Melon Farmers Original Version

Internet Censorship in Australia


Wide ranging state internet censorship


 

Perhaps High Court judges should be held responsible for all the shit that unviable judgements cause...

Australian court finds that companies liable for reader posts on their social media pages as if the company itself were the publisher


Link Here7th September 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

A publisher can be held responsible for defamatory comments readers leave on its Facebook pages, the Australian High Court has ruled, in a decision that could have far-reaching consequences for social media users throughout Australia.

This decision may mean anyone who runs a social media page can theoretically be sued over disparaging comments posted by readers or random group members -- even if you aren't aware of the comment.

In other words, if you post content on your social media page and encourage or invite comments -- and people post defamatory comments there -- you're legally the publisher of those comments and can be sued, thanks to today's ruling.

The case focused on Facebook but the implications are not Facebook-specific. It can apply equally to Twitter, Instagram, and other social media too -- or websites (such as The Conversation) that have comments sections.

Facebook and Instagram page administrators can turn off comments altogether, and Twitter allows you to restrict comments so only certain people can post to it.

The ruling may inspire many social media account managers to make greater use of these features and tightly restrict comments -- or, where possible, switch them off completely.

 

 

Age old censorship...

Australia's new internet censor launches a consultation on age verification technologies for online porn


Link Here 22nd August 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
Australia's newly appointed internet censor has opened consultations on a range of new measures to implement age verification for mainstream 18 rated movies and also for online porn.

A recently passed censorship law requires content deemed to be R18+ or higher to be behind a restricted access system so it cannot be accessed by children.

Julie Inman-Grant, the Australian eSafety Commissioner announced a plan that will look at technological approaches for online age verification, and comes just months after the federal government agreed in principle to use its digital identity scheme to verify the ages of individuals before they access online pornographic or gambling sites. The plan suggests that will be no action to implement this until 2023.

The current consultation will close on 12 September.

The new age verification requirements will not be limited to material hosted or provided in Australia, but will cover commercially produced and user-generated sexually explicit material being accessed by Australians.

Last week the eSafety Commissioner also opened consultations on the Basic Online Safety Expectations (BOSE) for large social media firms like Facebook, outlining core and additional expectations around the cyberbullying of children and cyber-abuse of adults.

 

 

Internet Harm...

Australia's Online Censorship Bill passes in the Senate


Link Here25th June 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

A controversial online censorship bill passed the Australian senate on Tuesday night, moving the censorship closer to becoming law.

The Online Safety Bill 2021 forces social media companies, internet and hosting providers to remove supposedly 'harmful' material within 24 hours.

The eSafety commissioner will also be granted stronger censorship powers to block access to domains and URLs where material is hosted.

A senate committee gave the bill the green light after delivering recommendations in March. The committee said the aims of the legislation were strongly supported however, expressed concerns over the commissioner's future powers.

Similar concerns were raised by Google Australia, which worried about the fast rate the legislation was moving. Google Australia added it was often impossible for a cloud provider to remove individual pieces of content, which the internet giant said the bill fails to address.

The Online Safety Bill is expected to shortly pass through the House and take effect six months later.

 

 

Updated: Dangerous legislation...

A diverse group of organisations criticise Australia's hastily drafted and wide ranging internet censorship bill


Link Here 19th March 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
A number of legal, civil and digital rights, tech companies and adult organisations have raised significant concerns with Australia's proposed internet censorship legislation, and its potential to impact those working in adult industries, to lead to online censorship, and the vast powers it hands to a handful of individuals.

Despite this, the legislation was introduced to Parliament just 10 days after the government received nearly 400 submissions on the draft bill, and the senate committee is expected to deliver its report nine days after submissions closed. Stakeholders were also given only three working days to make a submission to the inquiry.

In a submission to the inquiry, Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) president Graham Droppert said the government should not proceed with the legislation because it invests excessive discretionary power in the eSafety Commissioner and also the Minister with respect to the consideration of community expectations and values in relation to online content. Droppert said:

The ALA considers that the bill does not strike the appropriate balance between protection against abhorrent material and due process for determining whether content comes within that classification.

