From TheConversation.edu.au: Good news. A decision made earlier this month by Australia’s Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy may have inadvertently opened the door for unlimited government and police control of the internet.
On November 9, Senator Stephen Conroy said:
Australia’s largest ISPs [internet service providers] have been issued with notices [by the Australian Federal Police] requiring them to block illegal [child pornography] sites in accordance with their obligations under the Telecommunications Act 1997.
Conroy’s decision to scrap a much publicised internet filter, a commitment made by Labor ahead of the 2007 election, was seen by many as a victory for common sense and by others as a missed opportunity to crack down on criminal activity in cyberspace.
But an unexpected result appears to be unlimited government and police privacy control of the internet.
To understand how this has happened we need to look at Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and how it can be used to compel carriers and ISPs to implement just about anything, including internet filters.
Section 313 explained
Section 313, with seven subsections, covers the obligations of carriers and carriage service providers. The first two subsections are:
(1) A carrier or carriage service provider must, in connection with:
(a) the operation by the carrier or provider of telecommunications networks or facilities; or
(b) the supply by the carrier or provider of carriage services;
do the carrier’s best or the provider’s best to prevent telecommunications networks and facilities from being used in, or in relation to, the commission of offences against the laws of the Commonwealth or of the States and Territories.
(2) A carriage service intermediary must do the intermediary’s best to prevent telecommunications networks and facilities from being used in, or in relation to, the commission of offences against the laws of the Commonwealth or of the States and Territories.
The government’s announcement on November 9 appears to indicate an interpretation of Section 313 that subsection (1) and (2) stand alone and provide broader powers than may be understood if all of the subsections were read together.
Full story here.