The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has admitted to blocking 250,000 websites on top of the 1200 it had already admitted to cutting off access to in April.
ASIC previously revealed in a private May 22 meeting convened by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy it had blocked over 1000 websites when attempting to stop just one which had been defrauding users.
ASIC blocked the sites using Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act, sparking a debate over its use by federal agencies.
The Australian Federal Police is another known user of the section, while an unnamed “national security agency” has also been revealed to have taken advantage of the law. The Government has refused to disclose that agency’s identity.
ASIC said tonight in a Senate Estimates hearing it had requested telcos block an IP address 10 times over the past year, but had not used the law to do so prior to 2012.
It declined to comment on why it had only started using the 15-year-old law last year.
It said one IP address it blocked in March had contained 250,000 websites, most holding no “substantive content”, with less than 1000 active sites temporarily affected. None were .au websites, it said.
ASIC is discussing with federal agencies and telcos how it can block criminal websites without disturbing legitimate ones, it said. It also pledged to report publicly on its use of Section 313 annually.
The Government is yet to provide any transparency around how many federal agencies have been taking advantage of Section 313 to block websites.