Digital Rights Watch has been leading the charge against the legislationn. Digital Rights Watch programme director Lucie Krahulcova said:

The powers to be handed to the eSafety Commissioner, which was established in 2015 to focus on keeping children safe online, is a continuation of its broadly expanding remit, and should be cause for concern.

The new powers in the bill are discretionary and open-ended, giving all the power and none of the accountability to the eSafety Office. They are not liable for any damage their decisions may cause and not required to report thoroughly on how and why they make removal decisions. This is a dramatic departure from democratic standards globally.

Jarryd Bartle is a lecturer in criminal law and adult industry consultant, and is policy and campaigns advisor at the Eros Association. He said:

The bill as drafted is blatant censorship, with the eSafety commissioner empowered to strip porn, kink and sexually explicit art from the internet following a complaint, with nothing in the scheme capable of distinguishing moral panic from genuine harm.

Twitter and live streaming service Twitch have joined the mounting list of service providers, researchers, and civil liberties groups that take issue with Australia's pending Online Safety Bill.

Of concern to both Twitter and Twitch is the absence of due regard to different types of business models and content types, specifically around the power given to the relevant minister to determine basic online safety expectations for social media services, relevant electronic services, and designated internet services. Twitter said:

In order to continue to foster digital growth and innovation in the Australian economy, and to ensure reasonable and fair competition, it is critically important to avoid placing requirements across the digital ecosystem that only large, mature companies can reasonably comply with,

Likewise, Twitch believes it is important to consider a sufficiently flexible approach that gives due regard to different types of business models and content types.

Update: Fast tracked

19th March 2021. See article from ia.acs.org.au

The Online Safety Bill 2021 will likely get an easy ride into law after a senate environment and communications committee gave it the nod of approval last week.

Under the government's proposed laws, the eSafety Commissioner will be given expanded censorship powers to direct social media platforms and other internet services to take down material and remove links to content it deems offensive or abusive.

 

 

Fast tracked porn censorship...

Australian internet child protection bill inevitably slips in censorship capability to block adult consensual porn


Link Here 1st March 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
Fast-tracked internet censorship legislation could ban all adult content online and force sex workers off the internet, sex workers and civil liberties groups have warned.

The Online Safety bill is supposedly aimed at giving powers to Australia's eSafety commissioner to target bullying and harassment online, extending existing powers protecting children from online bullying to adults.

It increases the maximum penalty for using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence from three to five years in jail, and allows for the removal of image-based abuse and other supposedly harmful online content.

The legislation also promotes the the eSafety commissioner to a new post of Internet Censor and gives her the power to rapidly block sites hosting violent and terrorist content. But the proposals go further. The bill carries over existing powers under the Broadcasting Services Act which allow for content with a rating of R18+ (equivalent to the UK 18 rating) to be blocked or for removal notices to be issued, and goes much further by giving the Internet Censor sole discretion over whether the content is rated R18+ or over and therefore should be removed.

A Sex Work Law Reform Victoria spokesperson, Roger Sorrenti, said the legislation's effect would be to effectively censor adult online content that could potentially have unintended consequences for the sex industry and porn industries and have a devastating impact on the ability of sex workers to earn a legitimate income.

Consultation for the draft legislation attracted more than 370 submissions between 23 December and 14 February, none of which the government published before the communications minister, Paul Fletcher, introduced the legislation into parliament 10 days later. The bill has been referred to a Senate committee, with submissions due on Tuesday. The government has decided to fast-track this bill despite repeated calls for caution by the industry and civil liberties organisations, as well as a parallel review currently occurring into Australia's classification scheme.

The eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, claimed to Guardian Australia that she didn't intend to use her powers under the legislation to go after consensual adult pornographic material online. But she ominously pointed out that hosting explicit adult sexual content is prohibited in Australia. Guardian Australia has also seen a notice sent by her office in January to adult websites requesting that content be removed for being R18+, X or refused classification.

 

 

Harm is in the eye of the beholder...

Australia's adult trade association argues against mainstream adult material being considered as an online 'harm'


Link Here 8th February 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
Australia's trade association for the adult industry has slammed a proposed law that they claim would harm the livelihood of their workers and limit Australian's sexual impression under the guise of protecting citizens.

