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Internet bureaucrats protect us against everything except online crime

By Graham Young - posted Thursday, 30 May 2024

Australia is a trailblazer in online safety, after all, we were first in the world in 2015 to establish an eSafety Commission-right?

Well, maybe, but so what? Having a Commission is one thing, being "eSafe" is another.

Recent events suggest that even with all our eSafety apparatus we lag significantly behind comparable overseas countries when it comes to actually keeping people safe.


Earlier this week, it was revealed that an Israeli crime gang operating from Serbia had fleeced 90,000 people from 90 countries for a total of €350 million (US$378 million), of which 34,000 (38 percent) people came from Australia and lost €130 million (US$140 million).

That's quite an outperformance in absolute as well as relative terms, and the only country that came anywhere close was Canada, with 14,000 victims.

Apparently, German police gave a complete dossier, including "victims' names, phone numbers, emails, physical addresses, identity documents, notes on their background, and total losses," to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in June 2023, who did nothing with it.

Not even to warn the likely victims to stop further loss, and as a prelude to launching legal action.

Where are ASIC, ACMA, and the eSafety Commission?

ASIC is solely getting the blame, but this hardly seems fair. While it does have a remit to deal with scams, it's not the only organisation with this remit.

The police, the eSafety Commission, potentially the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), and the online platforms themselves all have roles to play.


We've had Facebook for 20 years now, and social media platforms for even longer, surely we should have our criminal law structures settled by now.

It appears the Germans have, and that the police have the role of rooting out crime on the Internet.

Yet instead of stopping genuine criminals, our authorities have been focused on bullying via the Online Safety Act, and ensuring no one can say anything online which challenges the government line via the Misinformation and Disinformation Act.

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This article was first published in the Epoch Times.

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About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

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