ISP filter to block worst net nasties
December 15, 2009
THE federal government has green-lighted its highly controversial censorship plan to introduce a mandatory internet filter that will block refused classification content from being accessed on Australian soil.
New legislative amendments to be introduced to the Broadcasting Services Act when parliament resumes next year could see all internet service providers block refused classification-rated material hosted on overseas servers.
A black list of refused classification content is compiled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority through a public complaints mechanism and typically includes illegal material such as child sex abuse content, bestiality, sexual violence and the detailed instruction of crime or drug use.
This material is currently subject to take-down notices by ACMA if it is hosted online in Australia. However, ACMA is unable to directly regulate content hosted overseas.
Anti-censorship groups had been opposed to previous suggestions by the government that all ACMA black-listed content - including X-Rated material - be caught by the ISP filtering plan.
“ISP filtering reduces the risk of Australians being inadvertently exposed to RC-rated material when they are online,” Communications Minister Senator Conroy said.
The filter plan was given the go-ahead by the government after a successful live-trial involving nine ISPs including Unwired, Optus, Primus and Webshield. A report of the trial, which was conducted by Enex Test Laboratory, has now been publicly released.
Telstra - which did not take part in the trials - welcomed the introduction of the plan and said that it provided greater clarity on the government's approach to cyber-safety.
“It is important to recognise, as the government has, that there is no silver bullet which will make the internet 100 per cent safe. The blocking of a blacklist of RC sites is one element of the multi-faceted approach that is required to create a safer online environment,” Telstra public policy and communications chief David Quilty said.
“We support the fact that the government intends to legislate its approach, thereby ensuring that it applies across the industry, is clearly spelt out and is enforceable by law.
The government also announced additional initiatives to complement the mandatory filter. A grants program will be available to ISPs to encourage the introduction of optional filtering to block X-rated and gambling content as requested by households.
The government also announced an expansion of the cyber-safety outreach program run by ACMA and the Cyber-Safety Online Helpline to improve education and awareness of online safety.
“The government has always maintained there is no silver bullet solution to cyber-safety. That is why we have established a comprehensive range of cyber-safety measures, including funding for 91 additional online Australian Federal Police officers and education,” Senator Conroy said.
“Through a combination of additional resources for education and awareness, mandatory internet filtering of RC-rated content, and optional ISP-level filtering, we have a package that balances safety for families and the benefits of the digital revolution.”
The ISP filter plan has been a controversial one for the government which has faced a chorus of criticism from industry and angry internet users who claim that its introduction would strangle internet speeds, curb free speech, and be abused by the government to ban content that it deems “undesirable”. But Senator Conroy hosed down the past speculation.
“The live trial has shown that filtering of a defined list of URLs can be done with 100 per cent accuracy and negligible impact on network performance – despite the many claims that have been touted,” Senator Conroy said.
“ISP level filtering is a useful measure as part of an overall cyber-safety plan. The government should do all that it can to protect Australians from exposure to RC-rated content.”
Rudd Government to censor Australian internet, for our "safety" (of course)
Australians will soon have the same internet censorship controls as those in place in Australian Prime Minister Rudd's ideological homeland China,Iran,Cuba,North Korea.Venezuala.
Australians access to internet content will be controlled by what the Australian Labor Party,it's Marxist based, Australian Council of Trade Unions(ACTU) bankers and financiers, and those it is beholding to,deem is "safe" for Australians to be permitted to access to.
Joy oh joy of Comrade Rudd’s “Fresh Thinking” and “getting the balance right” for “working families”
I guess it will be good to know that we will all be “safe” from information Comrade Rudd and his Beijing masters feel might “confuse “ us or indeed make us “unsafe” whatever that may mean at any given time.