The Eros Association has made a submission to the consultation for the government's Online Safety Act, a law that expands the powers of the eSafety Commissioner to censor what the government considers are online harms.

The Australian internet censorship proposal includes enabling censors to force the takedown of content within statutory timeframes, removal of accounts and even delisting from search engines. The proposed censorship remit includes sexually explicit content from consenting adults. Note that Australia has always had a problem with even vanilla hardcore and the vast majority of the country bans such material from sale in sex shops and from being hosted on Australian websites.

Eros Association policy and campaigns advisor Jarryd Bartle commented:

You could have your business ruined in 24 hours if a complaint is made and a removal notice is issued, your content is taking down, accounts taken down and website taken down in the case of fetish content.

The Eros consultation submission notes:

It is the position of Eros that:

  • The online content scheme under Part 9 of the Bill should be removed as it is not related to issues of online safety and is likely to harm the livelihood of sex workers, adult media performers and adults-only businesses.

  • The role of the eSafety Commissioner should be to focus on non-consensual, abusive and harmful content and not imagery of consensual sexual activity between adults.

Under this Bill, adult media for online content regulation likely encompasses advertising for sex work services, adult entertainment and adult retailing, impacting a broad range of industries.

As drafted, the online content scheme would provide for the removal of many forms of adult content impacting the livelihood of producers, sex workers, adult retailers and adult entertainment venues.

The scheme is so broad reaching it would also limit the sexual expression of Australians online whether or not they are posting sexually explicit content for profit.

It is Eros' view that the proposed scheme is not in keeping with community standards. Previous government attempts to filter sexual ly explicit content online have proven very unpopular, and were widely viewed as an infringement on freedom of speech.

The overwhelming majority of Australian pornography users note that adult media has had a 'positive' or 'neutral' impact on their life. It is therefore inappropriate to regulate this content within a Bill designed to tackle online harms .

 

 

Offsite Article: Showcasing Google News...


Link Here 17th October 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
Google won't let Australia have a new news service unless it backs off from search engine licensing fees

See article from theregister.com

 

 

Blocking streams...

Australia reveals a new internet censorship, mechanism targeted at terrorist events


Link Here 30th March 2020
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
Australia has issued a new internet censorship mechanism initially targeted at blocking terrorist content along the lines of streaming of the Christchurch mosque murders.

Australian ISPs will block websites hosting graphic terrorist videos following an online crisis event under the direction of the eSafety Commissioner. Websites may be blocked for around five days.

eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, said a high threshold must be reached before a website can be blocked.

Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher said the protocol was an important new mechanism that will help keep Australians safe online. He added"

Now we have a framework in place to enable a rapid, coordinated and decisive response to contain the rapid spread of terrorist or extreme violent material.

The censorship protocol was created by the eSafety Commissioner's office and the Communications Alliance, which represents the country's telecommunication industry.

According to the new guidelines, an online crisis event occurs when an act of terrorism or violent crime takes place, and material depicting or promoting that incident is shared quickly online. To be blocked, the material must be likely to cause significant harm to the community by causing trauma or be content that promotes, incites or instructs in terrorist acts or violent crimes, among other considerations.

The Government plans to legislatively back the new protocol as part of a forthcoming Online Safety Act.

 

 

eCensor...

Australia appoints its eSafety Commissioner as the country's internet censor


Link Here12th December 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
 

A radical overhaul of Australia's censorship and classification laws alongside reforms to the Privacy Act have been revealed.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher confirmed that Australia's eSafety Commissioner will be handed significant censorship powers.

The new government regime includes the development of a uniform classification framework across all media platforms that would replace the current system of Refused Classification, X, R, MA15 etc.

The legal basis was introduced via the hasty introduction of the Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Act 2019 in the wake of the Christchurch Mosque attacks. The law compelled ISPs, content service providers and hosting service providers to block such content if called upon to do so by the Australian Federal Police.

And now it seems that this will provide the basis for the eSafety Commissioner to coordinate internet censorship in Australia.A key problem to date has been people haven't been sure who they can complain to and who enforces action. Censorable content has been divided into 2 categories.

