22 September 2007

Coonan seeks to censor the Web | Australian IT

Coonan seeks to censor the Web | Australian IT

Karen Dearne | September 20, 2007


THE Federal Police commissioner will have the power to block and ban websites believed to be crime or terrorism related under an internet censorship amendment bill introduced into Parliament today.


Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan proposes to include terrorism and cyber-crime sites on ACMA's hit list


The bombshell web ban bill was tabled in the Senate at 9:58am, without prior notice.

Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan proposes to expand the "black list" of internet addresses (URLs) currently maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to include terrorism and cyber-crime sites.

Now, I agree that governments should be able to regulate material that incites criminal activity. However, I do not agree that legislation that permits this important function should be introduced into Parliament in this fashion. Removal of civil liberties is a very serious matter, and the text of legislation must be carefully examined and debated as seriously as any other matter of national significance. It is concerning that civil liberties laws seem to be regularly treated as something to be quickly dealt with the minimum of exposure to Parliament and the people.