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Tech titan sues Australia over transgender riot

Billionaire tech titan Elon Musk is taking legal action against the Australian government after eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant forced his tech platform X to remove a post it said was harmful to a transgender activist.

The uproar began in late February when Canadian Chris Elston criticized the planned appointment of Australian trans activist Teddy Cook to a World Health Organization panel on health care.

Mr Elston, who goes by the described as “degrading”.

The post was widely viewed and shared in Australia until Ms Inman Grant sent a takedown notice to X on March 22.

“A normal, reasonable person would conclude that the material was likely intended to cause serious harm to the complainant,” the letter said.

“This is because the material misrepresents the complainant and reinforces that this point is intentional.

“The material also contains a statement that implicitly equates transgender identity with a psychiatric illness.

“This statement is deliberately demeaning and suggests that for all transgender people – and in this case particularly the complainant – there is something ‘wrong’ in their psychology because of their gender identity.”

The commissioner threatened X with a fine of up to $782,500 for any refusal to remove the post within 24 hours.

X complied with the order and the post is no longer visible in Australia.

But on March 30, the company hit back and announced it would appeal Ms. Inman Grant’s order in court.

“Earlier this week, X was ordered to remove a user’s post by the Australian E-Safety Commissioner with a fine of approximately A$800,000,” the company’s global government affairs department said on X.

“The post criticized a person appointed by the World Health Organization as an expert on transgender issues.

“X is withholding the post in Australia in accordance with the order, but intends to launch a legal challenge to the order to protect its user’s right to freedom of expression.”

The Free Speech Union of Australia also criticized Ms Inman Grant’s move, writing in a letter to the commissioner that “Australians have the right to freely express their political opinions”.

“We must request that the eSafety Commissioner now properly explain why he decided to censor this particular post,” the letter said.

“We are particularly concerned that the decision may constitute unlawful discrimination based on political views.”

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, an eSafety spokesperson said eSafety offered an adult cyber abuse reporting system under the Online Safety Act.

“This gives Australian adults who are the targets of seriously harmful online abuse a place to turn if an online service provider fails to respond to reports made to them by users,” the spokesperson said.

“Tech platforms do not always consistently enforce their own rules or policies on hateful behavior, which is why Parliament voted to establish the Adult Cyber ​​Abuse Scheme… so that eSafety can serve as a safety net for Australian adults facing the worst forms of online.” -Harassment.” Abuse.

“The law defines adult cyber abuse as material that is directed at a specific Australian adult and is both intended to cause serious harm and is in any circumstance threatening, harassing or offensive.”

“If the material only meets one of these two criteria; For example, if the post is offensive but is found not to be intended to cause serious harm, it will not be considered adult cyber abuse under the law.

“Under the law, the term ‘adult cyber abuse’ is reserved for the most serious abusive material intended to cause serious psychological or physical harm.

“This includes materials that pose realistic threats, put people in real danger, are excessively malicious or are relentless.

“eSafety can consider context and material together when assessing overall severity.

“Importantly, the Adult Cyber ​​Abuse Program does not address hurt feelings, pure reputational damage, bad online reviews, strong opinions or jokes.”

The WHO has proposed a 15-member panel to develop guidelines for health care for transgender and gender diverse people.

In its profile of Mr. Cook, WHO writes: “Teddy Cook has more than 15 years of experience in community health and the non-governmental sector.

“Teddy is ACON’s Director of LGBTQ+ Community Health, overseeing client care and LGBTQ+ health, justice and harm reduction programs.”

The uproar comes the same week that best-selling author JK Rowling called on British police to arrest her after new hate crime laws were passed in the Scottish Parliament.

Ms. Rowling said the laws, which advocates say would protect transgender people from bigotry, would curb free speech and women’s rights.

Read related topics:Elon Musk

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