Australia's defamation laws could reveal social media trolls' identities

midian182

Posts: 7,435   +67
Staff member
A hot potato: It’s often said that one reason people act like trolls online is because of the anonymity offered by the internet, but those in Australia will soon be unable to hide behind their screens. The country’s government is set to introduce legislation that will allow social media companies to reveal the identity of trolling accounts, letting people sue them for defamation.

The Guardian reports that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced his government would introduce legislation this week requiring social media companies to collect personal details, likely phone numbers, email addresses and contact names, of current and new users so they can be handed over in defamation cases.

The new law would make the social networks themselves, rather than organizations that run the pages, accountable for user comments. The platforms will also be required to create a complaints procedure that allows people to request material be taken down if they believe it to be defamatory. Should the poster be unwilling to remove their post, or if the victim wishes to pursue legal action, the platform can ask the poster for consent to release their details. If they refuse, a court order can allow the information to be released without permission.

If, for whatever reason, the platforms cannot or will not identify the troll, the firms will have to pay for the poster’s defamatory comments. As this is an Australian law, it will only apply to users in that country.

“The online world should not be a wild west where bots and bigots and trolls and others are anonymously going around and can harm people,” said Morrison. “That is not what can happen in the real world, and there is no case for it to be able to be happening in the digital world.”

One of the biggest problems with the system will doubtlessly be the verification of information handed over by users. Most trolls will probably give fake details when signing up.

In September, Australia’s High Court ruled that news sites should be considered liable for defamatory posts to their Facebook pages, rather than the posters themselves. This ruling led to some outlets blocking Australians from accessing their Facebook pages.

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psycros

Posts: 3,823   +4,964
“The online world should not be a wild west where bots and bigots and trolls and others are anonymously going around and can harm people,” said Morrison. “That is not what can happen in the real world, and there is no case for it to be able to be happening in the digital world.”

LOL, tell that to the phone scammers who spoof their callers IDs..and the phone company does NOTHING about it when they easily could. Also, who determines what exactly constitutes "harm"? Why, the liberals in government, of course.
 

BadThad

Posts: 818   +947
They have been going down the path of extreme leftism for many years. It's slowing destroying their country and removing citizen rights in favor of big government with more laws and restrictions. This was likely enacted due to "trolls" posting actual facts and pointing out the truth. Another way for government to shutdown free speech which is what the left does when they can't stand the truth.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,533   +2,241
They assume the people that troll actually have it tied to their real accounts and not fakes ones. Always a day late a dollar short,seems like they taking pointers from the UK government.
 

Tantor

Posts: 228   +441
“The online world should not be a wild west where bots and bigots and trolls and others are anonymously going around and can harm people,” said Morrison. “That is not what can happen in the real world, and there is no case for it to be able to be happening in the digital world.”

LOL, tell that to the phone scammers who spoof their callers IDs..and the phone company does NOTHING about it when they easily could. Also, who determines what exactly constitutes "harm"? Why, the liberals in government, of course.

True - they utterly fail to shut down phone scammers. But they'll move heaven and earth to prevent honest criticism of their government policies.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 329   +597
They have been going down the path of extreme leftism for many years. It's slowing destroying their country and removing citizen rights in favor of big government with more laws and restrictions. This was likely enacted due to "trolls" posting actual facts and pointing out the truth. Another way for government to shutdown free speech which is what the left does when they can't stand the truth.

Uh huh. Except Morrison is a conservative authoritarian. F'kin Trump even gave him a medal.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,976   +5,488
The Liberal party with Morrison as prime minister is our conservative party, our liberals are called the Labour party. This is coming from conservatives who love their defamation lawsuits.
Trump supporters in the US just cannot help themselves and blame everything on liberals and the left, so how could we expect them to know anything about the Australian Political environment?
 

