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Web blocking stays with bipartisan support

Tuesday, 09 Jun 2015

Information Age

Review conclusion the ‘equivalent of a vacant stare’?

Federal agencies that invoke website blocking powers should ensure they have the technical expertise to use them properly, a parliamentary review has concluded.

The review committee, made up of Coalition and Labor MPs, offered bipartisan support for the continued availability of section 313 of the Telecommunications Act, which compels carriers to block access to websites used in illegal activities.

Section 313 powers were almost unknown until the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) accidentally blocked thousands of sites on more than one occasion by misunderstanding how the internet’s addressing system worked.

Those incidents led to the parliamentary review – but the result of the process underwhelmed critics such as Greens communications spokesman Senator Scott Ludlam, who branded it “limp”.

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