Bradfield Resident

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Archive for the ‘Correspondence’ Category

Tue 08 Jun 10 | To: Child Wise | B.McMenamin quote in SMH article re mandatory internet filtering

Posted by bradfieldresident on 8 June 2010

From: Bradfield Resident
Date: Tuesday 08 June 2010 04:47 (+10)
Subject: B.McMenamin quote in SMH article re mandatory internet filtering
To: Child Wise – Office

Child Wise,

I refer to an article published on the Sydney Morning Herald website:

Filter goes ahead regardless
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/filter-goes-ahead-regardless-20100529-wmg7.html
SARAH WHYTE
May 30, 2010

The article contains the following paragraph:

But Bernadette McMenamin of the child protection group Child Wise said it was 100 per cent behind filtering illegal material. ”Sites are going to be blocked that should be blocked, and it’s absolutely essential every parent is taught about the dangers of the internet.”

Is this an accurate quote and representation of Child Wise’s position?

I note the specification of filtering ‘illegal material’; is that detail part of Child Wise’s particular position, or has it been supposed by SMH? I am inferring from the “Sites are going to be blocked” statement that Child Wise supports the filter being implemented, without restricting it to child abuse material.

I am also concerned by the quote from Ms McMenamin on three separate issues:

1. “Sites are going to be blocked” – from a technical standpoint this is known to be false and any blacklist can only ever be behind in listing any sites that could/’should’ be on the list

2. “should be blocked” – the current definition of “should be blocked”, that is, content that is or would be refused classification, is far broader than many people believe is appropriate; is not well defined (insofar as refused classification is not well defined); is certainly in excess of any child abuse prevention objectives of Child Wise or any other child protection agency; and is subject to arbitrary expansion by this or future governments and possibly even by non-representative groups and organisations.

3. I agree that “every parent is taught about the dangers of the internet”; it is my belief, and a belief held by many, that the implementation mandatory internet filter would likely lead to an actual reduction in the vigilance of parents in both monitoring and educating their children on using the internet, including by parents viewing the need to do so as less important therefore avoiding the necessary (parental) education.

I hope that Ms McMenamin (and Child Wise) are aware of these issues. If you could explain Child Wise’s position, making specific reference to these and any other publicly debated objectioned points to the mandatory filter that you choose to as additional detail, that would be of great interest to me and I imagine also beneficial to Child Wise’s public support for the filter.

Bradfield Resident
Sydney

Tuesday 08 June 2010


Bradfield Resident
bradfieldresident@gmail.com
https://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com

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  • Posted in Cyber Safety Plan, Mail Sent, Sydney Morning Herald | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

    Wed 10 Mar 10 | To: Senator Stephen Conroy – Minister for BCDE | Cyber Safety Plan

    Posted by bradfieldresident on 10 March 2010

    [Note: instances of “BDCE” are mistakes, and should be “BCDE” for “Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy”]

    From: […]
    Date: Wednesday 10 March 2010 00:30 (+11)
    Subject: Cyber Safety Plan
    To: Senator Stephen Conroy – Minister for BCDE
    Cc: Tony Smith MP – Shadow Minister for BDCE, Paul Fletcher MP – Member for Bradfield, Senator Scott Ludlam – Australian Greens spokesperson for BDCE

    Senator Conroy,

    from some time before 11:30pm (AEDT) on Tuesday 09 March 2010 I have been trying to access the “cybersafetyplan” page on the DBCDE website, but, as my browser informs me, “The server at www.dbcde.gov.au is taking too long to respond.”

    How often is this website unavailable? Does the department maintain statistics on availability?

    If the content allegedly provided at http://www.dbcde.gov.au/cybersafetyplan is available in document form (printed or electronic), please have someone in your department forward a copy to me.

    I am also interested to know, since it seems the vast majority of people I have spoken to, or hear or read about in the news, object to a mandatory internet filter, who exactly, aside from your department, are actually in favour of and support it. Indeed, given the severe technical limitations of the proposed filter, I would like to know who proposed and drafted it in the first place.

