Pirates Raise More Concerns Over Attorney-General’s Conduct

Since Pirate Party Australia highlighted[1] major flaws in the recently released discussion paper by the Attorney-General’s Department, it has come to our attention that the paper has been quietly changed to a very redacted version with no public notification. This is an unacceptably opaque attack on our civil liberties, and only further highlights the Government’s continual attempts to limit the public’s involvement in any governmental decision making.

There are significant changes to the redacted version. The title of the original paper is “Revising the Scope of the Copyright ‘Safe Harbour Scheme’ & The Process of Seeking ISP Subscriber Details in Copyright Infringement Matters” while the suddenly redacted version is entitled simply “Revising the Scope of the Copyright ‘Safe Harbour Scheme’”

The introduction of the paper has significantly changed. This entire paragraph is missing from the introduction of the redacted version:

“In addition, the Government is also seeking comments on whether there is a need to establish a more streamlined process for copyright owners to obtain subscriber details from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for legal proceedings.”

The entire first section remains in the redacted version, while the second has been entirely cut, which was entitled, “Streamlining the Process of Seeking ISP Subscriber Details in Copyright Infringement Matters”.

“Not only are we seeing a clandestine process that excludes civil society and the public at a critical juncture in the development of policy, we are now seeing a deliberate attempt to suppress contributions from them. Perhaps this is because the outcomes of the ‘consultative process’ are predetermined, and the facade of ‘open government’ has to be maintained. Now that we have raised serious issues, like the streamlined invasion of privacy, the process of consultation has been heavily restricted,” said Rodney Serkowski, President of Pirate Party Australia.

“Of course, this could only be administrative incompetence, but the previous actions of the Attorney General’s Department do not lend themselves to this explanation.”

“My favourite part of the unredacted version was the citation of Economic Consequences of Movie Piracy Australia Report[2], commissioned by AFACT, which has been widely refuted[3][4] due to its flawed methodology,” said Brendan Molloy, Acting Secretary.

“It is disappointing that our Government continues to base their opinions on such flawed data, and will now simply continue to do so behind closed doors.”

Pirate Party Australia will continue as planned to put forward a submission that covers the entire unredacted discussion paper.

The redacted and unredacted versions of the discussion paper can be found at the following URLs:

[1] http://delimiter.com.au/2011/10/14/govt-piracy-move-completely-unjustified-pirate-party/
[2] http://www.afact.org.au/assets/research/IPSOS_Economic_Consequences_of_Movie_Piracy_-_Australia.pdf
[3] http://www.efa.org.au/2011/02/17/afact-study/
[4] http://torrentfreak.com/movie-piracy-report-slammed-by-critics-110217/