A bill to increase the police’s power to ban websites they deem to be crime- or terrorism-related has been tabled by the Australian Federal Government. The bill was tabled in the Senate without notice this month.
"Cyber-crime in on the increase globally, with criminals abusing the anonymity of the online world to carry out offences ranging from unwanted sexual approaches to online fraud," reads the bill.
"The government’s recent review of the E-Security National Agenda found that the e-security landscape has changed significantly with the emergence of sophisticated, targeted and malicious online attacks. Many of these attacks are associated with websites used by criminals to perpetrate fraud or circulate malicious software."
The bill proposes to amend the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, so as to expand the black-list of URLs currently maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to include crime- and terrorism-related websites hosted both domestically and overseas.
The proposed amendment will also allow the Australian Federal Police Commissioner to refer additional internet content that is outside the National Classification Scheme or ACMA's black-list.
Domestic and overseas hosted sites that encourage, incite, induce or facilitate the commission of an offence, such as phishing websites and sites promoting terrorism, will now be added to the black-list.
ISPs use the black-list to automatically filter-out sites where customers have subscribed to a filtered service. The black-list is also provided to Family First filter members of the Internet Industry Association, so they can upgrade their filter products. It will also be made available to other software filter services.
The guidelines for black-listing crime- and terrorism-related websites are yet to be released, but they will be made available on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.
Black-listing cyber-crime and terrorism websites is part of the federal government’s comprehensive NEtAlert — Protecting Australian Families Online initiative.