Class 1 seriously harmful content will be able to be reported directly the eSafety Commissioner. The Commissioner will investigate the content and will be able to issue a takedown notice for seriously harmful content, regardless of where it is hosted, and refer it to law enforcement and international networks if it is sufficiently serious, the government's fact sheet says. Where takedown notices are not effective, the ancillary service provider notice scheme will be able to be used request the delisting or de-ranking of material or services.

Class 2 content will be defined as content that would otherwise be classified as RC, X18+, R18+ and MA15+ under the National Classification Code. This includes high impact material like sexually explicit, high impact, realistically stimulated violent content, through to content that is unlikely to disturb most adults but is still not suitable for children, like coarse language, or less explicit violence. The most appropriate response to this kind of content will depend on its nature. eSafety would have graduated sanctions available to address breaches of industry codes under the online content scheme, including warnings, notices, undertakings, remedial directions and civil penalties, the government fact sheet says.

 

 

'It's for your own good'...

Australia's internet censor warns gamblers to withdraw their funds from foreign gambling websites that are just about to be blocked


Link Here 11th November 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
Australia's internet censor will block gambling websites hosted offshore under new powers now in effect. Gamblers have been warned by The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to withdraw their funds now from any unlicensed overseas gambling sites before they are blocked.

Internet gambling sites such as Emu Casino and FairGo Casino which are run from Curacao in the Caribbean will be among the first to be blocked, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

ACMA said on Monday it will ask ISPs to block websites in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 using new internet censorship powers now in effect. ACMA chair Nerida O'Loughlin said

In many cases these sites refuse to pay significant winnings, or only a small portion. Customers had also experienced illegal operators continuing to withdraw funds from their bank account without authorisation. There is little to no recourse for consumers engaging with these unscrupulous operators. If you have funds deposited with an illegal gambling site, you should withdraw those funds now.

ACMA publishes a list of licensed gambling services where people can check if online gambling websites are licensed in Australia on their website.

 

 

But will Australia give a little more thought than the UK to keeping porn users safe?...

Australian government initiates a parliamentary investigation into age verification requirements for viewing internet porn


Link Here13th September 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

A parliamentary committee initiated by the Australian government will investigate how porn websites can verify Australians visiting their websites are over 18, in a move based on the troubled UK age verification system.

The family and social services minister, Anne Ruston, and the minister for communications, Paul Fletcher, referred the matter for inquiry to the House of Representatives standing committee on social policy and legal affairs.

The committee will examine how age verification works for online gambling websites, and see if that can be applied to porn sites. According to the inquiry's terms of reference, the committee will examine whether such a system would push adults into unregulated markets, whether it would potentially lead to privacy breaches, and impact freedom of expression.

The committee has specifically been tasked to examine the UK's version of this system, in the UK Digital Economy Act 2017.

Hopefully they will understand better than UK lawmakers that it is paramount importance that legislation is enacted to keep people's porn browsing information totally safe from snoopers, hackers and those that want to make money selling it.

 

 

Shooting the messenger...

Australia will set up a 24/7 crisis centre to coordinate internet censorship


Link Here 26th August 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

Censorship Control Centre
 

Australia plans to block websites to stop the spread of extreme content during crisis events. Prime minister Scott Morrison claimed at the G7 summit that the measures were needed in response to Brenton Tarrent's attack on two New Zealand mosques in March. He said in a statement:

The live-streamed murder of 51 worshippers demonstrated how digital platforms and websites can be exploited to host extreme violent and terrorist content.

That type of abhorrent material has no place in Australia, and we are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes, including taking action locally and globally.

Under the measures, Australia's eSafety Commissioner would work with companies to block websites propagating terrorist material. A new 24/7 Crisis Coordination Centre will be tasked with monitoring terror-related incidents and extremely violent events for censorship.

 

 

The Australian judiciary proves its independence...

Independence from common sense, reason, and the wishes of the Australian people to enjoy the internet


Link Here26th June 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

Australian media companies and Facebook are scrambling to come to terms with a landmark ruling by an Australian judge that found publishers are legally responsible for pre-moderating comments on Facebook.

