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15 December, 2008

Censored

I wrote to the Minister a little while ago regarding my concerns about the new Internet censorship scheme planned for Australia. His office sent me back a pro-forma PDF document explaining the scheme and the various additional measures (including additional policing and public awareness campaigns) they intend to put in place.

It was interesting and I'd love to share it with you but the communication also included this paragraph:

"The information transmitted is for the use of the intended recipient only and may contain confidential and/or legally privileged material. Any review, re-transmission, disclosure, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited and may result in severe penalties."
Since this effectively gags me, I cannot tell you what the government's plans are. Sorry.

I might just say, though, that if the harmless publicity material they sent me had to be suppressed by threats like this, doesn't it speak volumes for the kind of people who are running the country? How can we trust them to build and operate tools that will censor the Internet when they think even their own vague and bland assurances have to be censored?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Any review, re-transmission ... of, ... this information BY persons or entities OTHER than the intended recipient is prohibited" means that you, the recipient can retransmit the information. The prohibition applies to a third party who might intercept the communication on its way to you.

graywave said...

That depends entirely on how you interpret the scope of each clause. I agree it is ambiguous, but there is certainly an interpretation that makes the threat apply to me, not the third party. You'd think, wouldn't you, that if they're going to threaten people, the government could at least hire lawyers who could write clearly. If you and I can disagree about it here, just think what fun could be had in court.

Anonymous said...

I can't see the ambiguity. This is a standard form of words and it really does refer to third parties and not to you.

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