    I am deeply concerned that the filter, if it is implemented, will use a secret list of web sites, and especially that it could be the case that sites or pages that end up on the list – for whatever reason, legitimate or not – might not have any option to be removed from the list, or even be confirmed as to whether on the list or not. As the minister I am sure you are aware that such a system is obviously and easily open to abuse (either now or in the future) by design, not specifically by the good intentions (or not) of any particular people involved. If you or your department have done a thorough analysis of this risk and its implications, and subsequently found that this risk can, to a very high degree of certainty, be removed, please enlighten me with the department’s answer to this dire threat to freedom and democracy. Without a detailed guarantee of transparency and/or protection (by methodology, not just a promise) from these potential abuses, I cannot believe that the proposed filter is anything other than a tool for censorship; the thin end of the wedge, being hardware, software and processes installed at ISPs, as well as legislation, subject to feature creep, if you will, including unreasonable surveillance and spying on ordinary citizens, as well as reducing the possibilities for free and equitable access to communication (in this case via the medium of the internet).

    As a final note, about one hour since finding the DBCDE website unavailable, I find this still to be the case. A federal government department’s website should not be unavailable for this long without a serious excuse in the order of serious internet backbone failure or sustained denial of service attack. It does, however, serve to illustrate that the government would do better trying to improve access to content instead of actively trying to do the opposite.

    [name]

    [address]

    Email: [email]

    Posted in Cyber Safety Plan, Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Federal Legislation, Federal MPs, Internet, Mail Sent | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Wed 25 Nov 09 | From: Barry O’Farrell MP | Re: Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) AHFA Petition (reply 2)

    Posted by bradfieldresident on 25 November 2009

    [This letter is in response to an email sent for the Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) petition on the Health Petitions Australia website. Postal mail dated “25 November 2009”, refers to Barry’s 25 Setpember letter, and included the 19 November letter from Carmel Tebbutt MP.]

    Barry O’Farrell MP
    State Member for Ku-ring-gai

    Letter from Barry O'Farrell MP (2009-11-25)

    25 November 2009

    Dear […]

    I refer back to my letter of  25 September regarding immunisation.

    I have received a response form the Minister for Health and a copy is attached.

    I hope that the information is of assistance.

    Yours sincerely

    [signature]

    Barry O’Farrell

    Working for our community

    Phone 9487 8588 Fax 9487 8550 Electorate office 27 Redleaf Avenue, Wahroonga NSW 2076 Email barry@barryofarrell.com Website www.barryofarrell.com

    Posted in Health Petitions Australia, Mail Received, NSW Government, NSW Health, State MPs, Vaccines | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

    Fri 06 Nov 09 | To: The Department of Health and Ageing | Private health insurance – legislation

    Posted by bradfieldresident on 6 November 2009

    [This message was posted via the Contact the Department feedback form on the Department of Health and Ageing website]

    091106 health.gov.au - Private health insurance - legislation

    Department of Health and Ageing screenshot

    From: Bradfield Resident
    Date: Friday 6 November 2009 16:06 (+11)  (approx)
    To: The Department of Health and Ageing
    Via: Contact the Department feedback form

    The “Private health insurance – legislation” page
    http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-privatehealth-consumers-legislat.htm

    holds a notice, “This page is currently being updated.”

    When was that notice posted, and when will the page actually be updated? The page also shows “Page last modified: 03 June, 2008”.

    Posted in Department of Health & Ageing, Federal Legislation, Mail Sent, Private Health | Leave a Comment »

    Sun 25 Oct 09 | To: Health On the Net | Fwd: Australian Dental Association (ada.org.au) HONcode compliance

    Posted by bradfieldresident on 25 October 2009

    From: Bradfield Resident
    Date: Sunday 25 October 2009 23:31 (+11)
    To: honcodecomplaint@healthonnet.org

    Health On the Net Foundation,

    please refer to the forwarded message below, previously addressed to honcode-en@healthonnet.org on 11 September 2009, which was not answered.

    Bradfield Resident
    Sydney, Australia

    Quoted text:
    Fri 11 Sep 09 | To: Health On the Net Foundation | Australian Dental Association (ada.org.au) HONcode compliance
    Wed 09 Sep 09 | From: Health On the Net | In response to your complaint regarding the site : http://www.ada.org

    Posted in Australian Dental Association, Fluoride, Health On the Net Foundation, Mail Sent, Water Fluoridation | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

    Tue 29 Sep 09 | From: Jillian Skinner MP | Re: Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) AHFA Petition

    Posted by bradfieldresident on 29 September 2009

    [This letter is in response to an email sent for the Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) petition on the Health Petitions Australia website. Postal mail dated “29 SEP 2009”]

    Jillian Skinner MP
    Member for North Shore
    Deputy NSW Opposition Leader
    Shadow Minister for Health

    Letter from Jillian Skinner MP (2009-09-29)

    Letter from Jillian Skinner MP (2009-09-29)

    29 September 2009

    Dear […]

    Thank you for your email outlining your concerns about the mandatory immunisation of health workers.

