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Let slip the doges of war: Senator Ludlam calls for meme protest of data retention laws

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has called on internet advocates to fight new data retention laws in the best way they know how -- through a wave of memes directed at politicians in Canberra.

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Scott Ludlam is calling for memes to protest data retention laws. Scott Ludlam

After new ASIO surveillance powers were ushered through parliament this week, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has called on the internet to protest further national security reforms through mass meme power.

Ludlam has been an outspoken critic of the three tranches of anti-terrorism legislation making their way through parliament, backed by both the Coalition and the Opposition.

The first National Security Bill passed parliament this week, granting greater powers for ASIO to monitor entire networks of connected devices with a single warrant. The second Foreign Fighters bill currently before parliament proposes new no-knock warrant powers for police, while the third -- expected to be tabled in 2015 -- is expected to introduce mandatory data retention.

In an open letter published on Junkee, Senator Ludlam has called for denizens of the internet to launch a large-scale protest of the national security legislation, pushing politicians -- particularly those in the Labor party -- to block the proposed laws.

"It is long past time we fought back against the invasion of our internet by digital illiterates whose recklessness is only exceeded by their mediocrity," he said.

"We have until the week of October 27 to persuade George Brandis to crawl back under his paving slab and leave the internet the hell alone. That means...finding 38 senate votes to block his bill."

To drive the change in Canberra, Ludlam called on internet users and digital privacy advocates to use the language they know best.

"Internet, we need help here," he said. "We need your creative, anarchic, no-f**ks-given spirit expressed in a thousand gifs, memes, blogues and vines; hell, even LinkedIn if you want. Help us get to 38 votes. For the next few weeks, #StopDataRetention needs to be ubiquitous, the equivalent of a Distributed Denial of Mediocrity attack targeted to wake the ALP out of their terrified stupor. We can do this.

"Gamers, I'm looking at you. Artists, musicians, hackers, geeks, this is your internet. Defend it. If you can get your crazy meme on TV, into the paper or on to the streets, so much the better. It is time for a spell of sustained jimmy-rustling the likes of which we haven't seen since we killed the internet filter."

As an added sweetener, Ludlam has promised a prize for the best meme -- with a personal touch.

"The creator of the most widely seen, most effective, unavoidably kick-ass meme will be flown at gargantuan expense to Parliament House Canberra, by me, and in the Parliament House dining room which will be weird but also kind of fun.

"That's how serious I am about this. We will share the best ones on this Tumblr, but remember the objective: to be unavoidably, delightfully in the faces of those ALP senators who have only a few weeks to decide if they will stand with George Brandis or with all of us," he said.

"Without your immediate intervention, I fear the politicians are about to screw our precious internet sideways. Don't let them."