Australia delays controversial web-filtering

Mike Halsey MVP
Jul 9, 2010
Updated • Dec 4, 2012

The Australian government is delaying the implementation of controversial web-filtering to conduct an independent review of websites that are due to be blocked the BBC has reported.

The filter is part of a long-standing plan by the Australian government to block the countries access to dangerous and inappropriate web content, but it has come under repeated attack from Internet and privacy activists who claim that it is a breach of people's civil liberties and human rights.

The country's Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, said the review was needed to see if the scheme "reflects current community standards".

He said the review would look at what content should fall under the "refused classification" rating that would result in it being banned.  The Australian government has yet to vote on making the censorship mandatory for all ISPs.

In Australia, films that feature a high level of sexual or violent content or that deal with "drug misuse, addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena" and that "offend the standards of morality" are rated RC and banned.  This rating system also applies to video games but critics argue that it is not appropriate to apply the same rules to the Internet.

The move would make Australia the world's only demoncratic country to block portions of the Internet.  The only other countries to do so tend to be communist or opressive regimes such as China and North Korea.

While the idea behind the move, which would make it much harder for people to access images of, for instance, child abuse is laudable, the move is still seen as deeply unpopular with one Australian Senator suggesting that the review is a way to "clear away bad news" in the run up to a general Election.


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  1. bill said on July 10, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Considering the amount of sex, nudity, and violence I’ve seen on Australian television (and I admit I haven’t watched their programming extensively), this seems like really pointless, self-righteous, political posturing. “You and everyone in the room (including the kiddies and Great-Grandma) may get porn-in-your-face or see blood & guts fights just by turning on the TV, or by walking by the window of the local pub, or even glancing at the free performance stage in the park – but that’s okay. We just want to insure that you don’t go lookin’ at any NEKKID people on the computer.” Sounds reasonable to me.

  2. DanTe said on July 10, 2010 at 12:38 am

    This is funny. Australia is trying to project a straight-lace all prim & proper image. And in the mean time, their oaf-ficials are always getting caught screwing little children overseas.

  3. Yabbi said on July 9, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    “The move would make Australia the world’s only demoncratic country to block portions of the Internet. ”

    UK, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Neatherlands, Switzerland, South Corea, Turkey, Canada, Taiwan and some others are already doing this.

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