Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Australian Telco Companies Censor, Others

I have been writing while traveling about Australia. While working on an article, I did a search on AR15 style pistols. The search found information I wanted to access on I attempted to access, but repeatedly received the error message:

It seemed odd. I contacted a source I have in Australia, and asked them to see if they could access the site.  They verified the lack of access, and more. They sent me a link to a news article about telecommunication companies acting in concert to censor information from Australian customers. From, 21 March, 2019:
Dozens of websites have been blocked this week in an effort to stop the footage being shared, including 4chan, gun website,,,,, and These sites are being unblocked when the video is removed.

Telcos typically do not have staff moderating content or websites and usually block websites only when provided a court order or given instructions by government agencies. Mass blocking of websites by internet providers to stop the sharing of a piece of content is highly unusual.

While telcos were yet to be shared an agenda or detailed information about the plan for the Tuesday roundtable, multiple businesses said they hoped it would bring clarity about the government's expectations about how they would react to any terrorist material being shared widely in future.
In this case, the censorship was of the video of the Christchurch terrorist attack on Muslims at mosques in New Zealand.

Ordinarily, it is governments who have been considered as those promoting and relying on censorship to preserve their power.  In the United States, the government is prohibited from censoring the media, although censorship has been rigorously enforced during wartime.

The control of information is power, significant power to shape opinions and control options through the control of information.

This case illustrates that censorship need not be a construct of governments, if there is ideological conformity in a few telecommunication companies.

Further investigation revealed that in April, the Australian government passed a bill 
(Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Bill 2019), which gives government sanction to the actions of the telecommunication companies.

Now, is banned in Australia, along with a number of other channels that provide alternate information sources. These include 4chan, 8chan, and LiveLeak.

Australia does not have a bill of rights. Freedom of  speech and of the press is not guaranteed, but is mostly upheld as traditional by the courts.

New Zealand has an official government censor.

In effect, Australia and New Zealand have freedom of speech that the government allows.  Governments do not like the idea of their subjects having access to unapproved information. The Australian state, New South Wales has banned information on how to make guns.

The United States need not feel much superior. In the United States freedom of speech is under attack as "hate speech". If speech that offends can be censored, there is no freedom of speech.

Speech in the United States is not legally allowed if the speech is promoting a violent overthrow of the government, pornography, libel or slander.

©2019 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

Simple solution, those that have access should down load the files and make copies on thumb drives, then they can attach to emails and share, No problem with free downloads.

ExpatNJ said...

Australians, New Zealanders - and, soon, US citizens - should learn how to use VPN's, or 'Virtual Private Networks'. These are legal - for now - and one way to outsmart the censors/controllers.

"A virtual private network extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.

Others include TOR.

BTW, last paragraph: Suggest adding "child" in front of "pornography". "Child Pornography" is illegal. 'Adult' pornography is considered legal.

[PS. This is NOT legal advice. You have to pay for that ...]