Court orders block to uni cheat website

Australia's largest ISPs have been ordered to block access to an academic cheating service.
Australia's largest ISPs have been ordered to block access to an academic cheating service.

For the first time, a court has ordered Australia's largest internet providers to block access to an academic cheating service.

The five-year injunction, made after an application by the nation's university regulator, requires Telstra, Optus and 49 other telcos to prevent access to and an associated URL.

The company had been permitting advertising of academic cheating services including essay writing, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency said.

Notwithstanding an archived page showing it promised "Gauranteed Satisfaction (sic)" the service claimed its staff were capable of writing lengthy and complicated assignments of any subject at the last minute.

The website states it is headquartered in Ahmedabad in India.

Laws introduced in 2020 made providing academic cheating services on a commercial level a criminal offence. Those found in breach face two years' imprisonment and a fine up to $111,000.

The new laws also allowed the Federal Court to force carriage service providers to block access to such cheating services.

Justice Wendy Abraham on Thursday said she was satisfied the website had advertised a cheating service.

"This service was expressly advertised as being delivered to students in Australia, amongst others," she said.

After TEQSA alerted the operators of to its investigation, the service appeared to pop up at a second address.

The judge concluded it was another iteration of the same first site and should also be blocked.

"Given what has occurred to date, there is every reason to infer that if the Court orders to be blocked but not, the operator would recommence the contravening conduct from the latter site," she said.

The telcos will have three weeks to comply with the terms of the order.

None had contested the facts of TEQSA's application or opposed the orders sought.

When introducing the laws to parliament, then-education minister Dan Tehan said the new penalties aimed at cheating services would "significantly change the incentives for commercial operations".

"It is important that we send a clear signal that cheating in higher education is not just immoral but also illegal," he said.

Australian Associated Press