The war on terror and spying on everyone are both very serious business. The war on terror is killing people all over the world, including, sadly this week in Australia too.
The tragic death of Abdul Numan Haidar is not a laughing matter. The confusion, misinformation and outright lies being spread about this young man are appalling. That the news media is buying into it with awful headlines and front page stories vilifying him, his friends and even random, totally unconnected young men should shame some journalists into silence.
At the same time, the rush to cut into our liberties in the name of ‘protecting’ us from a shadowy threat that kills less people than bee stings is also not something to joke about, or is it?
In the last 24 hours a new Twitter hashtag has burst into prominence and it is taking the piss out of Raging Bedsore’s new surveillance powers.
Now that our security services have the right to monitor the whole of the inter-webs with just one warrant allowing them to tap into any computer ‘network’, it seems that nothing we do online is going to be private anymore.
Well, Twitter has always been a bit irreverent – do you remember the wonderful #TonysMovieNight, for example? And this week, #lifebeforeabbott has been trending too.
The rightwing trolls don’t like it and curmudgeonly columnists like Andrew Bolt complain (without even having a Twitter account) that social media is dominated by THE LEFT, but for those of us who
a) don’t like the Abbott government;
b) think the terror threat is overblown;
c) don’t like the idea of ASIO snooping on us around the clock and, more importantly,
d) have a sense of humour
then #HeyASIO is a great way to get your message across while having a bit of fun.
It’s only been active for few hours, but by lunch time today it was trending heavily.
Ethical Martini’s top 10 #HeyASIO tweets
#HeyASIO quick question – what *is* metadata anyway?
— Lachlan Williams (@lawksland) September 26, 2014
#HeyASIO Is that one of your guys going through the bins behind Safeway? Or just another leaner?
— OperationSamidog (@Nihilon45) September 26, 2014
#HeyAsio Can you tell us where that budget emergency is hiding?
— Pariseve (@ParisandEve) September 26, 2014
#HeyAsio What’s it feel like to have lost the respect of the Aust ppl and made a total laughing stock at the hands of this Lib Govt?
— lorraine (@lorrainewhat) September 26, 2014
#heyasio no need to introduce myself! you’ve been spying on me since 1976. I have the files til 1985. What have I been doing since then?
— Ethical Martini (@ethicalmartini) September 26, 2014
#HeyASIO will you go out with me? ☐ Yes ☐ No
— Jono with an ‘o’ (@jono_hayward) September 26, 2014
#HeyASIO where did I save that picture of my cat with his head stuck in the ice-cream container?
— Lady Sonia McMahon (@soniaahhh) September 26, 2014
#HeyASIO I have dark brown hair and brown eyes. And I own a ‘Fuck Tony Abbott’ t-shirt. Wanna back up my iPhoto library??
— Kara (@MissMonty) September 26, 2014
#HeyASIO I have a smart phone and a knife, but I’m just trying to tweet and butter toast. It’s not going well.
— Señor Goat (@Senor_Goat) September 26, 2014
— Team Insouciant R Us (@geeksrulz) September 26, 2014
My Australian colleague Julie Posetti at the University of Canberra has written a good piece in The Walkley Magazine about how journalists are, should and might make use of Twitter as a tool.
Why journalism’s all a-Twitter, Walkley Magazine Oct 2009
Julie’s piece highlights some of the professional and ethical issues that arise when Twitter enters the newsroom, but I agree with her that attempts to stop journalists from using Twitter is over-kill.
It raises a difficult issue though: when using social media, where is the line between a professional and a personal persona?