    I have reviewed numerous scientific studies into vaccination and have consulted with many groups and individuals, so I do understand that vaccination is an issue that attracts strong views on both sides.

    However, on balance, I believe that there is great value in the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing potentially deadly illnesses, and that it is imperative that health workers are vaccinated to protect both themselves and their patients.

    Thank you again for contacting me about this very important issue.

    Yours sincerely

    [signature]

    Jillian Skinner MP

    Electorate office 3/40 Yeo Street, Neutral Bay 2089 Phone 9909 2594 Fax 9909 2654
    Parliamentary Office Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney 2000 Phone 9230 3080 Fax 9230 3406
    Email jillian.skinner@parliament.nsw.gov.au Website www.jillianskinner.com

    Posted in Health Petitions Australia, Mail Received, NSW Government, NSW Health, State MPs, Vaccines | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

    Fri 25 Sep 09 | From: Barry O’Farrell MP | Re: Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) AHFA Petition

    Posted by bradfieldresident on 25 September 2009

    [This letter is in response to an email sent for the Stop the Coercive and Mandatory Immunisation (NSW) petition on the Health Petitions Australia website. Postal mail dated “25 September 2009”]

    Barry O’Farrell MP
    State Member for Ku-ring-gai

    Letter from Barry O'Farrell MP (2009-09-25)

    Letter from Barry O'Farrell MP (2009-09-25)

    25 September 2009

    Dear […]

    Thank you for your email of 11 September 2009 concerning immunisation.

    At the outset I have to indicate my own support for immunisation. Using the “precautionary principle” you refer to, allowing some infants and children to avoid immunisation can threaten the health of the mast majority.

    Nevertheless, respecting your views and wishes, I have made representations to the State Health Minister, the Hon Carmel Tebbutt. I will keep you informed of the progress.

    Yours sincerely

    [signature]

    Barry O’Farrell

    Working for our community

    Phone 9487 8588 Fax 9487 8550 Electorate office 27 Redleaf Avenue, Wahroonga NSW 2076 Email barry@barryofarrell.com Website www.barryofarrell.com

    Posted in Health Petitions Australia, Mail Received, NSW Government, NSW Health, State MPs, Vaccines | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

    Fri 11 Sep 09 | To: The Australian Dental Association | HONcode compliance

    Posted by bradfieldresident on 11 September 2009

    [Note: it appears that the email generated by the contact form bounced, so it is quite possible that no ADA representative received and read it.]

    From: Bradfield Resident <bradfieldresident@gmail.com>
    Date: Friday 11 September 2009 01:31 (+10) (approx)
    To: The Australian Dental Association – Complaints – National (ADA Inc.)
    Via: http://www.ada.org.au/contactus/ContactUs.aspx

    Australian Dental Association,

    I have contacted the Health On the Net Foundation about apparent HONcode compliance violations on the ada.org.au website.

    You can view my correspondence with the Health On the Net Foundation at https://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com

    More specifically under
    https://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com/category/health/organisations/health-on-the-net-foundation-organisations-health/

    You are invited to comment by email addressed to bradfieldresident@gmail.com

    Bradfield Resident
    Friday 11 September 2009

    Posted in Australian Dental Association, Fluoride, Health On the Net Foundation, Mail Sent, Water Fluoridation | Leave a Comment »

    Fri 11 Sep 09 | To: Health On the Net Foundation | Australian Dental Association (ada.org.au) HONcode compliance

    Posted by bradfieldresident on 11 September 2009

    [Note: the “AMA” reference toward the end was a typo accidentally propagated from the previous email and should, of course, be “ADA”.]

    From: Bradfield Resident <bradfieldresident@gmail.com>
    Date: Friday 11 September 2009 00:39 (+10)
    Subject: Australian Dental Association (ada.org.au) HONcode compliance
    To: honcode-en@healthonnet.org

    Health On the Net Foundation,

    it is unclear as to whether your email is in response to my original email complaint on 25 August (https://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/to-health-on-the-net-foundation-honcode-principles-and-the-australian-dental-association/), to my online form submission on 28 August, or both. I write here assuming the email complaint (with considerably more information than the online form submission) was considered.

    I find some of the explanations offered with regards to the Australian Dental Association website’s compliance with the published HONcode guidelines to be quite weak, especially considering the ostensible aim of the HONcode to improve the quality of medical information published online.

