Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Out of Control

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant who welds enormous censorship powers over Australia’s internet has embarked on a mission to bring back mass censorship to Twitter. Inman Grant is using powers available to her under the Online Safety Act 2021 to compel Twitter to explain how they’re implementing online safety expectations and will fine them $687,000AUD a day for non-compliance.

The position of eSafety Commissioner was established by the Abbott Government in 2015 and the Online Safety Act 2021 passed by the Morrison Government expanded the powers, budget and resources of the Commissioner. Julie Inman Grant was reappointed for a further 5-year term by the Morrison Government in January 2022 on a salary of $445,000AUD per year.

Inman Grant has been a regular attendee at World Economic Forum (WEF) conferences in Davos and serves on their Global Coalition for Digital Safety. Last year in Davos she spoke about the need for recalibration of rights needing to balance the right to free speech with the freedom to be safe from online violence (whatever that term means).

In an interview with ABC News Breakfast this week Inman Grant said her actions against Twitter were in response to a third of all complaints to her office of online hate coming from Twitter since Elon Musk took ownership of the platform. She blamed a confluence of factors, such as the reactivation of banned accounts, a slashing of the company’s workforce, and possible changes to the site’s algorithm to amplify Twitter Blue subscribers for turning the site an absolute binfire “Twitter appears to be failing to confront a dark reality; that the platform is increasingly being used as a vehicle for disseminating online hate and abuse.”

Inman Grant has also vowed if Anyone [from Twitter] who flies to Australia will be fined at the border”. Inman Grant worked for Twitter in 2014 and was part of the push for the company for “safety improvements”.

Inman Grant said of Musk’s decision to restore 62,000 banned accounts “To me, this was more like Tweeters on death row being let out of Twitter jail. These are people who can potentially amplify hate at disproportionate levels, and have outsized influence on the toxicity of the platform”.

It is clear Australia’s eSafety Commissioner is out of control and who believes she has the authority and power to make Elon Musk and Twitter yield to her demands that certain accounts be silenced in the name of eSatefy. Given the authority and money she has been showered with by the previous Coalition Government, you can see why she feels totally emboldened and untouchable to make demands and fine Twitter without impunity.

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