[NetBehaviour] Banned hyperlinks could cost you $11,000 a day.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Mar 18 11:49:26 CET 2009

Banned hyperlinks could cost you $11,000 a day.

Asher Moses

The Australian communications regulator says it will fine people who
hyperlink to sites on its blacklist, which has been further expanded to
include several pages on the anonymous whistleblower site Wikileaks.

Wikileaks was added to the blacklist for publishing a leaked document
containing Denmark's list of banned websites.

The move by the Australian Communications and Media Authority comes
after it threatened the host of online broadband discussion forum
Whirlpool last week with a $11,000-a-day fine over a link published in
its forum to another page blacklisted by ACMA - an anti-abortion website.

ACMA's blacklist does not have a significant impact on web browsing by
Australians today but sites contained on it will be blocked for everyone
if the Federal Government implements its mandatory internet filtering
censorship scheme.

But even without the mandatory censorship scheme, as is evident in the
Whirlpool case, ACMA can force sites hosted in Australia to remove
"prohibited" pages and even links to prohibited pages.

Online civil liberties campaigners have seized on the move by ACMA as
evidence of how casually the regulator adds to its list of blacklisted
sites. It also confirmed fears that the scope of the Government's
censorship plan could easily be expanded to encompass sites that are not

"The first rule of censorship is that you cannot talk about censorship,"
Wikileaks said on its website (http://tinyurl.com/dlxbxt) in response to
the ACMA ban.


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