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Australia: ACMA caught out


… can we sue them?  ONE page on Wikileaks was blocked. It was the page about the need for judicial oversight

wikileaksIn late 2008, Wikileaks released the secret Internet censorship list for Denmark, together with a press release condemning the practice for lack of public or judicial oversight. Here’s an extract from the press release:

The list is generated without judicial or public oversight and is kept secret by the ISPs using it. Unaccountability is intrinsic to such a secret censorship system.
Most sites on the list are still censored (i.e must be on the current list), even though many have clearly changed owners or were possibly even wrongly placed on the list, for example the Dutch transport company Vanbokhorst.
The list has been leaked because cases such as Thailand and Finland demonstrate that once a secret censorship system is established for pornographic content the same system can rapidly expand to cover other material, including political material, at the worst possible moment — when government needs reform.
Two days ago Wikileaks released the secret Internet censorship list for Thailand. Of the 1,203 sites censored this year, all have the internally noted reason of “lese majeste” — criticizing the Royal family. Like Denmark, the Thai censorship system was originally promoted as a mechanism to prevent the flow of child pornography.

ACMA blocks a page that is reflecting on the lack of judicial oversight on creating blacklists (blocked pages). Their response?

Complaint Reference: 2009000154 / ACMA-1303474585

Dear *******

I refer to the complaint that you lodged with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on 19 February 2009 about certain online content.

Following investigation of your complaint, ACMA is satisfied that the Internet content specified in your complaint is hosted outside Australia, and that the content is prohibited content or  potential prohibited content as defined by Schedule 7 to the Broadcasting

Services Act 1992. (more here, until they block it)

We live in one of the most restrictive countries in the world with regards to access to services.  I’m not exaggerating. From EFS:

Wikileaks is designed as a safe repository for the anonymous posting of documents, especially those Governments would seek to suppress. Few would fail to see the value in such a site, and so it is not a little disturbing to see how casually it was added to ACMA’s list of prohibited web sites. Even under the current regime, a site like Wikileaks could certainly not be hosted in Australia.

But we don’t care, cos it’s better than the alternative right?  I mean, what’s a few pages showing up how poorly blacklists are monitored and maintained? And even discussing these issues is… well, somebody think of the children. (hat tip). That was me being sarcastic by the way.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

5 thoughts on “Australia: ACMA caught out

  1. Wikileaks page blocked that calls for judicial oversight on ISP blacklists http://twurl.nl/mr2ljv Can we sue ACMA? #nocleanfeed

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