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Filmmaker who criticised Australia’s chief censor catches her office spying on his wife on social media: ‘Disturbing and distressing’

MilkBarTV Julie Inman Grant

A filmmaker has caught the office of the Australian government’s online censorshop chief monitoring his family on social media, and has written an open letter demanding answers.

Nathan Livingstone, who makes videos as MilkBarTV, shared a screenshot showing that someone from the office of the eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, had tracked down his wife’s LinkedIn profile, that has no connections to him, on April 19.

Before the interaction Mr Livingstone had made several posts critical of Ms Inman Grant – an unelected American-born bureaucrat on a taxpayer-funded salary of $445,000 – and published a video interview with Canadian activist Billboard Chris, who is at the centre of a censorship battle between X and her office.

“My wife has not interacted with the eSafety Commissioner in any way, in person or online. She has not make any public comments or criticism about Julie Inman Grant or the eSafety Office. Furthermore, her last name is different to mine on LinkedIn and has no affiliation with my content or @TheMilkBarTV,” Mr Livingstone wrote in his Saturday letter to the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

“My wife has made an effort to keep her social media accounts private, for the personal safety of herself and our 1 year old child. Her LinkedIn profile is deliberately hard to find.”

“The only plausible reason anyone at the eSafety office would have to be looking into her social media is her connection to me and my criticism of their recent behaviour.”

Mr Livingstone went on to describe the situation as a “targeted and blatant attempt of surveillance” and said it has been “extremely disturbing and distressing” to him and his wife.

“We demand to know why someone in the eSafety Commission was looking into my family online. Which other members of my family or people connected to me have they been trying to find and monitor? Is this normal and acceptable behaviour for the eSafety Commissioner, to be supervising content creators and their families?” he asked.

“As an Australian citizen I believe I have the right to know why I am being monitored by my own government, especially when the only possible reason the eSafety Commissioner would be looking into me (and my family) is because of my public criticisms of the office itself.”

Mr Livingstone told Noticer News on Saturday night he has yet to receive a response to the letter.

Ms Inman Grant has been under fire in recent days after issuing a raft of removal notices to Meta and X demanding they take down videos of the alleged terrorist attack on Bishop Emmanuel Mar Mari in Sydney on Monday night.

On Friday Elon Musk and X announced they would challenge the orders in court, with Musk saying “The Australian censorship commissar is demanding *global* content bans!”

“While X respects the right of a country to enforce its laws within its jurisdiction, the eSafety Commissioner does not have the authority to dictate what content X’s users can see globally. We will robustly challenge this unlawful and dangerous approach in court,” X Global Government Affairs said in a statement.

“Global takedown orders go against the very principles of a free and open internet and threaten free speech everywhere.”

X has also said it intends to challenge a removal notice issued last month by Ms Inman Grant’s office about a post by Billboard Chris from February where he called an influential female World Health Organisation policymaker a woman.

Billboard Chris this week filed his own appeal in Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal, challenging the legal grounds on which the removal notice was issued.

“I will not be silenced,” he wrote.

In February One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts revealed that Ms Inman Grant charged taxpayers $40,971 for a four-day trip with one staff member to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

She told Mr Roberts in the Senate she was there to share the eSafety Commission’s leadership and “our model in terms of tackling online safety”.

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