On Monday in the New South Wales supreme court judge Stephen Rothman found that commercial entities, including media companies, could be regarded as the publishers of comments made on Facebook, and as such had a responsibility to ensure defamatory remarks were not posted in the first place.

News Corp Australia responded to the judgement in a statement:

This ruling shows how far out of step Australia's defamation laws are with other English-speaking democracies and highlights the urgent need for change. It defies belief that media organisations are held responsible for comments made by other people on social media pages.

It is ridiculous that the media company is held responsible while Facebook, which gives us no ability to turn off comments on its platform, bears no responsibility at all.

The ruling was made in a pre-trial hearing over a defamation case brought by Dylan Voller against a number of media outlets over comments made by readers on Facebook.

Paul Gordon, a social media lawyer at Wallmans lawyers in Adelaide explained the change to Guardian Australia:

Up until yesterday the general thread [was] if you knew or ought to have known a defamatory post was there, you had to take it down.

What the judge yesterday found was a bit different, because it wasn't alleged by Voller that the media companies had been negligent in failing to the take down the comments. Instead, the judge found the companies were responsible for putting them up in the first place.

That's really the key difference. You have a situation where now media companies are responsible not just for taking down comments when they see them, but for preventing them going up in the first place. It places a significantly bigger burden on media companies from what was previously in place.

News Corp Australia said it is reviewing the decision with a view to an appeal.

Perhaps the only way for companies to abide by this understanding  of the law is for them to take down their Facebook pages totally.

 

 

More bad censorship legislation from Australia...

Australia gets in on the act assuming that artificial intelligence is magic and can cure all society's ills


Link Here1st April 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
The Australian Government have announced the introduction of a new bill aimed at imposing criminal liability on executives of social media platforms if they fail to remove abhorrent violent content. The hastily drafted legislation could have serious unintended consequences for human rights in Australia.

The rushed and secretive approach, the lack of proper open, democratic debate, and the placement of far-reaching and unclear regulatory measures on internet speech in the the criminal code are all matters of grave concern for digital rights groups, including Access Now and Digital Rights Watch.

Poorly designed criminal intermediary liability rules are not the right approach here, which the Government would know if it had taken the time to consult properly. It's simply wrong to assume that an amendment to the criminal code is going to solve the wider issue of content moderation on the internet, said Digital Rights Watch Chair, Tim Singleton Norton.

In particular, the lack of any public consultation is particularly worrisome as it shows that impacts on human rights were not likely to be considered by the government in drafting the text. Forcing companies to regulate content under threat of criminal liability is likely to lead to over-removal and censorship as the companies attempt their best to avoid jail-time for their executives or hefty fines on their turnover. Also worryingly, the bill could encourage online companies to constantly surveil internet users by requiring proactive measures for general content monitoring, a measure that would be a blow to free speech and privacy online. Lucie Krahulcova, Australia Policy Analyst at Access Now, said:

Reforming criminal law in a way that can heavily impact free expression online is unacceptable in a democracy. If Australian officials seek to ram through half-cooked fixes past Parliament without the proper expert advice and public scrutiny, the result is likely to be a law that undermines human rights. Last year's encryption-breaking powers are a prime example of this

Regulating online speech in a few days is a tremendous mistake. Rather than pushing through reactionary proposals that make for good talking points, the Australian government and members of Parliament should invest in a measured, paced participatory reflection carefully aimed at achieving their legitimate public policy goals.

The reality here is that there is no easy way to stop people from uploading or sharing links to videos of harmful content. No magic algorithm exists that can distinguish a violent massacre from videos of police brutality. The draft legislation creates a great deal of uncertainty that can only be dealt with by introducing measures that may harm important documentation of hateful conduct. In the past, measures like these have worked to harm, rather than protect, the interests of marginalised and vulnerable communities, said Mr. Singleton Norton.

This knee-jerk reaction will not make us safer or address the way that hatred circulates and grows in our society. We need to face up to the cause of this behaviour, and not look for quick fixes and authoritarian approaches to legislating over it, he concluded.

 

 

Overreaction...

