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Australia could enforce social media execs for showing violence

Critics warn that some of the most restrictive laws about online communication in the democratic world could have been unforeseen consequences, including media censorship and reduced investment in Australia.

The conservative government introduced the bills in response to March 15 attacks in Christchurch, in which an Australian white supremacist apparently used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live on Facebook as he shot worshipers in the two mosques.


The Australian government has been rushing the law over the past two days that Parliament is sitting before elections are expected in May, dispensing with the usual procedure of a committee scrutinizing its contents

"Together we must act to ensure that perpetrators and their accomplices can not use online platforms for the purpose of spreading their violent and extreme propaganda – these platforms should not be weaponized for evil," Attorney General Christian Porter told the Parliament while introducing The bill.

The opposition's spokesman on the attorney general's portfolio, Mark Dreyfus, committed his center-left Labor Party to support the bill despite the misgivings. If the Labor wins the election, the law would be reviewed by a parliamentary committee.

The law has made it a crime for social media platforms not to remove the "abhorrent violent material" quickly. The crime would be punishable by three years in prison and a fine of 10.5 million Australian dollars ($ 7.5 million), or 10% of the platform's annual turnover, whichever is greater.

Abhorrent violent material is defined as terrorist acts, murder , attempted murder, torture, rape and kidnapping. The material must be filed by the perpetrator or an accomplice for the law to apply. Platforms anywhere in the world would face fines up to AU $ 840,000 ($ 597,500) if they fail to notify the Australian Federal Police if they know their service was streaming "abhorrent violence" in Australia.

Dreyfus described the bill as " clumsy and flawed, "and the timetable to pass it as" ridiculous. " Labor first saw the legislation late Monday.

The bill could potentially undermine Australia's security cooperation with the United States by requiring U.S. internet providers to share content data with Australian Federal Police in violation of U.S. law, Dreyfus said.


The Digital Industry Group Inc. – An association representing the digital industry in Australia, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, said that taking away the abhorrent content was a "very complex problem" requiring consultation with a range of experts, which the government did not do.

"This law, which was conceived and passed in five days without meaningful consultation, does nothing to address the hate speech, which was the fundamental motivation for tragic Christchurch terrorist attacks, "group executive director Sunita Bose said in a statement.

" This creates A strict online intermediary liability regime is out of step with the notice-and-takedown regimes in Europe and the United States and is therefore bad for Internet users as it encourages companies to proactively monitor the vast amounts of user-generated content being uploaded. at any given minute, "Bose added.

Arthur Moses, president of the Australian Law Council, the nation's top lawyers group, said the law c

"The media freedom and whistleblowing of the atrocities here and abroad have been put at risk by ill-intentioned people,

The Australian Industry Group chief (19659005) said that the "penalties would be" bad for certainty and bad for the business, "which could scare off online business investment in Australia, Moses said. Executive Innes Willox, a leading business advocate, said more time was required to ensure that the law did not unnecessarily impede existing fundamental media rights and freedoms.

Scott Farquhar, co-founder of Sydney-based software firm Atlassian, predicted job losses in the technology industry.

"As of today, anyone working at any company (globally) that allows users to upload videos or images could go to jail," Farquhar tweeted. "Guilty until proven innocent."

Fergus Hanson, head of the International Cyber ​​Policy Center at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, saw problems in the definitions of legislation, including how long a company had to "remove" offense material expeditiously. [19659005] CONSERVATIVES COMPLAIN THEIR REACH ON SOCIAL MEDIA IS BEING NARROWED BECAUSE OF POLITICS

Facebook livestreamed the Christchurch massacre for 17 minutes without interruption before reacting. Facebook has been removed 1.5 million videos of the shootings during the first 24 hours afterward.

It was filmed by Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, whose videos and writings included anti-Muslim views and detailed how he planned the attack. Tarrant is scheduled to appear in court Friday and will face 50 killer and 38 attempted murder charges, according to New Zealand police.

Executives of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Internet service providers and Australian phone companies meet Prime Minister Scott Morrison and three Minister last week to discuss social media regulation. Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said "Facebook did not present any immediate solutions to the issues that arose from the horror that happened in Christchurch."

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. CEO Mark Zuckerberg used the Washington Post last week to invite a more active role by governments and regulators to deal with harmful online content.

"The rules governing the Internet allow a generation of entrepreneurs to build services that changed. The world has created a lot of value in people's lives, "Zuckerberg wrote. "It is time to update these rules to define clear responsibilities for people, companies and governments going forward."

Morrison wants to take the Australian law into a group of 20 countries forum as a model for holding social media companies to account. [19659005] New Zealand's Justice Minister Andrew Little said his government also made a commitment to review the role of social media and the obligations of companies that provide platforms. He said he had asked the officials to look at the effectiveness of current hate speech laws and whether there was a gap that needs to be filled.

Little said he did not see any irony in that people were watching the hearings in a bill that would

"There is a world of difference, I think, between exercising a democratic function and a democratic institution like a national parliament. , and some of the more toxic stuff that you see put out by individuals, "he said.

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