Response to an Australian ID card

The senate is looking at the proposed access card, which with a name, photo and signature is likely to become ade facto ID card. It is poorly thought out, rushed and mismanaged. Here is my submission to the inquiry.

Dear Committee Members,
I am writing to express my opposition to the Access Card in it’s proposed form.
Firstly, the card is costly as budgeted, and offers limited scope for
fraud savings in even the most optimistic projections.
Previous experience locally and internationally shows such complex IT
projects are extremely prone to budget overrun.
Secondly, the rationale for the card is unclear. The claimed benefit
of reducing 17 cards to one is nonsensical, since some of the 17 cards
are exclusionary nobody will see a benefit of that scale. For the vast
majority, it will replace a single Medicare card, and offer no
advantage. Additionally, the administrative costs and hurdles to
issuing the card are likely to negate any overall benefit.
If there are really too many entitlements cards, replace 16 with 1,
and leave the bulk of people with only a Medicare card unaffected.
Thirdly, the inclusion of a signature and photograph on the card face
will encourage its use as an ID card, even if laws prevent its demand.
Those reluctant to provide the card to a voluntary request will be
stigmatised as potentially somebody with something to hide.
The inclusion of card face photo and signature does not appear to
further any aims of the card as stated, and seems ripe for it to be
abused. Should the card proceed I strongly oppose the inclusion of
this information on its face.
Fourthly, the minimal analysis conducted to date provided
recommendations from Professor Fels group that have only partially
been accepted, there is a need for more considered analysis and a
commitment to implement any recommendations.
Finally, I object to the haste, lack of adequate consultation, poorly
articulated scope, secretive approach to process and the amateurish
approach to date in managing this project. A project of such scope is
extremely serious, complex and far-reaching. To attempt to deliver it
in the haphazard way demonstrated to date is seeking failure and
increasing risk.
For these reasons I urge the committee to recommend:
– A careful, transparent and thorough review of the proposal,
including consideration of alternatives.
– A reduced scope for the card to maximise chances of success should
it proceed, including consideration of removing medicare card
replacement from the scope.
– Release of budget and analysis documents currently kept from the public, and;
– removal of photograph and signature information from the card’s face.
Yours Sincerely,
Michael Skeggs
242 Leura Mall
Leura NSW

ETR as a feature of a car stereo

I just spent ages trying to work out what the feature
“ETR” is with a car stereo.
It stands for eletronic tuning radio, but it was a bugger to find.
Here are some meta search key words to help any other poor person find this a bit easier:
AM/FM ETR/PLL car audio stereo tape cassette CD ETR means, ETR stands for eletronic tuning radio

Submission to Fair Use and Other Copyright Exceptions

The Attourney General is still mulling over the possibility of a “fair use” exception to copyrights in Australia, something the US takes for granted, and makes creepy laws like the DMCA less scary for them. Recently there was a call for submissions on an issue paper. Below is my contribution to the murky pool of IP debate.

Submission to Fair Use and Other Copyright Exceptions

Ms Helen Daniels

Assistant Secretary

Copyright Law Branch

Attorney-General’s Department

Robert Garran Offices

National Circuit


Dear Ms Daniels,

Please find my submission regarding fair use and copyright exceptions listed below.

Firstly, I note that the issues paper states copyright promotes content creation “It does this by providing exclusive economic rights to copyright owners to control certain uses of their works.” I would remark that it is essential that these rights be applied only for a limited time, allowing the entire community to benefit freely from the works when they enter the public domain.

Secondly, I urge the Attorney-General to reform copyright law in Australia to provide enhanced flexibility for end users. Such a reform is necessary to maintain the balance between rights holders and the community that has been shifted in favour of rights holders by the adoption of the USFTA.

Thirdly, I would urge the addition of a broad fair use exemption to existing laws that is technology neutral and that eliminates anomalies in current laws operation (such as format shifting, time shifting and non-commercial sharing amongst friends).

Fourthly, I would oppose the introduction of any tariff on blank media, as these media can be used for many purposes other than copyright infringement

Fifthly, should either a fair use exemption or a statutory licence be adopted, I would urge that a complementary regulation be adopted to prevent rights holders limiting fair use or statutory licensed copying by technological means.

I thank the Attorney-General for this opportunity to comment.