A satirical website, johnhowardpm.org has been shut down by Melbourne IT at the request of the Australian Government. Two Melbourne IT customer service personnel have claimed that representatives of the Government requested the site be shut down, and Melbourne IT’s Policy Office chose to honour that request without contacting the site’s owner, Richard Neville.
Over two days Yahoo! and Melbourne IT denied involvement in the unexplained removal of johnhowardpm.org from the web.
This morning however, Melbourne IT staff allege that as-yet unnamed representatives of the Federal Government requested johnhowardpm.org be shut down. Melbourne IT, who sold Richard Neville the domain name just days ago, failed to contact their customer or invite him to respond to the Government complaint.
Richard Neville is in the dark as to what the Government’s complaint is or why it was upheld by Melbourne IT. Preliminary research into this matter indicates that the domain holder should always be invited to respond in such disputes.
A request for information has been lodged with Melbourne IT’s Policy Office. Melbourne IT has indicated that a representative from their policy office will be in contact to explain their actions by close of business today.
When johnhowardpm.org mysteriously went off-line a little more than 24 hours after launching, I assumed it must have been a glitch by the site’s webhost, Yahoo. I didn’t even entertain the notion that Australia’s Government would be so heavy-handed as to have the site shut-down.
The satirical speech at the centre of this controversy is available here and is also available as a PDF at Richard Neville’s site.
Melbourne IT have indicated a representative from their Policy Office will contact me today. If/when they do I will post updates here.