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Censorship Australia Government The Internet

Committee Formed To Scrutinize Australia's Web Censorship Law 24

Bismillah (993337) writes A government inquiry has been launched into whether or not Australian authorities are using Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act inappropriately. Last year, the Australian securities watchdog used Section 313 powers to force ISPs to block a quarter of a million web sites — in order to prevent access to just 1,200 sites the authority deemed harmful. From the inquiry page: "How law enforcement agencies use section 313 to request the disruption of such services is an important public policy question. Section 313 is also used for other purposes, but the Committee will inquire solely into and report on government agency use of section 313 for the purpose of disrupting illegal online services. The Committee invites interested persons and organizations to make submissions addressing the terms of reference by Friday 22 August 2014."
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Committee Formed To Scrutinize Australia's Web Censorship Law

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  • We've gone and formed a committee. []
    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      I think that we really are the descendants of the B Ark sometimes.

      The intelligence of a group can be calculated. Take the IQ of the least intelligent person in the group, and divide that by the number of members of the group.
  • by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @09:49AM (#47474303)

    I remember the first news stories about this blocking system - how a dentist had his practice's website blocked, supposedly for hosting child pornography, when in reality his website was blocked because it happened to be hosted by a provider who also had a client that may or may not have hosted CP (it was never made clear whether the government ever actually found anything). The whole thing sounded like a witch hunt for things that may not have even been there in the first place in the name of "protecting the children".

  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @10:05AM (#47474455)

    Let's not forget that activities like these are happening in the West. If on the other hand, they were happening elsewhere, you'd hear hypocritical governments including Australia's, "standing up" for this very "basic right."

    I am waiting for The USA's official response...Oh wait...they've done exactly that in the past.

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @10:05AM (#47474457) Journal
    Control over reading web sites and control over what can be reported.
    News Corp and media union warn over crackdown on spy reporting (17 July 2014) []
    Journalists will face jail over spy leaks under new security laws (16 July 2014) []
    Welcome to a few years in jail for “any person” who disclosed information relating to “special intelligence operations”
    ie no subsequent disclosure by the press.
    ASIO (comparable to MI5) and ASIS (equivalent to CIA or MI6) also get new powers eg power to access a third party's computer.
    Dont worry its only for very "very limited circumstances". You can still enjoy freedom of discussion and Australia will "believe very strongly in freedom of speech and freedom of the press". You just wont be able to find digital discussions, if you start the wrong discussion or comment your computer might be a security threat. No more Snowden links? No more links to digital discussions about Snowden that might link to Snowden materials?
    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Also note intelligence officers will get immunity from liability or prosecution during the unlawful access to the third party's computer.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @10:12AM (#47474527) Homepage

    A government inquiry has been launched into whether or not Australian authorities are using Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act inappropriately.

    Governments, when given a tool like this, will always abuse it.

    They'll expand the scope of it. They'll use it for things it was never meant to be used for.

    They'll claim up and down they're following the letter and intent of it, while ignoring both.

    Once you give a government a tool for this, you can pretty much expect it to be abused. And since increasingly these kinds of powers are also there to benefit the interests of corporations, even more so.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @10:27AM (#47474645)

    Censorship is akin to sticking someone else's head in the sand in hope that the problem will go away.

    Good luck with that.

  • Outlawing protests, imprisoning journalists, instituting censorship...

    In mere months, Australia has gone from as place that I avoided because every wild animal exists to make your life miserable or worse, to a place I'd avoid because the government is doing the same.

I've got a bad feeling about this.