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Regulator bans ‘reckless’ academic cheating websites

Written by Javed Iqbal

University students will have to ditch risky practices after the higher education watchdog blocked a number of “ruthless” academic cheating websites.
Australia’s university regulator, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), has for the first time used new special protocols to prevent access to the most visited cheating sites.
The 40 websites blocked by the regulator are visited about 450,000 times a month, Education Minister Jason Clare said.
“Illegal cheating services threaten academic integrity and expose students to criminals, who often try to blackmail students into paying large sums of money,” he said in a statement.

“Cheating websites are used to sell student essays or assignments or accept payment for someone to sit an exam on a student’s behalf.

“Blocking these sites will seriously disrupt the criminals behind them.”
Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson praised the money, saying “contract cheating” threatened the “integrity and operation of a university education.”
“It’s bad for universities and students, and any action to stop these reckless businesses is a good thing,” she said.

It is the first time the regulator has used new protocols it has developed with the communications industry and ISPs to prevent people from accessing fraudulent services.

The protocols streamline the process of blocking illegal websites and allow the regulator to enforce Australia’s anti-commercial academic cheating laws.
Laws introduced in 2020 made the provision of cheating services on a commercial level a criminal offence. Those found in violation face up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $111,000.

The laws also allow the federal court to compel transportation service providers to block access to such fraudulent services.

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Javed Iqbal

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