Australian Government Gives Green Light for Internet Censorship

The Australian Federal Government has detailed its plan to require internet service providers (ISPs) in Australia to block a list of banned material.

When Parliament resumes next year the Government plans to introduce amendments that will require ISPs to block banned material on overseas servers.

Broadband and Communications Minister Senator Stephen Michael Conroy says some internet content is simply not suitable in a civilized society.

He says the Government will not determine what is blacklisted on the internet in Australia, rather an independent body will determine what sites are rated as RC for refused classification.

Refused classification material will include child sex abuse, sexual violence and detailed instruction on crime.

The plans were announced following a Government internet filtering trial in partnership with major service providers.

The Government has been testing the filter since late May and was due to report in July on the outcomes of the trial.

It has faced fierce criticism that it will strangle free speech on the internet, is open to potential government abuse and will ban sites that should not be coming under scrutiny.

In March, an alleged list of about 1,000 sites already banned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was leaked online, revealing that harmless sites had also been marked as unacceptable.

Nine ISPs originally agreed to take part but iiNet Limited pulled out of the trial in March, saying the filter would not work and was a dead parrot.

However, SingTel Optus Pty Limited joined the trial in April.

In May 2008, the Government said it would spend $125.8 million over four years on several measures to strengthen cyber safety, including the filter.

The Government maintains the filter is not designed to curtail freedom of speech.

See also:

Rudd website attacked in filter protest

Internet filter plan ‘wasting time, money’

Save the Children opposes internet filter

2 Responses

  1. if you’re interested in a personal story about the government check out http://bennymay.wordpress.com/

  2. It is all about bringing in a control that wont work. This government does not believe in either transparency or accountability – why would we trust anything it says!

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