Australian and New Zealand ISPs blocked multiple websites which hosted the video by the New Zealand mosque murderer


Link Here21st March 2019
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

ISPs in Australia have blocked access to dozens of websites, including 4chan and 8chan, in the name of blocking the video of last week's New Zealand mass shooting.

In Australia, ISP Vodafone said that blocking requests generally come from courts or law enforcement agencies but that this time ISPs acted on their own. Telstra and Optus also blocked the sites in Australia. Besides 4chan and 8chan, ISP-level blocking affected the social network Voat, the blog Zerohedge, video hosting site LiveLeak, and others. The ban on 4chan was lifted a few hours later.

Raising issues of wider censorship, LiveLeak removed the offending videos but was not immediately removed from the list of censored sites.

The ISPs' decision to block access to websites was controversial as they acted to censor content without instruction from either the Australian Communications and Media Authority or the eSafety Commissioner, and most smaller service providers have decided to keep access open.

The ISPs are facing some government pressure, though. Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone to a meeting to discuss ways to prevent distribution and livestreaming of violent videos.

New Zealand ISPs took a similar approach. The country's main iSPs, Spark, Vodafone, Vocus and 2degrees, are blocking any website which has footage of the Friday 15 March Christchurch mosque shootings. The ISPs agreed to work together to identify and block access at [the] DNS level to such online locations, such as 4chan and 8chan.

New Zealand Telecommunications Forum Chief Executive Geoff Thorn said the industry is working together to ensure this harmful content can't be viewed by New Zealanders. He acknowledged that there is the risk that some sites that have legitimate content could have been mistakenly blacklisted, but this will be rectified as soon as possible. .

Australia and New Zealand also do not have net neutrality rules that prevent ISPs from blocking websites on their own volition

 

 

Comments: Australia Adopts a Copyright Censorship Regime...

EFF comments on the new Australian law


Link Here24th June 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

Australia's Internet censorship bill has been passed by the Senate, and will become the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015. The new law provides an accelerated process for rightsholders to obtain court orders for ISPs to block sites that have the primary purpose of infringing copyright, or facilitating its infringement--a term that the law does not define.

During debate the government rejected a series of safeguards that the Australian Greens attempted to introduce to mitigate the risk of abuse of the new law. Besides tightening the definitions, these amendments would have provided affected parties with a right of appeal, and explicitly protected providers of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), who now may face claims that their services are designed to facilitate copyright infringement.

What were some of the arguments in favor of the censorship law that came up in debate ? They range from less than compelling, to flat-out wrong. Paul Fletcher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, stated that:

Provisions of the kind contained in the bill have been used in other jurisdictions, including the UK, Ireland and Singapore, and in these jurisdictions an injunction is often ordered without any opposition from the internet service provider concerned.

That's not quite true--for example, there has not been a single concluded case yet in Singapore (a country that also bans unlicensed public assemblies, and chewing gum). We can also add a couple of other entries to Fletcher's list-- Russia also recently introduced copyright censorship laws, shortly after its laws banning LGBT propaganda , and Turkey has had a similar provision in its copyright law since 2004, which it exercises regularly, besides also blocking social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Australia can now be proud to join that illustrious club.

Senator David Coleman foreshadowed the movement of web blocking outside of the legal regime established by the new censorship law, and into the darkness of informal backroom arrangements:

I concur with others in this debate in saying that I think the way that this will play out is that in the early days you will probably see a number of court actions initiated. You will see some court orders issued for take-down notices for infringing material. But then what will happen, logically, over time, is that ISPs and content providers will work together in a sensible way. No doubt they will circumvent much of that court formality and work together in a constructive fashion to take down offending material, and that is as it should be.

Amongst the minority of Senators who not only spoke against the law, but also voted against it, was David Leyonhjelm who labelled it bad law and said:

Website blocking is a drastic remedy and a blunt tool. The bill has the potential to be used against a range of legitimate sites and has inadequate protections for non-party interests. Meanwhile, placing increased emphasis on enforcement without addressing the other overdue reforms of the Copyright Act risks a ridiculously unbalanced copyright regime.

