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Australia gov't Internet censorship plan stalls

updated 01:10 pm EST, Thu February 26, 2009

Aussie web censorship plan

A mandatory Internet censorship plan in Australia proposed by the government is facing stiff opposition, with an independent senator's decision to block legislation that would start the blockage of certain websites with morally questionable content, the Thursday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The Green and Opposition parties have blocked the measure and have been joined by independent Senator Nick Xenophon, who changed his position on the mandatory ban. All now believe a filter would not be effective at blocking unsafe content and would slow Internet access while carrying a risk of blocking legitimate websites.

Despite research that support the above, the country's Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, is going ahead with trials of the plan in conjunction with six Internet service providers, including Primus, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1. Three of the country's biggest -- Telstra, Optus and iiNet -- are not participating and have thus threatened the accuracy and significance of the test.

The filtering idea was originated by Senator Conroy to help fight child porn but has grown since to envelop gambling sites and those that depict and thereby encourage drug use, sex, crime, cruelty, violence and other content that offends "against the standards of morality." About 1,370 blacklisted sites are tentatively blocked, but only 674 contain images of children under 18, while 506 sites would still be classified as legal despite the block. Technical experts say the measures would do nothing to prevent child porn from being distributed over the Internet via other methods, such as peer-to-peer networks.

Xenophon contends that the Australian government is wasting resources and that efforts would be better spent on preventative measures, such as educating parents on how to supervise their kids.

The plan is opposed by ISPs, lobby groups and even informally through a poll of 1,100 people. Just 5 percent of those polled were in favor of ISPs protecting children online and just 4 percent want the government involved. A Netspace survey of 10,000 of its customers found 61 percent strongly opposed the mandatory Internet filtering while 6.3 percent strongly agreed with the policy.

by MacNN Staff



  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    In other news, Australian politicians discover they need to get re-elected every few years...

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I was really looking forward to censoring the Australian Government's internet. That way they could stay out of it's citizens business.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    what bullshit

    what happened to freedom of information and free speech? is the minister having nothing better to do than waste tax payer money playing 'net nanny' to all of us ???

  1. Manuel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Aww com'on...

    It's only $125,000,000 project. It's not like a money pit or a big time-wasting machine once it's implemented. Something good will come out of it. Coded emails, special clubs via CD posting.

    The kids won't have to worry about mum and dad looking over their shoulders while they surf...

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