    Principle 1 – Authority

    The “ADA Inc. Oral Health Education Committee” is not identified. It is not a person – one might also suppose its members change over time – and as such I do not understand how it can be considered to be the “author”. As the committee is not identified, it follows that its (members’) qualifications have also not been identified. Additionally, the site does not indicate what the “Consumer Information” section is, which this committee allegedly authored. The statement that “[t]he views and opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the ADA Inc., the ADA State Branches or their affiliates” on the disclaimer page (http://www.ada.org.au/disclaimer.aspx) further clouds the situation.

    Principle 2 – Purpose of the website

    The ADA site makes good on the requirement to declare that the site is not to replace the advice of a health professional. It goes on to disclaim any impression of reliability, accuracy, completeness or usefulness. Although not being able to stand behind one’s documentation (website) erodes the reader’s confidence, it is in keeping with the HONcode guidelines, and I haven’t complained about that aspect of the requirements.

    I have noticed that the website has been updated/repaired since my complaint; the About page (http://www.ada.org.au/about/default.aspx) links to the Overview (http://www.ada.org.au/about/overview.aspx) and Functions (http://www.ada.org.au/about/functions.aspx) pages are now functional.

    However, there is no “description of the website’s mission, purpose and intended audience”:

    • “All information is intended for your general knowledge only” is not a description of the website’s purpose
    • “its aim the encouragement of the health of the public and the promotion of the art and science of dentistry” is the aim (purpose/mission?) of the ADA (“also necessary”); there is no separate description for the website itself
    • You write, “[t]his site contains three portals for General public, Dental Professionals, and Members. / Therefore it is understood that this site is for the General public and health professionals.” Whatever you happen to mean by there being three “portals”, and whether or not one might infer that this site is for (effectively) everyone, there is no actual description of the intended audience.

    Personally, I think these are minor issues and very easily addressed (eg “the purpose of the ADA and of this website is to…”, “the intended audience of this site is…”). However it does concern me that your evaluation drops the bar so low on “necessary” requirements to the point where they are not actually required – either your guidelines are enforced or they are pointless and the overall quality of the entire HONcode accreditation comes under question.

    Principle 4 – Information must be documented: Referenced and dated

    Sources information are not needed, becuase this site information was authored
    by fully qualified dentists.

    Did an authorised Health On the Net Foundation representative really write that, or am I reading a forged email? This statement is completely ludicrous. I quote again from the HONcode Guidelines documentation (http://www.hon.ch/HONcode/Guidelines/guidelines.html):

    All sources of the medical content must be given. You have to clearly indicate the recognized, scientific or official sources of health information quoted in your articles. If you used another website, a book, an article, a database or any other support, it has to be specified. You have to provide a precise link to the source, whenever it is possible and the references should be in relation with the content referred.

    To say now that sources of information are not needed is a complete farce. I would also reiterate that the authors of the information are not identified, but that is hardly the point here. Is it truly the Health On the Net Foundation’s intention for principle 4 to be something like “All sources of the medical content must be given unless the author is a dentist”? If so, please amend the HONcode guidelines documentation accordingly.

    You write:

    The complaint regarding the principle 4 – Date is justified.
    Therfore we are taking care of your complaint. A member of the HONcode team has
    contacted this site about this matter.

    So, we agree on one point at least. Perhaps an investigation of your procedures is in order to determine how the lack of dates was missed in previous reviews.

    Principle 5 – Justification of claims

    You write:

    we were not able to find any treatment information on the following link:
    http://www.ada.org.au/oralhealth/FLN/flfaqs.aspx

    This page contains some information about Fluoride, but not the treatments.

    Again I have to ask, did an authorised Health On the Net Foundation representative write that, or am I reading a forged email? The entire page is about fluoride treatments in all shapes and sizes. The first occurrence of the word “treatment” on the page is in the statement: “Drinking fluoridated water several times a day is the ideal way to give your teeth a quick fluoride treatment.”

    Some unjustified claims from that page:

