Justin Warren – Electronic Frontiers Australia

Justin Warren is a board member of Electronic Frontiers Australia.



This audio discusses:

For Justin, meeting the other humans behind the screen is one of the most important things about NetThing. Justin has been a life member of EFA since 2001. A few years ago Justin had had enough of the constant onslaught on civil liberties, there was an opportunity to step up and join and do something about it. 

The panels articulated well the bias towards surveillance and control by multiple governments world wide. This current period in history seems to be aligned to authoritarianism, that is happening across the globe. We seem to be sleepwalking into it piece by piece, there is no cavalry to save us, we have to save ourselves. Australia is a comfortable society, this comfort means we see external threats, not internal threats. The external threats are used as an excuse. There are systemic issues with the media on how these issues are reported.

This audio was recorded at the inaugural NetThing event on October 28, 2019.

Samantha Floreani – Australian Privacy Foundation

Samantha Floreani is the Victorian State Director for Code Like a Girl and sits on the board of the Australian Privacy Foundation.



This audio discusses:

The need to get more women and girls into technology, and the importance of building technology by all of us, for all of us. They are building community for women, and to shift the culture of toxic masculinity within technology. They are getting young women excited about technology, algorithms and code. 

Most people use tech in their everyday lives, if this tech is just being built from the perspective of one type of person, gender, point of privilege. Then potentially we are building tech that doesn’t serve everybody. We are also missing opportunities and solutions just by locking people out. 

Currently women in IT are finding a culture in technology that is not necessarily friendly towards women and other minorities. It can be challenging for women to stay included, and HR policies and job ads can exacerbate these inequalities. There is still a stigma associated with flexible working hours, we need to shift away from a work martyrdom idea; and there is a gendered element to this. 

This audio was recorded at the inaugural NetThing event on October 28, 2019.

Michael West

Michael West provided the Welcome to Country for NetThing 2019, Michael has a long history in the technology and Internet sector.



This audio discusses:

Michael’s experience working in IT for over ten years designing government systems. The different organisations and perspectives at NetThing as a great opportunity to connect people up. Indigenous people benefit from the Internet as a tool, particularly supporting education and economic development. Intellectual property is a strong consideration in a digital era. Stories of places needs to be respected and understood, and the right acknowledgement of where information comes from.

This audio was recorded at the inaugural NetThing event on October 28, 2019.

Anna Johnston – Salinger Privacy

Anna Johnstone is the Principal of Salinger Privacy.



This audio discusses:

Anna’s reflections of getting to meet in person various people she has met over social media and through other advocacy. People from diverse backgrounds, technology, community, lawyers, cryptographers.

Privacy is a universal human right, but that doesn’t necessarily have a particular meaning for people. Rather it’s a value, and that gets measured and demonstrated in different ways. The anti privacy discourse is incorrect, but it shaped the political and media narrative, and attitudes are changing. The power of corporates and governments to impact on lives is being made much clearer. The challenge for people who care about these issues is how they organise and advocate, persuade governments and organisations to do better.

The Australian Privacy Principles and the Privacy Act come from the same principles as GDPR, the differences are at the margin. The practical difference are the penalties and the enforcement. Under GDPR regulators are funded and they can pursue strategic litigation. Typically in Australia our privacy regulators are very poorly funded, they don’t necessarily have the same powers as other regulators. It’s very difficult for civil society to bring forward cases to bring change. We are yet to see changes in government and corporate practices.

Forming coalitions with people that have been affected by a loss of privacy is important in helping to understand the problems. Communities that can talk to lived experience living under authoritarian regimes where government surveillance and national identity cards had been affected was important in building awareness of the impact of digital identity card policy (for example). Having something to hide is what makes us individuals, and gives us control over our own lives, we each have some sphere of our lives that we want to keep private and autonomous.

Human rights are not necessarily concrete or tangible. Facial recognition and capitalist surveillance systems, where our data is worth money. Companies are using Facebook to exclude advertising of jobs, insurance, and services to certain groups, this reinforces discrimination.

Angus Murray – Electronic Frontiers Australia

Angus is the Chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia’s Policy Committee.

This is a five part audio piece, summaries of each section are listed below the audio.

