Communist Conroyism strikes back after it’s alleged that Stephen Conroy (pictured), the communications minister of Australia, passed on information dealing with blocking Australian internet users from visiting various websites.
Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam claims that the federal government has now revived internet censorship concerns with evidence that its agencies are using powers to block Australian users from accessing websites more widely than first thought.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) confirms that it has asked internet service providers (ISPs), including Telstra, to block access to two websites believed to be part of a share trading scam in late March. However, in the course of blocking the scammer sites; 1200 genuinely unrelated websites sharing the same web host or server were also blocked.
The Australian Federal Police has used rules under the Telecommunications Act of 1997 to prevent users from accessing specific websites in the past. This includes enforcing ISPs to do what is “reasonably necessary” to foil users attempts to break the law using communication systems such as the World Wide Web.
ASIC said it had begun sending notices to ISPs requesting blocked access to websites over the past nine months as part of its law enforcement capabilities.
Scott Ludlam has stated on record that: “It’s extraordinarily difficult to find who has issued these notices and on behalf of whom, for what categories of content, or what you do if you find yourself on a block list. We’ve got a very serious problem and it’s not at all clear whether the government knows what it’s actually doing,”
Budget documents released during the second week of May revealed that dumping Stephen Conroy’s exhaustive attempt to mandatorily filter the internet will save the government $4.5 million.
According to a regulatory chief, provider iiNet had previously complied with notices sent by the AFP to take down web sites that contained information regarding terrorism, bomb-making, Anarchist Cookbook and other “illegal” materials.
This concern follows ASIC’s pledge to alter privacy laws to allow data retention, phone call snooping and various other mandatory requests.