Melbourne Free University site blocked by Federal Government?

Update : Australian Networks Censor Community Education Website, Danny O’Brien and Eva Galperin and Peter Eckersley, April 11, 2013: “UPDATE 2013-04-12: Apparently as a result of this blog post, social media attention, and questions from the Australian Greens to the Australian Federal Attorney General’s Department, the block has been lifted. But there has not yet been any explanation of why these 1,200 sites were blocked in the first place…”

Huh. That’s odd. According to the Melbourne Free University (MFU), the MFU website — http://melbournefreeuniversity.org/ — has been blocked by the Federal Government.

Have you been trying to get on the MFU website and not getting through? Yes? Us too. We’ve spent a few days trying to figure out what is going on, and have finally been told that the MFU website has been blocked by the Australian Federal Government for ‘undisclosed reasons.’ Our supplier is legally prohibited from disclosing any further information to us.

We don’t if we’ve been specifically targeted or perhaps others who share our server have been, if it’s a mistake, or how long we will be unable to access it. Due to the quirks of the blocking regime, some of you will find that you can actually access it, but about 90% of the population can’t.

We can’t believe how O[r]wellian this is! This is the arbitrary exercise of authority with no transparency or accountability, or any recourse to appeal processes. We have absolutely no idea what has happened, why, how we can respond, [or] if we should be contacting lawyers! And all we’re trying to do is make a space for free education.

We’re trying to move our website to a new provider, and we’re hoping that that will resolve the issue, but it’s pretty scary that this can happen in a democratic society. Obviously, if we’ve been specifically targeted this won’t work, but we really can’t believe that we have been, and this really is the insidious nature of the process – that we can be blocked by accident, and there’s no accountability at all about it.

So. You can’t view the site from Australia but you can outside of it (so to speak). Why that’s the case is rather perplexing, but no doubt a reason will emerge at some point.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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5 Responses to Melbourne Free University site blocked by Federal Government?

  1. Hands Off Gerry Healy! says:

    So. You can’t view the site from Australia but you can outside of it

    Huh? I’m in Melbourne and looking at the site nao. “Michelangelo’s Fresco of the Creation of Adam in the 21st Century”, “The GFC and Hyman Minsky” and so on…

  2. @ndy says:

    Access seems to depend on which ISP you use. I’m in Melbourne and I can’t view the site.

  3. @ndy says:

    It’s a bit confusing. It appears that the MFU site is collateral damage. That is, the IP address (198.136.54.104) is blocked by several ISPs, presumably on the basis of material on other sites. It’s mirrored here: http://mfumirror.appspot.com/melbournefreeuniversity.org/ On FB the MFU page states that “This is a political issue, not a technical one. We have it in writing that the Australian Federal Government has put a block on the IP address used by the MFU website, and there is no official way for us to query or protest this. We are in touch with a number of people and are exploring various avenues of action. We’ll keep you posted.” Presumably they’ll need to find a new host.

  4. lumpnboy says:

    I don’t really understand why they aren’t quoting and detailing at greater length, or just reproducing, whatever it was that confirmed that the Federal government is responsible.

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