Austinturner

Posts: 336   +422
Trump supporters in the US just cannot help themselves and blame everything on liberals and the left, so how could we expect them to know anything about the Australian Political environment?
I’m noticing that as a bit of a trend around here lately. In Aus our conservative and progressive parties both have a mix of good and bad policies (from my perspective) and even Morrison who I don’t really like has done a few good things that the Labour party refuses to do.

I can’t imagine that one political party is all good or all bad.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 737   +537
Really some upset people here - do you think Americans can not currently get a court order for disclosure at the moment?
We are seeing more and more examples of companies who say they don't keep logs , or your info is 100% private - obeying court orders .
All those but pirates sharing bad movies .
Do you not remember - where some sue happy companies/lawyers deliberated uploaded their porn movies to torrents to trap people .

Plus how is this consistent with Tech peoples Dogma - "Nothing uploaded to the WWW is private"?

My five second reading is - you will still be private - but the law will make it easier than current methods to get real identities - oh the horror .
 

TsVkK

Posts: 73   +41
I don't think Mr. Morrison cares for people's feelings. He merely wants to prevent criticism of Australia's draconian covid policies.
If only the covid policies were a real issue in the big picture. There is a major corporate sellout happening in Australia and the people are the ones paying. This is the thing they want to hide, the deep seated corruption that is escalating year on year.
This silly stageshow about social media is to keep mouths and minds entertained, while the other hand gives out billions to mining, agricultural and media companies.
 

Karlos95

Posts: 224   +153
What rights are they missing? unable to own a AR15? tell me why you need to own one?. What else is missing?
We can own an AR15. Just have to justify why you want one.

Stops the rednecks and psychos getting their hands on them easily.

22.s are extremely easy to get. Everything else, if you have a legit reason (most of the time) they'll let you have it.
Apparently to USA, if you can't buy a gun in Kmart, then our freedoms are gone...
 

Karlos95

Posts: 224   +153
If Liberals get in again, I pray for Australia. They aren't conservative, they are religious crazy people who really only care about their hip pocket, in turn, care only about the billion dollar companies funding them.

Labor would be better in power but unfortunately, both sides seem to be disconnected from reality.
 

gamerk2

Posts: 643   +559
They have been going down the path of extreme leftism for many years. It's slowing destroying their country and removing citizen rights in favor of big government with more laws and restrictions. This was likely enacted due to "trolls" posting actual facts and pointing out the truth. Another way for government to shutdown free speech which is what the left does when they can't stand the truth.

Hilarious statement given Australia's government is Right Wing.
 
They have been going down the path of extreme leftism for many years. It's slowing destroying their country and removing citizen rights in favor of big government with more laws and restrictions. This was likely enacted due to "trolls" posting actual facts and pointing out the truth. Another way for government to shutdown free speech which is what the left does when they can't stand the truth.
hilarious!
 

lufkin

Posts: 7   +12
We can own an AR15. Just have to justify why you want one.

Stops the rednecks and psychos getting their hands on them easily.

22.s are extremely easy to get. Everything else, if you have a legit reason (most of the time) they'll let you have it.
Apparently to USA, if you can't buy a gun in Kmart, then our freedoms are gone...
Cant just justify why you want one fortunately as they are restricted to military, police, and professional vertebrate pest controllers thankfully :) Luckily our local shooting ranges aren't the closest school
 
Thank God I don't live there. Those people have no rights at all.
You talk like Australia is a country like China or Russia, Pffff, Australia is one of the country's with the best trust wordy legal systems.

And tell me, don't have victims of cyberbullying or trolling have rights to, or do they just have to take is as a fact of life that they can't do anything?

Yeah, there are sure problems with this law, but, that's always the case with laws that fringe on the rights of privacy, but it's not like the data can be given over just because the victim wants them, it still needs a judge to approve the case to see that the victim is really a victim of a crime, or just a victim of free speech.

Looks to me like they are in the right spots on the lists that really matter on rights:
State of World Liberty Index (Nr 4)
The 27 countries in the world with the most freedom (Nr 6)
Countries by adherence to the Rule of Law according to the 2017–18 World Justice Project report (Nr 13)
 
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