“This law, which was conceived and passed in five days without any meaningful consultation, does nothing to address hate speech, which was the fundamental motivation for the tragic Christchurch terrorist attacks,” the group’s managing director Sunita Bose said in a statement.”This creates a strict internet intermediary liability regime that is out of step with the notice-and-takedown regimes in Europe and the United States, and is therefore bad for internet users as it encourages companies to proactively surveil the vast volumes of user-generated content being uploaded at any given minute,” Bose added.Arthur Moses, president of the Australian Law Council, the nation’s top lawyers group, said the law could lead to media censorship and prevent whistleblowers from using social media to shine a light on atrocities because of social media companies’ fear of prosecution.”Media freedom and whistleblowing of atrocities here and overseas have been put at risk by the ill-informed livestream laws passed by the Federal Parliament,” Moses said.The penalties would be “bad for certainty and bad for business,” which could scare off online business investment in Australia, Moses said.Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox, a leading business advocate, said more time was required to ensure the law did not unnecessarily impinge on existing fundamental media rights and freedoms.Scott Farquhar, co-founder of the Sydney-based software company Atlassian, predicted job losses in the technology industry.

“Guilty until proven innocent?”  “As of today, any person working at any company (globally) that allows users to upload videos or images could go to jail,” Farquhar tweeted. “Guilty until proven innocent.”Fergus Hanson, head of the International Cyber Policy Center at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, saw problems in the legislation’s definitions, including how long a company had to “expeditiously” remove offense material.Facebook livestreamed the Christchurch massacre for 17 minutes without interruption before reacting. Facebook said it removed 1.5 million videos of the shootings during the first 24 hours afterward.It was filmed by Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, whose video and writings included anti-Muslim views and detailed how he planned the attack. Tarrant is scheduled to appear in court Friday and will face 50 murder and 38 attempted murder charges, according to New Zealand police.Executives of Facebook, Google, Twitter, internet service providers and Australian phone companies met Prime Minister Scott Morrison and three ministers last week to discuss social media regulation. Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said Facebook “did not present any immediate solutions to the issues arising out of the horror that occurred in Christchurch.”Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. CEO Mark Zuckerberg used an op-ed in The Washington Post last week to invite a more active role by governments and regulators to deal with harmful online content.”The rules governing the internet allowed a generation of entrepreneurs to build services that changed the world and created a lot of value in people’s lives,” Zuckerberg wrote. “It’s time to update these rules to define clear responsibilities for people, companies and governments going forward.”

Morrison wants to take the Australian law to a Group of 20 countries forum as a model for holding social media companies to account.

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