Australia proposes new law to force online platforms to eliminate internet trolls

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Australia is trying to make it harder to be an internet troll, but at what cost?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced plans to introduce legislation that in some cases would force social media companies to pass on the personal information of users who post defamatory comments, Reuters reports. While I’m all for cracking down on trolls and eliminate hate speech from online platforms, it looks like a privacy nightmare waiting to happen.

Here’s how it would work: If anyone suspects that they are being defamed, harassed or attacked on online platforms, a newly established complaints mechanism would require those platforms to remove the offending messages. If a site refuses to remove the content, the court system could order it to provide details about the user behind the posts.

“The online world shouldn’t be a Wwrong Wis where robots, fanatics, trolls and others can just move around anonymously and hurt and hurt people, harass them, intimidate them and drag them, ”Morrison said during a televised press conference on Sunday. “It’s not Australia. This is not what can happen in the real world, and there is no way it can happen in the digital world.

The bill follows a decision of the country’s High Court in September that news editors can be held responsible for comments that readers post on their social media pages. Due to these liability issues, CNN has since to close his Facebook page in Australia.

All the more than penalizing social media companies that don’t moderate their platforms enough, Morrison wants to lead the fight against the trolls themselves. And if online platforms refuse to play ball, he seems more than ready to get the courts to force them to do so.

“These online companies must have proper processes to allow the removal of this content,” he said on Sunday. “There has to be a simple, quick, and quick way for people to raise these issues with these platforms and remove them. They have this responsibility. They created this space and they have to make it safe. And if they don’t, we’ll do them with laws like this … “

Of course, this also raises a host of privacy issues. Anonymity on the Internet protects trolls, yes, but at the same time, it protects the identity of vulnerable populations or those who would challenge authority. An online identity disclosure law like this could easily be abused in the wrong hands, and without a bill and examples to show at the moment, it’s even difficult to get a feel for the ignominy of someone’s posts before the Australian government can step in and force platforms to reveal their identities.

ABC News Australia indicates that a bill should be published this week, and it is likely that to reach the of the nation parliament by early next year.

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