[LINK] using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence?

Greg Taylor gtefa at internode.on.net
Sat May 7 14:23:21 EST 2011

On 2011/05/07 8:24 AM, Roger Clarke wrote:
> At 11:39 PM +1000 6/5/11, Kim Holburn wrote:
>> http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/new-internet-law-to-be-tested-by-skype-sex-claims/story-e6frg6nf-1226047248774
>>>   The broad offence is designed to punish "online conduct that a
>>> reasonable person would find to be ... causing offence".
> Leaving aside the questionable grammar, a large proportion of human
> communication can be argued to 'be causing offence'.
> And some of us may be at particular risk ...
> I've searched the Crimes Act and the Telecommunications Act, for the
> full string "online conduct that a reasonable person would find to be
> menacing, harassing or causing offence", and for "online conduct",
> without success.
> It would be handy to know the Act and Section, and the Amendment Act
> that created it, and then find and check the Second Reading Speech.
> I have no memory of such a nitwit clause ever being publicly
> discussed.

Looks like Section 474.17 of the Federal Criminal Code:
474.17   Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence
              (1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:
                      (a)  the person uses a carriage service; and
                      (b)  the person does so in a way (whether by the 
method of use or the content of a communication, or both) that 
reasonable persons would regard as being, in all the circumstances, 
menacing, harassing or offensive.
Penalty:  Imprisonment for 3 years.

I recall that it was originally part of the Crimes Act, but many 
provisions of the Crimes Act have been moved to the Criminal Code.

It would seem more logical that the offence came under surveillance law 
but the Cth Surveillance Devices Act is only concerned with law 
enforcement, and I gather that ADFA is not subject to State or Territory 
surveillance laws.


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