It would appear that last week Senator Helen Coonan introduced into parliament a bill aiming to grant new powers to the Australian Federal Police, allowing them to almost whimsically censor any Australian web site.
EFA is quite simply appalled by this Bill. It is an affront to the rule of law and will likely be used as a tool of political censorship by the police. Australia is not a police state and the police should not be the judge, jury, and executioner of Internet content.
Parliament may not sit again before the Federal election is called. This Bill is typical of the contempt with which the coalition treats the Internet and the rights of all Australians to be free of ill-conceived government censorship. Should the coalition be returned to power, this Bill is likely to become law. Remember these issues on election day.
I grow more and more unhappy with the powers that legislatures are granting authorities in the name of defending our freedoms and values. I’ve always been particularly concerned with preserving our online liberties given the immense promise of a free Internet. I don’t particularly have the time however to be as vigorous as necessary to aid in this cause directly. That’s why I am a member of EFA. I basically contribute financially so that my rights in this digital age can be defended by people with the necessary expertise and means. If you have similar concerns and interests, I urge you to consider joining the EFA or equivalent advocacy group in your country. We need organised resistance to proposals such as these, lest they continue to erode our freedoms while ostensibly defending them.