James Massola: Malcolm Turnbull promises social media crackdown to target terrorists

James Massola writes that Malcolm Turnbull promises social media crackdown to target terrorists .

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has social media giants including Facebook and WhatsApp in his sights in the global fight against terrorism, flagging a crackdown on "ungoverned spaces" online.

In the clearest signal yet that Australia will, like Britain, pressure social media companies to do more to cooperate with governments to combat would-be terrorists who are organising online, Mr Turnbull has declared the rule of law must apply online as it does in the "analogue, offline world".

Emphasis Mine

John Stuart Mill writes about the preventative functions of the police in Chapter 5: Applications of On Liberty.

One of these examples, that of the sale of poisons, opens a new question; the proper limits of what may be called the functions of police; how far liberty may legitimately be invaded for the prevention of crime, or of accident. It is one of the undisputed functions of government to take precautions against crime before it has been committed, as well as to detect and punish it afterwards. The preventive function of government, however, is far more liable to be abused, to the prejudice of liberty, than the punitory function; for there is hardly any part of the legitimate freedom of action of a human being which would not admit of being represented, and fairly too, as increasing the facilities for some form or other of delinquency. Nevertheless, if a public authority, or even a private person, sees any one evidently preparing to commit a crime, they are not bound to look on inactive until the crime is committed, but may interfere to prevent it. If poisons were never bought or used for any purpose except the commission of murder, it would be right to prohibit their manufacture and sale. They may, however, be wanted not only for innocent but for useful purposes, and restrictions cannot be imposed in the one case without operating in the other. Again, it is a proper office of public authority to guard against accidents. If either a public officer or any one else saw a person attempting to cross a bridge which had been ascertained to be unsafe, and there were no time to warn him of his danger, they might seize him and turn him back, without any real infringement of his liberty; for liberty consists in doing what one desires, and he does not desire to fall into the river. Nevertheless, when there is not a certainty, but only a danger of mischief, no one but the person himself can judge of the sufficiency of the motive which may prompt him to incur the risk: in this case, therefore, (unless he is a child, or delirious, or in some state of excitement or absorption incompatible with the full use of the reflecting faculty) he ought, I conceive, to be only warned of the danger; not forcibly prevented from exposing himself to it. Similar considerations, applied to such a question as the sale of poisons, may enable us to decide which among the possible modes of regulation are or are not contrary to principle.…

Emphasis Mine

I take Mill's thesis to mean that the police functions should be curtailed in the cause of liberty because an innocent action of one is seem as suspicious by another.

Turnbull now wants to interfere with the actvities of Twitter, Facebook, etc. even though these services fuelled the Arab Spring. In other words, these services are useful against our enemies but not against us.

Turnbull wants to have services support the status-quo of the Capitalist societies while undermining the enemies of those societies. Unfortunately, Capitalism is using these services as a source of profit. And woe betide any government that gets between a Capitalist and a source of profit!

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