Sunday, February 14, 2010

Australia to filter the web

THE AUSTRALIAN government plans to amend its current legislation to force internet service providers (ISPs) to block obscene and illegal websites. The decision follows a test of internet filtering, started in 2008 as part of the A$128m Plan for Cyber Safety. In a statement, the Australian government said it plans to “introduce legislative amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act to require all ISPs to block RC (Refused Classification)-rated material hosted on overseas servers. “RC-rated material includes child sex abuse content, sexual violence and the detailed instruction of drug use.” Senator Stephen Conroy said the scheme “balances safety for families and the benefits of the digital revolution”. Australian ISPs will use a blacklist of restricted sites operated by ACMA, the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Critics of the plans have raised concerns over how this list will be compiled and how easily it can be circumvented. They point out that last year an early version of the list, obtained by website Wiki leaks, was found to contain perfectly innocuous sites, including that of a dentist from Queensland.
Senator Scott Ludlam, communications spokesperson for the Australian Greens political party, described the policy as “pointless and simply misguided”. Last October the UK Government dropped plans to introduce legislation that would force ISPs to block access to sites hosting images of child abuse and other illegal content. It said the plans were not needed as self regulation works.

Source of Information : Computer Active Issue 310 January 7 2010

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