Australian Government scraps internet filter plans

Federal government abandons plans for mandatory internet filter in Australia; ISPs will instead be required to block Interpol-approved list of sites.


The Australian Government has scrapped controversial plans surrounding the implementation of a mandatory internet filter, first suggested by the Labor party five years ago.

According to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, the decision to abandon the plan was prompted by a Law Reform Commission inquiry, which found that it was too broad to work.

Both the Coalition and Greens party have previously stated their opposition to the plan.

The initial proposal for a mandatory internet filter would have required Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block sites deemed inappropriate for public consumption by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Examples of sites that would have been blocked under the proposed filter include those related to child pornography, bestiality, sexual violence, drug use, and sites relating to terrorist activity.

Instead of the filter, the federal government will now order ISPs to block around 1,400 websites that is currently being monitored by Interpol and is related to child abuse and child pornography.

Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull told ABC Radio today that the federal government's backdown on the mandatory filter is a sign that the plan would not have worked.

"[The filter] would have been quite ineffective in the battle against child pornography, because people who trade child pornography and other material of that kind do so through peer-to-peer networks; they're not posting it up on websites," Turnbull told ABC Radio.

According to ABC Radio, the Interpol's process for blocking sites requires the website to be reviewed by authorities in two countries before it can be added to the blocked list and can only be blocked if the children depicted on the site are, or appear to be, under 13 years of age.

The Australian Greens party welcomed the decision, with communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam saying that the new plans represented a return to "evidence-based" policy.

"I congratulate the many people who campaigned hard against proposals to censor a wide array of material on the government's 'Refused Classification' list," Ludlam said. "The government's move to require ISPs to block against the Interpol list answers most of the criticisms levelled at its much broader policy."

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"Australian Government scraps internet filter plans" was posted by Laura Parker on Thu, 08 Nov 2012 17:13:17 -0800
Filed under: Video Games


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