Listen to Part One


This audio discusses:

The importance of NetThing as an inclusive and collaborative event to discuss how the Internet is governed. Identifying issues, opportunities, and risks, within interconnected networks and interactions. Angus talks about the diversity of people and views on the day. 

Main concern is getting participation from the broad community. The power imbalances that exist between big corporate and government and how these affect the end users in a capitalistic approach. National security over fundamental rights is often given up – this keeps Angus up at night. Reinstating that balance between citizen and the state is critical.


Listen to Part Two


This audio discusses:

Criminalisation of journalism – journalism is the ability for people to be aware of public interest issues and to receive the facts about issues. There is a broader conversation where journalists have protections over metadata with judicial oversight, citizens should be afforded the same rights.


Listen to Part Three


This audio discusses:

Privacy – a non absolute base right, privacy isn’t an absolute right. It’s not an end into itself, and there are points at which privacy is given up for the want of other rights. That being said, privacy is a right that underlies other rights, such as human dignity and autonomy. Privacy isn’t enshrined as a right, and when we give that away it will have an effect on future generations.


Listen to Part Four


This audio discusses:

Concerns about the next 30 years. The Internet was started to connect people and build cohesive, informed societies. All of the benefit that sits in there are also detrimental points. An overload of information and difficulty in discerning correct and incorrect information makes it difficult to identify truth, and useful communities (as opposed to echo chambers for example).

Listen to Part Five


This audio discusses:

Anyone that is interested in this area should find people to discuss this with, be advocates of their own causes and to start the discussion wherever they might be in their own community. 

This audio was recorded at the inaugural NetThing event on October 28, 2019.

Dr Heron Loban – Griffith University

Dr Heron Loban is a Senior Lecturer in law at Griffith University in Brisbane, specialising in Indigenous consumer issues and communication

This is a two part audio piece, summaries of each section are listed below the audio.

Listen to Dr Heron Loban – Griffith University


In this audio Dr Heron discusses:

Key themes from NetThing are the intersect, expertise around technology – important for finding solutions around the range of Internet issues – you need to take a broad approach in terms of who you include when finding solutions and identifying problems. There is a lot of advocacy going on in a lot of places and spaces, and in a lot of cases we don’t know who those people are. Meeting some people for the first time that have been doing things for ten years, like her, was a standout.

On the amazing success of NetThing is in:

“finding people that otherwise wouldn’t find each other”

Dr Heron touches on her time at the Centre for Appropriate Technology, where they focus on appropriate technology for Central Australia. Infrastructure, management, maintenance, and access are key.

Main concerns are issues around privacy.

“There isn’t an opportunity for people to shape or direct how they would like their privacy to look, or how they would like to exercise their privacy”.

A highlight from today is seeing what New Zealand is doing – particularly around Maori digital inclusion and the digital divide. There are lessons we can borrow for Australia.

This audio was recorded at the inaugural NetThing event on October 28, 2019.

Paul Wilson – APNIC

Paul Wilson, Director General at the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC).

This is a two part audio piece, summaries of each section are listed below the audio.

Listen to Part One


This audio discusses:

APNIC is the regional IP address registry for the Asia Pacific registering and managing IP numbers. APNIC provides IP addresses and autonomous system numbers. They do a lot of work on Internet development around the region. Building the Internet around the region. A global, open and stable Internet around the region. A global and open Internet.

Paul says, we all have a collective interest in the global openness of the Internet. Internet filtering and Internet content management, the opportunity for a global and open Internet should exist. Global policies for distribution of IP addresses, to not build a separate and isolated Internet.

Listen to Part Two


This audio discusses:

The NetThing event comes from an international intergovernmental event back in 2001. Governments wanted to know how the Internet was governed, so a working group was formed.It looked at the fact that multistakeholderism has been the key to the internet’s governance success. The IGF was then formed as a national event, with regional events around the world. 

A multistakeholder approach is the only way to tackle the big issues that are facing the Internet and community now. We are in a similar but different position to other countries, so localised discussions with a global focus is important to help the Internet move in one direction in a way that works.

This audio was recorded at the inaugural NetThing event on October 28, 2019.

