Op-Ed: Australia blocks livestream murders, child porn with criminal law

Posted Sep 8, 2019 by Paul Wallis
You’d think this move would be just basic common sense. Australia will respond to live stream violence with prison terms to enforce removal of violent content online.
This is basic law to deal with an escalating problem. According to the eSafety Commission a total of 413 reports of violence the eSafety Commissioner described as “horrific” were received since April. The Commissioner said 93% were of child sexual abuse. The rest were extremely violent, like the Christchurch massacre terrorist attack in New Zealand. Other streams included torture, kidnapping and murder, which comprised most of the violent material.
The child porn was taken down using other powers, but the new law specifically targets violence, and failure to comply can include a 3-year jail term. The main source is said to be far-right extremist websites.
Done deal; nobody minds
Nobody has had any reservations about these laws. They’re a done deal, with community support. This world is generally considered by most Australians to be quite insane enough without streaming atrocities.
Violence is a crime around the world. It’s not a type of free speech. It’s not a human right, either, and the power to block applies across the board. This is one of the few cases of recognising an issue online and doing something about it.
Enforcement, however, also needs to be done across jurisdictions. The Christchurch atrocity is still online, based in other countries. Extradition could take a while, although many countries have basically similar laws and the process is more of a problem than the actual enforcement.
Legal definitions
For a nice change, legal definitions aren’t quite as difficult as they would be with non-violent content. Violence, child molestation and similar acts are global crimes. Enforcing basic criminal law is easier. The mere fact that something’s online anywhere on Earth doesn’t make it immune to prosecution. Online publication is basically the same as broadcasting, and there are safeguards in place on that level, too.
Good riddance
The internet is one of the greatest forms of communication ever invented. Despite fake news, cyberwars, hacker attacks, intrusive surveillance and the rest of the dismal drawbacks, keeping the crap out of human discourse is a good move.
Creating a legal framework for dismantling these and other online grotesqueries is a better move. Eliminating sites which promote or facilitate crime should be the next step. Eradicate these bastards, take them offline and back into the Stone Age, or preferably the grave, where they belong.