The federal government won’t block websites which allow the sale of dangerous weapons to Australians, despite recent efforts to crackdown on piracy sites.
The New Daily can exclusively reveal that high-voltage tasers, which are illegal for personal use in Australia, are being sold on popular US-based retail site Wish.com.
These models include some that deliver as much as 80 million volts.
Wish.com has dubbed the tasers on some of its advertisements as “Women’s self-defence, gun electric shock and heavy-duty stun gun with LED flashlight and case”.
One taser, shaped as a knuckle duster, is advertised to cause a “High voltage shock to the attacker’s brain allowing their voluntary muscles to be disrupted”.
The New Daily found more than 100 tasers advertised, ranging from as little as $3 to $60, with buyers being able to select the option of Australian plug adapters with their purchase.
The recent spate of violent taser attacks in Victoria has increased, with two incidents occurring in the past month.
On Thursday, a gang armed with weapons, tasered a man on his neck, during a violent home invasion in Kurunjang, in Melbourne’s outer west.
Last week, up to six armed men were on the run after tasering a man and dragging him and a woman from a car in a terrifying attack in Bundoora, in Melbourne’s outer north.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman told The New Daily police were aware of several websites trafficking illicit goods, including drugs and weapons.
“People should be aware that it is not only an offence to sell weapons online, but also to purchase them.”
Deakin University’s Cyber Security Research Institute professor Matt Warren said websites such as Wish.com didn’t have a global movement behind them to shut them down.
“The film industry and anti-piracy groups have been pushing for piracy sites to be shut down, but with these type of online retail sites there hasn’t been that sort of backing,” Professor Warren told The New Daily.
“We’re seeing this happen to Australian shoppers on Amazon.com, who are now blocking users from purchasing items overseas because it’s a way of making shoppers pay more.
“The problem is that there are several websites selling items into countries where these items may not be illegal.”
Professor Warren said there were still ways to access geo-blocked sites.
“People can bypass those systems with a VPN and internet proxy sites which can change your IP address.”
Electronic Frontiers Australia, a group dedicated to online liberties, board member Justin Warren told The New Daily the organisation didn’t support websites being geo-blocked.
“We don’t need to enforce a whole new set of laws for the internet or other mediums for that matter,” Mr Warren said.
“It’s already illegal to have these weapons, so the laws shouldn’t change if you’re using a computer, telephone or any other medium to commit crimes.”
A Border Affairs spokesperson said home affairs agencies were well aware of websites and had the capability to detect imports of illicit goods via these sites.
“Australian Border Force uses a range of capabilities including intelligence sharing and cutting edge x-ray scanning technology in order to identify and seize illegal importations, including controlled weapons.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Communications and the Arts said the government released guidelines in July 2017 for lawful disruption of access to online services.
“These guidelines apply to law enforcement agencies and it would be a decision for relevant agencies on whether to seek to disrupt access to online services,” the spokesperson told The New Daily.
But, director of policy at the Institute of Public Affairs Simon Breheny, said Australians shouldn’t be afraid of a discussion about liberalising laws surrounding self-defence weapons, including tasers.
“The government should not remove this website, and doing so would be clear case of censorship,” Mr Breheny said.
When The New Daily asked the Shadow Justice Minister Clare O’Neil for her thoughts on geo-blocking websites, she had no suggestions to offer, but added that the federal government cut $205 million from the Australian Federal Police in the recent budget.
Wish.Com did not respond to theThe New Daily’s request for comment.