    • Large numbers of studies over the last fifty years have shown conclusively that fluoride strengthens teeth against decay without causing harmful effects.
    • Fluoride acts in a number of ways to strengthen teeth and make them more resistant to tooth decay.
    • Topical fluoride can not only stop the development of tooth decay, but also make the enamel more resistant to future acid attacks. It also helps by reducing the amount of acid produced by the bacteria in your mouth.
    • While most of the fluoride effect is topical, a systemic effect still occurs, and enamel with built-in fluoride is still more decay resistant.
    • Very high levels can even cause brown staining or pitted enamel. This is very uncommon, and usually results from children swallowing too much fluoride from toothpaste or fluoride tablets rather than from drinking fluoridated water.
    • While these [other fluoride treatment methods] are still beneficial, the safest and most cost effective method, with the greatest reduction in tooth decay is seen when teeth are exposed to frequent, low concentrations of fluoride as in water fluoridation.
    • Because of the mainly topical effect of fluoride, people of all ages and backgrounds will benefit [from water fluoridation].
    • When fluoride is in the mouth, the teeth become much more resistant to decay.
    • Fluoridated water is the safest, most effective, and least expensive way to reduce tooth decay in children and adults.
    • In speaking about Sydney’s water fluoridation, the New South Wales Chief Health Officer in 2002 reported “a significant dental health benefit, by reducing dental caries, along with the associated savings in the cost of treatment.”
    • All Australian capital cities (except Brisbane) have been fluoridated for decades and have not seen an increase in bone fractures or other ill effects.

    Your brief comment here refers to just this page, which I suppose is the one I listed in the online complaint form. I repeat below further comments from my initial email complaint which have not been addressed by your email.

    The AMA site makes numerous claims about products and treatments that, aside from on occasion appearing to be patently false or contradictory, are completely unjustified.

    The site also repeatedly directs readers to, if not a specific brands of products, specific types of product, such as fluoride toothpaste, fluoride tablets, fluoride gels, fluoridated food products and additives, and even fluoridated water, without any “alternative therapy” offered for cleaning teeth and maintaining dental health.

    As a simplification, the product/treatment here is fluoride and its application/consumption. There are a number of documents provided on the website, for example, on the Fluoride Resources page (http://www.ada.org.au/oralhealth/fln/flresources.aspx) that might be intended as justification, however there is little or no association made between the majority of claims made in the rest of the site and these documents.

    General safety claims are also made about mercury-containing dental amalgam as a type of product.

    The medical information is certainly far from balanced. Concerns about harmful effects are, if mentioned a all, mentioned only briefly and in a significantly dismissive way, giving the impression that concerns have been raised only by an uneducated public, when in fact thousands of qualified dental and medical professionals around the world have very strong concerns about the potential harmful effects, and indeed questions about the efficacy of the use of fluoride in the first place. Documents on the website make claims for efficacy of “about half” and even “60%”, which are significant exaggerations at best. Statements such as “There is universal agreement between all the major public health bodies throughout the world regarding the benefits of water fluoridation” (“Fluoride – Nature thought f it first”, prefaced by a letter from the president of the ADA, at http://www.ada.org.au/app_cmslib/media/lib/0609/m16777_v1_fluoride%20-%20nature%20thought%20of%20it%20first.pdf) are grossly misleading (it is an undeniable fact that many countries do not support nor implement water fluoridation).

    Finally

    It is my expectation that the HONcode seal displayed on the Australian Dental Association website (http://ada.org.au) should indicate that the site is undergoing a reexamination. This is not presently the case.

    Bradfield Resident
    Sydney, Australia

    Friday 11 September 2009

    Quoted text:
    Wed 09 Sep 09 | From: Health On the Net | In response to your complaint regarding the site : http://www.ada.org


    Bradfield Resident
    bradfieldresident@gmail.com
    https://bradfieldresident.wordpress.com

    Posted in Australian Dental Association, Fluoride, Health On the Net Foundation, Mail Sent, Water Fluoridation | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

    Thu 10 Sep 09 | From: Barry O’Farrell MP, NSW Member for Ku-ring-gai | Re: AHFA Fluoride Petition

    Posted by bradfieldresident on 10 September 2009

    [This letter is in response to an email sent for the AHFA Fluoride Petition for New South Wales residents on the Health Petitions Australia website. Postal mail dated “10 September 2009”, received some days later]

    Barry O’Farrell MP
    State Member for Ku-ring-gai

    Letter from Barry O'Farrell MP (2009-09-10)

    Letter from Barry O'Farrell MP (2009-09-10)

    10 September 2009

    Dear […]

    Thank you for your email of 4 September regarding you request for the removal of fluoride from our drinking water.

    I read your email with interest and note your comments and concerns.

    There is currently no legislation before the Parliament on the matter of fluoridation of our drinking water but please be assured that I will consider your views at the appropriate time.

    Yours sincerely

    [signature]

    Barry O’Farrell

    Working for our community

    Phone 9487 8588 Fax 9487 8550 Electorate office 27 Redleaf Avenue, Wahroonga NSW 2076 Email barry@barryofarrell.com Website www.barryofarrell.com

    Posted in Health Petitions Australia, Mail Received, NSW Government, State MPs, Water Fluoridation | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »