back to article Wikileaks tells Aus censorship minister to rack off

Wikileaks has told the Australian Chief Censor communications minister, Stephen Conroy, to reel his neck in after the gaffe-prone politician threatened a police investigation to find out who leaked his secret blacklist of sites banned in Australia. Conroy claimed the list published yesterday of sites banned in Australia was …


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  1. Tim Schomer


    Wikileaks 1 - Censorship 0

  2. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Looks like the Aussies...

    ... are getting as arrogant as the Yanks, thinking that *their* laws should be applicable all over the world...

  3. Dave Silver badge


    "ask that the Senator and anyone else involved be extradited to face justice"

    I think that rather undermines the rest of the press release - it all sounded quite reasonable until then.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Easy to Check?

    "There are some common URLs to those on the ACMA blacklist. However, ACMA advises that there are URLs on the published list that have never been the subject of a complaint or ACMA investigation, and have never been included on the ACMA blacklist."

    This should be easy to check, as long as such sites aren't being swiftly removed from the blacklist now. All we need are Aussies whose ISPs are participating in the trial to check whether or not such sites are blocked.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ACMA trying to create a bogey man

    And what it showed is that the list is full of junk that should not be on the list, and any sites that should be banned, were removed when the list was published. i.e. publication of the list fixes the problem!

    So it shows that the best fix for the problem is to publicly release the list and ISPs around the world unsuprisingly remove any offending sites while leaving others (such as poker sites and airbrushed regular prn intact).

    It also shows that the ACMA cannot tell the difference between airbrushed prn and offending material, and did not click through to see the *unairbrushed* version. Or perhaps they did click through, and decided to ban them anyway knowing they were in the wrong, but also knowing that nobody would be able to challenge their secret decision.

    The thing about the ACMA response is, once you see the bogey man, you realize what a load of rubbish they have been speaking, so they need to try to pretend there is a bigger bogeyman than the one revealed.

  6. Charley
    Thumb Up

    Sauce for a related avian

    and, if necessary, ask that the Senator and anyone else involved be extradited to face justice for breaching fundamental rights.

    Effing beautiful

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Weird Australia

    LOL. was included on the aussie censorship list on march 17th.

  8. Steven Jones


    Jay Lim is also being an idiot by stating, somehow, that Swedish rules apply to information gathered from overseas. Clearly it means that Wikileaks can't be compelled in Sweden to reveal its sources. However, if you take this piece of legal guidance, then it would be illegal to investigate sources of leaks in any originating country once communicated to a Swedish journalist. This would mean, for instance, that it would be impossible for any government to investigate the leaking of any confidential information (whether state or personal) which happened to get published in Sweden on pain of the investigators being extradited to, and prosecuted in that country. Clearly no sovereign government is going to accept that, and for Swedish legal authorities to even attempt it would start a diplomatic incident.

    Wikileaks should stick to what it does and not try and second-guess other democratic governments with empty legal threats. They will just look ridiculous, not to mention the dubious nature of extraterritoriality - something which we see far too much of from the US.

  9. alan
    Thumb Up

    go wikileaks

    win for wikileaks methinks.... just wait till they publish a new leaked list and see "wikileaks" at #1 :-)

  10. DavCrav Silver badge

    @Steven Jones

    My thoughts exactly. And to the other posters that thought it was good, come on...

    And as for

    "... are getting as arrogant as the Yanks, thinking that *their* laws should be applicable all over the world..."

    No, they just think that their laws apply in their country. They can't prosecute the journo, but they can prosecute the (Australian) source.

  11. The Mole

    Re: Extraterritoriality

    I don't think they are quite going Extraterritorial though it's not very clear. I imagine they are aware that if the senator just investigated it in Australia they couldn't apply Swedish rules to him, but if he starts making requests in Sweden for information then those requests and the people making them would be under swedish juristriction - although I doubt the Swedish government would particularly fancy a diplomatic incident over it.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Re: @WikiLeaks; Extraterritoriality

    I think both Dave and Steven Jones miss the point. And I thought the point was obvious, and very well made.

    Stephen Conroy made threats that ignored the fact that Wikileaks is run from Sweden - well outside Australian jurisdiction. Jay Lim made this point by turning the tables with counter-threats based on Swedish law. Conroy's obvious defence is that Swedish law doesn't apply in Australia - and likewise, of course, Australian law doesn't apply in Sweden, which was Lim's point.

  13. Charles Silver badge

    @Steven Jones

    Unless that's what they WANT. If an international incident pits one country's law against another's (say, Sweden's freedom of the press vs. the USA's Patriot Act), it can only mean publicity, especially if it goes before the United Nations. Remember, Wikileaks thrives on keeping things out in the open. An international incident that calls attention to them could only help to serve their needs.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    If the Senator instigates an investigation of wikileaks which involves inquiry into the matter on Swedish territory then this does fall under Swedish legislation. For example if they use a detective or similar in Sweden as a middle man for their investigation. If the investigation does indeed involve any activity on Swedish soil then this is a criminal offence. If the Senator is found guilty of a instigating a criminal offence on Swedish soil then the Swedish Australian agreement on extradiction is a suitable instrument to be used. Basically it is no different from having a murder done on your behalf in Sweden. If you are found guilty of the instigation of murder in a Swedish court then if you live in a country which has extradiction agreement in place with Sweden you can be extradicted for a crime in Sweden. Hacking into Swedish servers may also come under these rules - look for example of the possible extradiction of the British "hacker" to the USA.

  15. Remy Redert

    The laws

    While you're all very correct in saying that Swedish laws do not apply in Australia, any attempt to for example retrieve the server logs from the servers in Sweden to find out who sent those files to wikileaks (besides probably being pointless, I doubt they keep logs) would fall foul of those laws.

    Similarly, any attempt to force the Wikileaks people to reveal their source would fall foul of the Swedish laws. And good luck finding your breach without their cooperation.

  16. Frank Thomas

    Thank God for Wikileaks

    I really worry about them being taken offline by oppressive governments. Hopefully their legal immunity will hold up indefinitely.

  17. An ominous cow herd
    Black Helicopters


    I imagine thet wikileaks will be swiftly added to the list. That'll solve it!

  18. DavCrav Silver badge

    Way to stop this in the future

    What the Australian government needs to do to make sure that they'll be able to trace these people without asking for help from Sweden is, say, build a big firewall, which they can use to monitor all communication on the internet leaving Australia. Since they have that anyway, they could start blocking sites that they don't like.

    Oh, wait...

  19. Charles Silver badge


    And what happens when Internet users start employing third-party proxies or even Tor/onion routers? Australia cannot control the connection once it leaves Australia, and they can't figure out the connection's purpose if it's encrypted.

  20. Zero Sum

    Australian law extends to Sweden

    Conroy said:

    "Any Australian involved in making this content publicly available would be at serious risk of criminal prosecution."

    Certain Australian laws apply to Australian citizens anywhere in the world. If the offence did take place in Sweden, and there was evidence, there could be a valid prosecution of an Australian. In this narrow context, Australian laws do extend all over the world.

    Providing evidence is another matter.

    (Does anyone remember that case where a Korean girl making relatively porn in the US was busted when she went home?)

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Keep Reporting 'Register

    Thanks Reg' for keeping the plight of Aussies in the world press domain. Such is the hold of the ACMA on the distribution of news that these leaks of secret government lists, and the stupidity of much of the content, has not even got a mention in the mainstream commercial TV and only short, buried, paragraphs in the main press.

    The ACMA also manage the commercial TV stations licenses so none of them are game enough to rattle any cages. Censorship will exist in Australia either directly or, as present, by the back door.

    I comment on The Register articles fairly frequently - this is the first time I have felt the need to tick the "Post anonymously box"

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Frank Thomas

    There have been attempts, and sometimes one of their domains goes down for a while. But that's why they use multiple domains and servers around the world.

  23. Diogenies Silver badge

    If it was fake..

    and not the real ACMA list no crime has been committed anywhere, even though there was some overlap. And last time I looked Aussie law did not apply in Sweden so Wikileaks is not subject to our stupid laws.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    another power-mad politician

    You sure this isn't wacqui's bastard brother?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Swedens laws are not Australias laws

    But damn I wish they were, they seem a lot better than the rubbish we have to live under.

  26. Charley

    Some miss the point

    The Aussie Censorship minister makes an empty threat regarding the source of the leak.

    Lim replies with exactly the same empty threat, in full knowledge that his sources are protected in Sweden. "Back at you".

    As the first poster said, "Wikileaks 1 - Censorship 0", the extra point going to Wikileaks for style alone.

  27. Il Midga di Macaroni

    @Graham Marsden

    Don't judge us by our politicans. In reality we're not arrogant at all, we just happen to know we live in the best bloody country in the world.

    And you poms can relax, we're not separatist either. God bless the bloody queen and her four day long weekend birthday. The mongrels who say we should have a president must have rocks in their heads.

    Have a good weekend all.

  28. Steven Jones


    Nope - I didn't miss the point. Unless The Register misquoted, this is what was said :-

    "Should the Senator or anyone else attempt to discover our source we will refer the matter to the Constitutional Police for prosecution, and, if necessary, ask that the Senator and anyone else involved be extradited to face justice for breaching fundamental rights."

    There was no condition stated that it would necessarily involve just illegal actions in Swedish territory. Of course it's a moot point where something happens when communication occurs between two countries anyway. It is something that any potential leaker needs to be aware of. Whatever the bluster here, Wikileaks can't protect sources in foreign countries. The best that they can do is not reveal it themselves (for which you have to trust them). If you are going to leak something, then make sure that you can't be traced back home. This particular case is, of course, ridiculous but for some people living in truly repressive regimes the consequences can be dire.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Charles

    So then they ban encrypted connections..?

  30. Dick Emery

    It's down

    Wikileaks is down right now. Google search shows something about it being overloaded.

  31. bob_blah

    @ Charles Re: @DavCrav

    You're right, once the request leaves Oz they have no jurisdiction, and they can't deal with the matter inside their jurisdiction if the signals are encryted.

    Which is why, in ten years time when the next Junior Minister who is angling for the top job and looking for some name recognition asks why there are still paedo's in Australia, and someone answers 'Tor', they will then make using encryption systems illegal.

    See the only use for encryption is by people obviously have something to hide, and so it must be made illegal to use. Never mind that we use it to connect to our online banks, they will figure something else out. But encryption is the tool of peado's and needs to be banned!

  32. Steve Roper

    Thoughts of an Australian

    (@ An ominous cowherd: Look at the list again. Wikileaks IS already on the blacklist!)

    Actually there has been quite some coverage of this on the mainstream media sites here in Australia, and the reader comments on those site reflect a universal outrage and opposition to this crazy scheme (along with the usual tiny trickle of vociferous do-gooder freedom-haters who support the Senator and his insanity.) Every public survey conducted on the topic shows around 90% opposition to the plan.

    With the international reaction to all this, I can understand how the rank-and-file American feels when others lambast them for the actions of their government. Believe me, most of us here in Australia hate our government as much as you do if not more. All our Federal MPs are being swamped with anger-mail demanding their immediate and unequivocal opposition to Conroy's madness; when I wrote (snail-mail BTW) to my own Federal MP, I got back what was obviously a hastily-drafted form letter stating that she opposes the censorship bill and will do what she can to stop it.

    Regarding how Australian law affects the person who posted the list to Wikileaks, if it was an Australian citizen (and only if) then regardless of what country they posted it from they would be subject to arrest under our law and our extradition agreements with other countries (including Sweden) provide for the mandatory repatriation of the citizen involved. Unlike other western "democracies" Australia has no constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech and this was used by the previous Howard government to pass a sedition law which prohibits any Australian citizen (including expats) from publishing or disseminating certain information, including child- or extreme-pornography, information on how to commit crimes or perpetrate terrorist attacks, state secrets (which covers the ACMA blacklist), and even advocating the overthrow of the government.

    However, the citizen must be first identified before they can be charged and extradited, and in this case it is clear that the only way to identify whoever posted the list is to obtain that information directly from Wikileaks - which IS outside the remit of Australian law. So unless the poster is stupid enough to brag about it to friends or in the local pub, which I somehow doubt, there's no way they can be traced.

    Finally, I might point out that this aspect of the issue isn't directly related to the censorship regime, but to the sedition law which has been in place for a couple of years now. It's been illegal here for quite some time to publish or disseminate material of a 'seditious' nature (and 'publishing and dissemination' does include posting AND merely linking to material on the Internet) even if the server to which the material is posted is hosted overseas; the act of 'publication' is deemed under our law to have originated with the author, not the server or country it is released in. So if the poster is an Australian citizen, even if they were not in Australia at the time they published it, they can still be arrested on 'sedition' charges. So any prosecution of publishing this list, or sites that link to material proscribed by it, comes under the remit of the existing sedition law, not the proposed censorship law.

    P.S. Our current Prime Minister is a fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese. Makes me wonder if language isn't the only cultural influence he got from that country...

  33. Anonymous Coward


    "Any Australian involved in making this content publicly available would be at serious risk of criminal prosecution."

    Since when has publishing a list of URLs been an offence?

    I'd have thought a charge of treason for a certain government minister would have been more appropriate for subverting Australian democracy.

    This kind of thought crime will only encourage someone to put up a composite "western democracies" blacklist on the piratebay. Just out of spite.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    re: another power-mad politician

    "You sure this isn't wacqui's bastard brother?"

    I think you meant "that bastard wacqui's brother".

  35. theotherone

    just me

    Is it just me, or is Sweden possibly the greatest country in all of human history?

    ok, it's just me....

  36. Goat Jam
    Paris Hilton

    Everyday, in every way

    Conroy makes the Worlds Biggest Luddite look like a positively l33t h@XX0r.

    Posted from Australia, home of the Worlds Biggest Luddite (I & II)

    Paris, because she would definitely do a better job than Conroy as a Communications Minister.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Ive got another list to leak...

    My assassination list.

    Guess who's #1?

  38. Pat

    @ bob_blah

    Quote (modified) = "But encryption (/ www / computer / camera / brain) is the tool of peado's (sic) and needs to be banned!"

    A progession inevitably leading to 'won't someone stop them thinking of the children'.

    Sadly, most politician's need the clarity of a lead-pipe explanation before they understand that (some criminals use tools) doesn't equal (all tool users are criminals).

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ac RE: Ive got another list to leak...

    I'm going to guess Piers Morgan, because you just can't be too careful.

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