The Australian Federal Police, the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC), and one unnamed agency have indicated to the government that they would likely seek to keep using powers in the Telecommunications Act to force ISPs to block websites.
In April 2013, following a bungle by ASIC that resulted in accidentally blocking customer access to 250,000 websites when the agency was just seeking to block websites associated with investment fraud, it was revealed that three government
agencies had been using Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act to compel ISPs to block customer access to websites on their behalf.
Following public backlash, and amid cries of censorship and criticism over the lack of transparency over the
power, the then-Labor government promised to review the power, and improve the oversight and transparency of the process.
At the time, despite the controversy, it seems that internally agencies had indicated to the government that they intended to
continue using the power. A briefing document from a meeting convened by the Department of Communications in May 2013, and published online under Freedom of Information revealed that the three agencies the department had discovered to be using section
313 indicated that they will continue to so in the future.
The heavily-redacted briefing document showed the police had used the power 21 times between June 2011 and February 2013 to request ISPs to block websites listed on the Interpol worst
of child abuse websites , and would continue to do so in the future.
The Department of Communications told ZDNet in December that it was still in consultation with government agencies on the use of the power.
Brandis indicated last month that he is considering giving the power to the Federal Court to give injunctions to ISPs to force the companies to block copyright-infringing websites such as The Pirate Bay.