(Image: Mitchell Squire/Private Media)

Scott Morrison's Chinese-style online identification laws are intended to further tilt the balance of information and online control in favour of the powerful against the powerless.

They're derived from China's successful attempt to prevent the existence of online anonymity, but in this case not by mandating it directly but by subjecting social media platforms to the threat of defamation payouts if they fail to help out "trolls" -- a catch-all term designed to incorporate anyone who offends someone sufficiently wealthy to launch an action for defamation.

As Australia's media history shows, that includes some noxious, and very influential, figures who abused our litigant-friendly defamation laws to attack journalists and victims for exposing them. Now social media platforms will be turned into de facto enforcement arms of powerful people determined to exploit a rotten defamation system, as if the latter needed any more help in trying to pursue their critics.