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'Kicking us while we're down': Atlassian chief savages new terror laws

'Kicking us while we're down': Atlassian chief savages new terror laws

Originally posted @ afr.com

Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar claims tough new powers threatening social media and web hosting services with jail terms and heavy fines are unworkable after they became law in less than an hour of parliamentary debate on Thursday.

The Morrison government has rejected criticism from the tech sector the laws, which punish companies if they fail to remove "abhorrent violent material" quickly from their platforms,  will stifle innovation and force entrepreneurs overseas.

The Coalition and Labor teamed up to pass the laws, rebuffing crossbenchers' plea to have them referred to Parliament's intelligence and security committee for scrutiny. Both parties promised to refer them to a committee for review after the election.

The laws, introduced after the alleged gunman live-streamed the Christchurch mosque massacre three weeks ago on Facebook, could see executives jailed for three years and their companies fined 10 per cent of their global revenue if they failed to swiftly remove footage of terror attacks, murder and attempted murder, rapes or kidnapping from their platforms.

But the laws have angered the tech industry over their haste, and media outlets also warn it will criminalise journalism.

Mr Farquhar told The Australian Financial Review the consequences of the bill were so wide-reaching it was like only a few people from either side of politics had even read it.

"When the AA bill [encryption laws] came out, that was a big gut punch to Australian tech. It feels like the government are kicking us while we're down," he said.

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