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Australia to block internet domains hosting extremist content during terror attacks

13 Comments
By Alison Bevege

Australia will block access to internet domains hosting terrorist material during crisis events and will consider legislation to force digital platforms to improve the safety of their services, officials said on Sunday.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is in France to take part in the G7 leaders' forum, said the government intended to prevent extremists from exploiting digital platforms to post extremely violent content.

"We are doing everything we can to deny terrorists the opportunity to glorify their crimes," he said in a statement.

Australia and New Zealand have increased scrutiny of websites and social media companies in the wake of the Christchurch massacre in March, when 51 worshippers were killed in attacks on two New Zealand mosques.

The attack was livestreamed by alleged gunman Brenton Tarrant over Facebook.

The government said it would establish a framework to block domains hosting such material. Australia's eSafety Commissioner would determine on a case-by-case basis what should be censored, and was working with industry on arrangements to quickly block access during an attack.

A 24/7 Crisis Coordination Centre would be established to monitor the online world for extreme violence or terrorist material.

The government did not elaborate on what legislative options would be used if digital platforms failed to improve safety.

Tech giants including Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter, along with Telstra, Vodafone, TPG and Optus are expected to provide details to the government by the end of next month on how they will carry out the recommendations.

The firms are all members of the Taskforce to Combat Terrorist and Extreme Violent Material Online, which had recommended a clear framework be established.

It was not immediately clear how the move would affect media reporting of terror attacks or civil unrest.

Sky News New Zealand was fined NZ$4,000 ($2,560) by New Zealand's Broadcasting Standards Authority earlier this month for showing a number of edited clips taken from the alleged Christchurch attacker's 17-minute livestream video during its news broadcast.

The regulator said in its judgment that, while the broadcast was newsworthy, the clips contained disturbing violent content which could cause distress, or glorify the alleged attacker and promote his messages.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

13 Comments
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No different than China's crackdown on foreign news and the internet in the lead-up to every Tiananmen Square anniversary.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I would be interested in them monitoring such extremist content and cracking down on ones posting it. Terror through text is as unacceptable as any other kind of terror and developed, civilized societies have an obligation to extinguish any such instance.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

VPN anyone?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Under the current Liberal Government, Australia's freedom of speech is being eroded and the people are doing nothing.

"terrorist material" is anything that is disadvantageous to the Liberal Party and Dudhead Dutton.

Is the treatment of refugees by Australia going to be considered "terrorist material"?

What about reporting of the bugging of foreign government offices is that terrorist material? 

What about reporting of war crimes by Australian troops, is that going to be regarded as terrorist material.

What about the press reporting of  telephone tapping and surveillance of Australian citizens, is that going to be regarded as terrorist material?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"terrorist material" is anything that is disadvantageous to the Liberal Party and Dudhead Dutton.

Asnine.

Why did you stop using the "western wimps" phrase you live so much? Did you suddenly realize you live in a western country?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Chip Star: Unfortunately no, my own government is also under the heel of the US, but I fail to see what this has to do with Australia blocking internet access. By the way, Australia is in the southern hemisphere, but yes, is controlled by US foreign policy.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Chip Star: Unfortunately no, my own government is also under the heel of the US, but I fail to see what this has to do with Australia blocking internet access. By the way, Australia is in the southern hemisphere, but yes, is controlled by US foreign policy.

You seem to have a real complex with the US - and seem to generalize the current administration with the US as a whole - that's a mistake.

The current Idiot we have in the White House was not elected by a majority of Americans. His policies are not supported by other than a few of his cultists.

Your suggestion that Australia, a valued long term partner of the US and someone with whom we share many values, is somehow under "the heel" of the US is naive at best...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Australia will block access to internet domains hosting terrorist material during crisis events

But will allow it at other times? I don't get what they are trying to do. Seems like they will be reacting to something after it's already on the internet, and they can just post it to a different website anyway. Once it's out there, it's out there.

zichi: VPN anyone?

That hides your IP. They are talking about a block at the domain level.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wish them luck, but trying to block streaming only during events from every tiny domain in the world is impossible.

I host about 35 domains on a single machine. There are millions and millions of video streaming capable systems on the internet. Finding them all, for the 10 minutes required will be impossible. Also, if blocking them for a week or a month as punitive action doesn't happen, I doubt they'd notice. There just isn't that much traffic from NZ or AUS. Less than 3% of the total traffic I see comes from either of those countries, but the content isn't directly related to either.

His policies are not supported by other than a

few of his cultists.

No elected person has 100% support for everything they do by any thinking constituent. If we say President Trump has done 100 things, I agree with about 30 of them and I'm happy there is Congress and Federal Judges to stop the clearly discriminatory attempts in some.

Using a VPN, you can choose a DNS elsewhere, where there aren't any blocks. I use dnscrypt-proxy for this extra protection and control.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In Japan, VPNgate is good and free. Browsers also have vpn. Opera/Epic/Tor

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A VPN won't get you access to a domain that is taken offline. If the domain doesn't resolve, it doesn't resolve.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A VPN won't get you access to a domain that is taken offline. If the domain doesn't resolve, it doesn't resolve.

So how does the Australian government take a domain offline if its not even based in Australia?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So how does the Australian government take a domain offline if its not even based in Australia?

Many countries control a central 'hub' that their telecommunications networks go through. From there, they could theoretically throw a single switch and BAM, all incoming traffic from that domain is cut. Of course it doesn't stop all access to the domain, because there could be satellite connections, people reposting or rerouting to try and fool the filters, etc.

But it's easier than you might think. For Australia, from the maps I've been able to see, only 5 submarine cables link it to the rest of the world going into 3 sites. So from those three connections, you can stop any and all incoming telephonic traffic to Australia outside of satellite connections.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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