Similar criticisms were made by Senator Scott Ludlam, who did at least manage to successfully introduce one amendment requiring the government to finally respond to the Australian Law Reform Committee's (ALRC) report on Copyright and the Digital Economy , which had recommended that Australia adopt a fair use exception in its copyright law. The government has repeatedly brushed off this recommendation while pursing its own copyright enforcement agenda, but will now at least be required to provide the ALRC with the courtesy of a formal response by September 17--almost two years after the report was issued.

After bombarding Australians with one heavy-handed enforcement measure after another over the past twelve months--including mandatory data retention and a co-regulatory graduated response code (which is pending registration), the very least that Australian users deserve in return is for fair use to be given a fair hearing.

Offsite Article: Porn will be next on Australia's website-blocking agenda...

See  article from  smh.com.au

One way or another, you can be sure anti-porn crusaders will push to extend Australia's new anti-piracy laws.

 

 

Update: Torrents of internet censorship...

Australian senate passes bill enabling website blocking


Link Here 22nd June 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
The Australian government has given itself powers to censor the internet starting with websites facilitating copyright infringement.

In the eyes of at least one intellectual property academic, the passing of controversial anti-piracy, website blocking legislation in the senate represented a very dark day for the internet in Australia .

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, introduced into parliament by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull in March to curb online piracy of film and TV shows, was passed with Labor's support 37-13.

The legislation allows rights holders to go to a Federal Court judge to get overseas websites, or online locations , blocked that have the primary purpose of facilitating copyright infringement. If a rights holder is successful in their blocking request, Australian internet providers, such as Telstra and Optus, will need to comply with a judge's order by disabling access to the infringing location.

Sites such as The Pirate Bay and KickAssTorrents are expected to be among the first websites in rights holder's sights.

Dr Matthew Rimmer, an associate professor at the ANU College of Law and one of the bill's critics, labelled the bill quite radical :

It's a very dark day for the internet in Australia because there's been bipartisan support for this Luddite censorship bill.

He said sites that don't intend to host infringing material could get caught up and blocked, pointing to file-sharing sites like mega.co.nz and dropbox.com.

 

 

Update: Copying Britain...

Australia publishes new draft law to extensively block file sharing websites


Link Here 1st April 2015
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
A draft of new legislation aimed at stopping Aussie consumers accessing pirate sites has been published. The amendments, which contain criteria that could see hundreds of sites blocked by ISPs, is believed to have been reworded to ensure that VPN services don't become caught in the dragnet.

Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull instiugated the process resulting in the legislation.

The site-blocking elements of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 are likely to please rightsholders with their significant reach.

In order to apply for an injunction against an ISP, rightsholders need to show that the provider in question provides access to an online location outside Australia and that the location infringes or facilitates infringement of copyright. The location's primary purpose must be to infringe copyright, whether or not in Australia .

Once an injunction is handed down against an ISP it will be required to take reasonable steps to disable access to the infringing site. What amounts to reasonable will almost certainly be the subject of further discussion as any over-broad moves could result in collateral damage and bad PR.

There will now be a six week consultation period for additional submissions and tweaks.

 

 

Update: State Censors...

Australian government defends its wide-ranging ability to block websites without accountability


Link Here31st October 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
Australia's law-enforcement agency has defended its use of a law that requires ISPs to block websites government agencies deem illegal, without judicial oversight.

Australian Federal Police (AFP) claimed they need section 313 of the Telecommunications Act, which requires telcos to enforce criminal laws, protect public revenue and anything deemed to be a matter of national security.

The AFP, financial regulator ASIC and an unidentified national security agency have interpreted the law to mean they have the power to order telcos to block websites hosting illegal material.

But ISPs have called for restrictions. They argue there is not enough oversight and that some providers had even received blocking requests from animal protection agency the RSPCA.

Between 2011 and 2013 the Department of Communications estimated 32 requests to block websites had been made. As far as it was aware, only three government agencies had used the power.

 

 

Offsite Article: New Australian E-Safety Commissioner could be censorship czar...


Link Here24th September 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship
The Australian government is preparing to legislate wide-ranging internet censorship, and hoping that sentence won't scare the hell out of you if they shout children! By Luke McKinney

See article from techly.com.au




 

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