support for LAs involvement, but a concern remains
around LA becoming politically active, I would suggest that LA could
takes the position that support is a contribution to further protecting
the freedoms of their members, and Australians in general, rather than
being a political statement.

If it can reasonably be said that the members of LA are almost entirely
a subset of those who oppose the government's proposal, then there is
grounds for supporting this campaign, if any political concerns are
dealt with satisfactorily.

> 2. The type and level of support you believe it would be appropriate to 
> provide - such as financial, in kind through raising awareness etc, utilising 
> the #DataRetention hashtag etc

It's a tough one and, as you can tell, my personal views are that the
proposed extensions to ASIOs powers should not be granted. I would be
comfortable with LA providing financial support to this campaign, but I
respect that LA may wish to avoid political entanglement.

In any event, I would ask the Council to provide indirect support
through the raising of awareness of the issues.


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