In the first application of a controversial new law passed in the wake of the March terror attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, Australian authorities have ordered five websites to remove extremist content or face prosecution, according to the Financial Times.
The material includes video taken by the Christchurch attacker, as well as videos showing the beheading of a Scandinavian tourist in Morocco. All five sites are based outside Australia, according to the country’s eSafety Commission, which was granted the power to investigate and order the removal of extremist content back in April.
Under the new law, social media companies, websites and even ISPs can be fined up to 10% of their annual revenue, or see their chief executives sent to prison, if they fail to remove ‘abhorrent’ or ‘extremist’ material.
Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety commissioner, said on Monday that three of the five websites Canberra was targeting had taken down the offensive material, and no prosecutions had yet been initiated. She said the decision by the three sites showed the potential of threats of prosecution and fines.
"These are fringe websites that revel in gore and hatred. All of them are based overseas," Inman Grant said.
In a separate move, Canberra ordered Australian ISPs to block access to eight other websites that continued to allow access to the video of the Christchurch attacks or the shooter’s manifesto.
Inman Grant said that while there were jurisdictional challenges involved in overseas prosecutions, " I expect in the next five years we will see a proliferation of similar regulators seeking to do the same thing."
However, critics of the law say Australia’s ability to enforce the law is limited.
“A lot of these rogue websites are Mickey Mouse operations with little or no revenue and so it’s very hard to hold them to account,” said Fergus Hanson, a cyber security expert at the Australian Security Policy Institute, a Canberra-based think-tank.
Totally expected. This is really all about censoring online content. The elites find free speech online dangerous to their narrative control, and therefore power. They will start with awful content which is hard to defend, in order to establish the principle. They will then move on to censoring muck-raking and bog-standard political opposition. If the Aussies had any sense, they would turf out their current government.
This level of virtue signaling is hysterical. None of these websites are based in Australia so none of them have to acknowledge Australian law. If Australians want to visit any of the banned sites they just have to install and use a VPN. This law is totally worthless and won’t block anything. People that don’t understand technology shouldn’t be trying to legislate it and regulate it.
so much for freedom of speech
You don’t generally end up on websites unless you want to, so censoring online context is really a restriction on personal freedoms. Just look at the countries at are big on online censorship, such as the great firewall of China.
So when they try this on American websites, and American website owners tell them to fuck off, what are they going to do about it?
The erosion of rights starts gradually until you don’t notice rights are gone.Just like putting a frog in a pot and gradually bringing the wzter to a boil. It doesn’t know its being cooked.
Just like people don’t know rights are lost until its to late.
Australians are being stopped from watching anything but government propaganda.