Blog post: What to Make of the Inaugural NetThing 2019

By Quoc Pham,Senior Product Manager at Neustar Registry Solutions, CircleID, Dec 02, 2019

From the article:

NetThing 2019 felt like an auIGF but different, in a good way. The way the sessions were prepared and presented provided a more inclusive environment, which is an improvement from the “sit behind a desk panel” style quite often previously seen at auIGF. Internet governance and policy discussion can only be enhanced by active stakeholder engagement, so this was definitely a step in the right direction.

Broader scope of topics

My previous experience of the auIGF was that it usually only covered very technical topics that affected the governance of the infrastructure that supports the operation of the Internet. This was probably because the audience was typically from a technical background.

It is clear though, NetThing took inspiration from Nethui, which is held by our friends from across the Tasman in New Zealand. Nethui has a reach of topics far beyond that of a traditional IGF and NetThing set about broadening the scope of topics covered as well by exploring these five areas:

  1. Policy — the intersection of society, economics, law, politics and the Internet.
  2. Inclusion — creating an Internet for everyone, and an Internet community that is everyone.
  3. Technology — the technologies that build and use the Internet.
  4. Security — cybersecurity, cybersafety, infrastructure protection, identity and financial protection, through the lens of the Internet.
  5. The future — speculative, fun, inspirational views of the future Internet.

The Internet has grown exponentially in the last twenty years and has become core to the way that everyone lives, from entertainment through to critical functions that support our very lives. To that end, broadening the topics covered at such an event is essential to remain relevant to the current and future users of the Internet.

Read the full article via the CircleID website.

From the Media: The Australian Internet Community Says The Government Isn’t Listening

By Cameron Wilson, BuzzFeed, October 29, 2019.

At the very first panel of a brand new event hoping to bring the Australian internet community together, the mood was flat.

Speakers representing digital rights groups and businesses in the technology sector sounded bruised, not energised, as they reflected on how they felt ignored by the government in their efforts to shape recent internet policy in Australia.

“We’ve felt excluded from the conversation,” Digital Rights Watch board member Lizzie O’Shea told the room. “We often lobby to what feels like no effect.”

Another speaker lamented Australia’s lack of “tech billionaires” and blamed a lack of resources.

The panels were part of the inaugural NetThing, an event that organisers hoped would fill the vacuum left by the Australian Internet Governance Forum which last ran in 2016.

More than 150 people from across community, private and government sectors attended the forum, which was created to facilitate “robust Australia-based Internet policy exploration and discussion” on themes of governance, inclusion, security and the rise of digital platforms.

Organisers noted this year marks three decades since Australia joined the global internet via a trans-Pacific link from Hawaii.

“The internet is pervasive and it’s in all of our lives whether we like it or not,” said NetThing chair Sandra Davey. “There are complex challenges and opportunities and they’re too complex for single entities, organisations or even governments to solve.”

Read the full article via the BuzzFeed website.

In the Media: Cyber Security Strategy 2020: Civil society experts slam ‘national security’ agenda

By Stilgherrian for The Full Tilt, ZDNet, October 29, 2019.

From the article:

“The Australian government needs to drop the “national security” framing of its cybersecurity strategy, according to speakers at the inaugural NetThing, held at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on Tuesday.

Australia is currently reviewing its national strategy. The Department of Home Affairs published a discussion paper last month, Australia’s 2020 Cyber Security Strategy: A call for views [PDF].

Speakers were concerned that the framing of cybersecurity had shifted from that of the original 2016 strategy issued by then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“There’s two sort of narratives in cybersecurity and … states align with one or the other,” said Lucie Krahulcova, Asia policy analyst at Access Now.

One is the narrative of national security; a narrative of control, like in China and Russia, as well as in many other governments.

The other is the narrative of the internet as a shared common good and an enabler of civic rights. Under that framing, cybersecurity is about the integrity of the system and the protection of individual users.

“I think Australia teeters on the edge of those,” Krahulcova said.

“I would go as far as to say that certain parts of the government aren’t quite as aware [of] how much Australia sits with the Chinas and Russias,” she said.

“In spite of the cybersecurity objectives which were there since 2016, since 2017, the whole narrative and the way that the government views this space has been about control.”

Read the full article via the ZDNet website.