Internet Censorship Blacklist

Alan made this Freedom of Information request to Australian Communications and Media Authority

The request was refused by Australian Communications and Media Authority.

From: Alan

Delivered

Dear Australian Communications and Media Authority,

Can you please provide a copy of the current revision of the document originally known as the "Australian government secret ACMA internet censorship blacklist", as the latest publicly available version appears to be more than 7 years old.

Please consider this as an informal/administrative request if possible; or under the FOI Act if necessary.

Many thanks in advance.

Yours faithfully,
Alan

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

I believe that the last documents to be released (https://wikileaks.org/wiki/Talk:Australi... and https://wikileaks.org/wiki/Australian_go... ) were not released by the ACMA. I expect that the request will be refused. There are two reasons for this. The document could be refused under section 47E(d) of the Act. The section says that a document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would, or could reasonably be expected to have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of an agency. Although access must generally be given to conditionally exempt documents, the agency could reasonably say that the release would be contrary to the public interest because it would defeat the policy purpose of the document.

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Alan left an annotation ()

Locutus,

Thank you for your comments. I am aware of all the points that you've made in your message, however I am basing my request on a (perhaps naive) assumption that I will disclose in due course.

Let's see how this unfolds.

Cheers,
Alan

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From: Freedom of Information
Australian Communications and Media Authority

Dear Alan
 
Thank you for your email dated 27 June 2017.
 
Based on the description in your email, it appears that you might be
seeking access to a document that contains URL links to “offensive
internet content” and “offensive content-service content” (as those terms
are defined in section 4 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI
Act)).
 
I note that the FOI Act does not apply to documents such as these, which
are generally categorised as meeting the definition of an “exempt
content-service document” or an “exempt internet-content document” (see
definitions of those terms in section 4 of the FOI Act, and subsection
7(2) and Schedule 2 of the FOI Act regarding the exemption of such
documents).
 
I also note that the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner
([1]https://www.esafety.gov.au/) is now responsible for regulating
“offensive internet content” and “offensive content-service content”, not
the ACMA.
 
If you have any further questions about these matters, or would like
assistance to make a valid FOI request, I suggest you contact the e-Safety
Commissioner at [2][email address], or using the form at
[3]https://www.esafety.gov.au/about-the-off....
 
Sincerely
 
ACMA FOI Coordinator
 

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

The response is very helpful but it is wrong in an important way. It is helpful because it tells the applicant two things. 1. The agency does not have the document but says which agency probably does have the document. 2. It tells the applicant that the request will probably be refused.

Now, why is the response wrong. It is wrong because the agency says that the FOI Act does not apply to documents of the kind that the applicant has requested. That is not correct. It is correct to say that the document is probably an exempt document and that the request will therefore likely be refused but the Act does apply to exempt documents. It explains exactly what an exempt document is and it explains what an agency must do if an application is made for an exempt document and the agency wishes to refuse to grant access to the document. This is an important distinction. Because the Act does apply to exempt documents, an applicant has the right to have the agency decision reviewed by the Information Commissioner who can decide whether the agency has made a mistake!

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James Baldwin left an annotation ()

Locutus Sum,

I am afraid you are mistaken. Subsection 7(2) of the FOI Act (as referred to by ACMA) states:

The persons, bodies and Departments specified in Part II of Schedule 2 are exempt from the operation of this Act in relation to the documents referred to in that Schedule in relation to them.

As the requested documents are listed in Schedule 2 the agencies are actually exempt from the operation of the FOI Act in relation to those documents. This means, in relation to documents of the type listed in Schedule 2, the agencies in Schedule 2 don't need to consider the FOI Act exemption provisions. The Act simply doesn't apply to those agencies for those documents.

James

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From: Alan

Delivered

Dear Freedom of Information,

Thank you for the informative reply. From your message I understand that:
- the ACMA understands what document my original request was referring to;
- the document is exempt from FOIA (though not forbidden from release); and
- the maintenance of the document is no longer part of ACMA's attributions.

This indicates to me that any older copies of the named document that are still in ACMA's possession are out of date, not relevant to the agency's current operations and effectively no more than historical artifacts.

Therefore, please allow me to rephrase my request:

Can you please provide a copy of the MOST RECENT version of the 'document that contains URL links to “offensive internet content” and “offensive content-service content”', as maintained and issued by the ACMA during the period when this was part of the agency's attributions?

I understand that a FOIA exemption can be invoked, therefore please treat this as an informal request instead.

Many thanks in advance.

Yours sincerely,

Alan

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Locutus Sum left an annotation ()

@James Baldwin (https://www.righttoknow.org.au/request/i... ) I am sorry that I did not see your comment sooner; I would have replied. Thank you very much for showing me my error. Not just any error but the BIG mistake of me to say that the agency was wrong when in fact it is I who have been foolish and lazy. I appreciate the education. It is a section of the Act where to I had not paid any attention before now.

Tak.

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From: Freedom of Information
Australian Communications and Media Authority

Dear Alan

I refer to your email of 14 July 2017 in which you made an ‘informal request’ for ‘a copy of the MOST RECENT version of the document that contains URL links to “offensive internet content” and “offensive content-service content”, as maintained and issued by the ACMA during the period when this was part of the agency's attributions’.

As you know, the ACMA has in the past been responsible for regulating illegal and offensive internet content. You also know that documents relating to those matters are excluded from the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act). The reason why such documents are not subject to FOI is that they are likely to contain illegal or offensive content, or information which may enable a person to gain access to that illegal or offensive content; and disclosure of such documents would clearly frustrate the objectives of the regulatory scheme. For the same reason, the ACMA has no intention of releasing any such documents outside of the FOI Act in response to your request.

The ACMA will not be taking any further in relation to your request, noting again that it was made on an ‘informal’ basis outside the FOI Act.

Sincerely

ACMA FOI Coordinator

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