|The Australian government plans to test a nationwide Web filter that would require Internet service providers to block access to thousands of sites containing illegal content, officials say.|
The proposed filter is part of an $82 million cybersafety plan begun in May with the goals of protecting children and stopping adults from downloading content that is illegal to possess in Australia, like child pornography or terrorist materials.
But the plan has prompted opposition from online advocacy groups and industry experts who say it would slow browsing speeds and do little to block undesirable content.
In November, the minister of communications, Stephen Conroy, invited Internet service providers and mobile phone operators to participate in a live trial of the program, which is set to begin this month. The department of communications will use the results to decide how to proceed with the plan.
The proposed system consists of two tiers. Under the first, all Australian service providers would be required to block access to about 10,000 Web sites on a list maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the federal monitor that oversees film classifications.
The second tier would require service providers to offer an optional filter that individuals could apply to block material deemed unsuitable for children.
The government says the list, which is not available to the public, includes only illegal content, mostly child pornography. But technology, left-wing and other advocacy groups, and technology businesses worry that the filter could be used to block sites focused on what some consider controversial topics, like gambling or euthanasia. “Even if the scheme is introduced with the best of intentions, there will be enormous political pressure on the government to expand the list,” said Colin Jacobs, the vice chairman of Electronic Frontiers Australia, a technology advocacy organization. “We worry that the scope of the list would expand at a very rapid rate.”
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Australia to test nationwide internet filter.
Australia: Chairman Rudd and his allies will not be detered to protect the Aussie people from themselves.