Posted in: Technology

Google soon to be banned in Australia under draconian censorship laws

conroy-1

Recent action by the Australian Government may see Google and many other popular websites banned in Australia under existing censorship laws.

Under the Communications Legislation Amendment (Content Services) Act 2007 sites that link to content that is Refused Classification (RC) are considered themselves to be RC, and if hosted in Australia, site owners can be ordered to remove the link(s), or fined AU$11,000 a day.

The problem is that the provisions potentially make most sites on the internet illegal. Take for example the leaked Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) blacklist on Wikileaks we wrote about earlier. Given that the list was published after ACMA banned a similar list from Denmark, it’s fair to say that linking to the Australian list will be illegal as well from Australia. Note at this point that the content in the list consists entirely of URLs and does not in itself publish pictures or video; under the act, the links in the list are illegal content (RC) because of what they link to. Likewise, linking to that list is illegal because the list itself is now illegal. Any site that links to the list of links then becomes prohibited content. Most sites would have a front page with internal links, so any page on a site that links to the post that links to the list of links becomes illegal. Keeping up?

If I was linking to XYZ blog, and XYZ blog was linking to ABC blog who had linked to the list, all the pages in the chain are illegal, because each one links to prohibited content. Any site linking to me then becomes illegal, and so on.

But it gets better, because it took 1 second for me to bring up a page in Google which links to the Denmark list. If the Denmark list is prohibited content, then Google is in breach of the act as well, and could well end up being banned. And that’s before you even consider that Google itself takes copies of pages through Google Cache (I’m not allowed to link to it, but it is there, in full in Google.)

This is the stupidity of what is essentially a thought crime: criminalizing a list of links which are text and do not in themselves constitute child porn or other physical illegal activity. The law sets off a chain that could potentially result in most, if not all of the internet in Australia being banned by the Government.

Sounds extreme? well so is making laws that say sites are refused classification for a link and not content. Fascism in Australia has a very wide bow.

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Comments

15 Responses to “Google soon to be banned in Australia under draconian censorship laws”

  1. Paul

    So what happens if the Inquisitr gets blocked for some reason?You wake up one morning and simply can't log in. That would suck.

    I guess even an ad could get you blocked if it links to something they consider blockable, so watch our for what services like adsense are delivering to the site.

  2. Freddy

    I think all internet sites are linked to each other through 6 (or many more) degrees of separation. This links to this which links to this which gets stumbled upon and forwarded here which links to this. I mean you'd have to ban the entire internet (and you'd have to do it world wide to thwart those cunning individuals using anonymous proxys's). I mean you can't just ban Google, it's like trying to ban Facebook. The people will revolt.

  3. BjornD

    What can we expect. That the law is an ass is wellknown even in my home country (far away Sweden)
    BjornD

  4. Duncan

    How long before the Australian government's own web sites get banned!!
    At least one of their tourist web pages links to a UK government site and through a chain of about 5 sites from it, it is possible to get to Google. Therefore the tourist page should be also RC along with any page on any government web site that links however indirectly to it !!
    (The web page is http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Adv… – which links to UK Customs)

  5. Golodh

    Sorry, but should we really care what happens down under? If Australia wishes to turn itself into a social laboratory for curtailing the Internet I'm happy to watch. From a safe distance.

    By the way … I have this plan to prohibit the sale of matches to all Australians over the age of 5. To combat bush conflagrations you know. How about it?

  6. Anonymous

    I think the internet is bad. I'm glad they're getting rid of it.

  7. prinny

    Please tell me he's not doing this as an elaborate and adult version of a childish tantrum.

  8. Nicholas

    Governments can not be expected to keep up with the meaning of the new.

    We elect governments to enact laws that benefit everyone in the long term. Censoring the internet with daily fines clearly shows that this legislation is technically unaware. Censorship is a little silly – with clear attribution and ownership – breaches can be repaired. With censorship – illegal content will not stop. It will simply hide.

  9. lovesane

    Oh. That recursive definition of illegality reminds 1930-s, Soviet Union, NKVD. “Criminal Codex, Article 58, Paragraph …: 'Acquaintance that leading *suspicion* in espionage' “.That lead not one hundred thousands of people to be imprisoned.

  10. Arama Motoru

    This is very serious.I f google is banned,from Australia,what about the other search engines?They also similar to Google.

  11. GoogleBanner

    Australia might be better off without Google anyway.

    They are loading up their default search page with more and more self-serving junk like iGoogle etc and they are increasingly pushy with their behaviourally targetted ads. We're already considering changing to a different corporate browser at my work and blocking Google as most of their new offerings do more harm than good in a work setting.

    As for censorship, it just helps us remember that we modern humans should no longer be thinking for themselves…

  12. womanwithstick

    Yes, well…remember the French Revolution, which, in a nutshell, began when an aristocrat ran down a little girl in the street. It was kind of the last straw; Aristocracy pitted their Musketeers against men with sticks. Men with sticks won.

    Moral of the story: at their wits end with nothing left to lose, people with sticks are far more formidable than lazy, pompous, obese, power-hungry-obsessed, out-of-touch-with-reality, saggy-flappy-jowled elite, waving about their bits of plastic as though it will save them.

    I mean, who the hell are these idiots, anyway? No, not the 'decision makers' we think we know as such, (aka politicians), but who the hell are their puppeteers – the actual ones calling the shots?

    Try looking at the Club of Rome for answers….their 'elite' club of 300, made up of no more than pathetic bits of flesh with money, all living under an illusion of power….for now. Remember men (and women) with sticks. Viva la revoluciĆ³n!!