For the last bunch of years I've done a bunch of work in online rights - trying to stop bad decisions and advocate good ones by working with organisations and independently, writing, scheming, exposing and explaining about copyright, privacy, censorship and online liberties . I always said I'd stop when it wasn't fun anymore.
It stopped being as much fun in December 2010 when someone first tried to involve my employer in my personal, own-time opinions about technology policy. My employer is a very large technology company, and their customers are often large technology companies too, so there was always potential for things to be very miserable if people confused what I was saying off the clock with being on the clock. To their credit my employer didn't then, or in the similar instances since, choose to pressure me to change my opinions or publicly rescind something I was critical about, but it's been a gigantic effort for me to manage not only conflicts of interest, but the impression that conflicts of interest might exist. I kept going even though it wasn't as much fun.
I always said I'd stop when I became a dad. But when that happened what I thought would be an all-consuming focus on my family actually meant that I cared more than I had before about public policy and technology. What kind of world was I bequeathing a child if I had an ability to make an impact on bad decisions the government and industry make now but did nothing because it seemed like a better idea to go for a walk with a pram to the shops?
I then said I'd stop when the ALP's censorship proposal was defeated. It was defeated in 2012, but by the time it was defeated so many genuinely incompetent policy ideas were on the government's books with regards to the Internet - data retention, increased surveillance powers, cyber-safety everything, DBCDE v Social Media Companies... it seemed long before the death of the Internet "filter" that the hydra had grown more heads, so I kept going.
Today, I say I'll stop today.
The site will exist on the Pandora Archives, but it won't be here anymore. I'm not providing further comment to the media on issues relating to technology and policy. I won't rule out the odd grumpy letter to an MP, but at no greater volume than you probably write yourself (assuming it's not you reading this Mark, Irene etc...)
Thanks for reading, thanks for inviting me on your show, thanks for talking to me on the radio, thanks for quoting me (even if I didn't speak to you), thanks for arguing with me on Twitter, thanks even for leaving stupid comments about how I am wrong. Thanks for being on the team with me that stopped Internet censorship this time, thanks even to you Senator for accusing me of something so terribly exciting as orchestrating a deliberate campaign to mislead the Australian people. Thanks to the other Senator who does such great work in this space and the other Australians who'll keep going long after today where I got tired of it.
Thanks particularly to my darling wife who put up with my ranting, raving, and my silhouette in the den as I typed furiously.
13th Feb. 2013