Vic cops want 'potential radicals' off the Internet

Hand over your modem, son, we don't like your haircut

Victoria Police reckon it's possible to spot “potential radicals”, and keep them safe from undesirable influences by cutting off their Internet connections.

The pre-crime solution would also restrict freedom of movement and association, under laws proposed by the police that are apparently attractive to the relatively-new Victorian state government.

The laws would allow counter-terrorism police to apply for Community Protection Intervention Orders (CPIOs), reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. These orders would impose restrictions and curfews on individuals, as well as forcing those identified as a risk to enroll in de-radicalisation programs.

The proposal won support from the Victorian Attorney General, Martin Pakula, who said the proposal “is primarily about prevention and about ensuring young people at risk of being radicalised can be dealt with prior to things getting completely out of hand.”

The proposed laws would be administered under judicial oversight, with police having to seek the Orders from the Magistrates Court.

Victorian Police currently have access to special Preventative Detention Orders, which allow suspects to be held without charge if there is an imminent threat of attack. The PDOs were first used in April to hold a teenager suspected of plotting an attack on ANZAC Day in Melbourne.

Other sectors of the community were not so bullish on the proposal, with Islamic Council of Victoria spokesman Kuranda Seyit noting the potential for such laws to further drive young people towards radicalisation.

Human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC played the rule-of-law killjoy, saying the proposed legislation could do as much harm as good.

"If you pick on any group for long enough you will radicalise some of them, and the fact is that Muslims have been picked on relentlessly," he said.

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