[LINK] How Egypt Shut down the net

rene rene.ln at libertus.net
Fri Feb 25 09:49:05 AEDT 2011

On Fri, 25 Feb 2011 08:44:55 +1100, Richard Chirgwin wrote:

> On 25/02/11 8:34 AM, Tom Worthington wrote:
>> Richard Chirgwin wrote:
>>> ... there are fear-mongers out there pitching the line that the
>>> Australian government already has the power to order a shut-down
>>> ...
>> Any police officer at the rank of Assistant Commissioner, or
>> higher, can order "Suspension of supply of carriage service in an
>> emergency", under section 315 of the TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT 1997:
>> <http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-
>> bin/sinodisp/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ta1997214/s315.html?stem=0&synonyms
>> =0&query=emergency>.
> The officer "may request" suspension of the service, and the service
> provider "may comply". That doesn't seem the same thing as "may
> order" and "must comply".
> The definition of "emergency" in this Section of the Act seems fairly
> constrained, to my eyes. It seems, rather, designed to protect the
> service provider against being sued if it does comply, rather than an
> instrument of an authoritarian state.

Yes, the provision is so designed, and has been in the Telecommunications 
Act since 1996. The Explanatory Memorandum (Vol 2) to the 
Telecommunications Bill 1996 states:
	"This clause allows a senior officer of a police force or service to 
request a carriage service provider to suspend the supply of a carriage 
service in an emergency. This provision is intended to authorise the 
carriage service provider to suspend the supply of a carriage service in 
the circumstances envisaged, should it decide to comply with the senior 
police officer's request."

Also, the clause is limited to suspending supply of a carriage service 
(i.e. *any* type of telecommunications service) to *an individual* who is 
believed to have done one of the specified things, i.e. it doesn't 
authorise shutting down/"kill switching" a service provider's entire 
Internet (or any other telecommunications) service.


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