While major global internet companies are loudly fighting the US government’s anti-piracy SOPA legislation, closer to home our own government is doing its best to keep its anti-piracy effort under wraps, blocking a freedom of information request to access eight pages of handwritten notes from a secret industry meeting in September last year.
Renai LeMay at Delimiter reports that the Attorneys General department has claimed it is in the public interest that the government not reveal the contents of the handwritten notes, after initially denying the notes even existed.
In October, the Attorney-General’s Department denied a Freedom of Information request for the minutes of the meeting, stating that no such document existed. However, in FoI documents released to the Australian Pirate Party late last year, the Department revealed that eight pages of hand-written notes had in fact been taken at the meeting by one of its officers. However, those eight pages were deleted from a comprehensive swathe of documents released about the meeting as part of the Freedom of Information request.
The meeting itself was held between ISPs and representatives of the ISP industry, as well as someone from the Attorney General’s department. Other Freedom of Information documents have revealed that consumer advocacy groups were intentionally not invited to the meeting.
The question is – what possible information about potential methods of restricting piracy could be considered not in the public interest? Given that the options that have been laid out on the table have included cutting repeated infringers off from the internet completely, it seems that having the public informed would be the most important factor.
Obviously, the government knows that no matter what measures they take to prop up the entertainment industry, it’s going to be unpopular at the polls, so creeping around in secret is the only way to do it and stay in power.