Mandatory internet filtering: Will it affect our online community?

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Joined in 2008
December 20, 2009, 15:38

A recent report published by the University of NSW ‘Untangling the Net: The Scope of Content Caught By Mandatory Internet Filtering’ has suggested that websites designed to give a safe space to young gay and lesbians to meet and discuss their sexuality could feasibly be deemed Refused Classification (RC) under the National Classification Scheme if a mandatory internet filtering system was implemented in Australia. This would mean that any content deemed RC would be blocked by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).


Joined in 2009
December 20, 2009, 17:07

My understanding is that the leaked ACMA blacklist was used as an example (even suggested as a preliminary actual list) of the sorts of things destined to be filtered by Conroy’s scheme. It was on this list that some sites (which were quite explicit) also had material on them related to genuine discussion about sexuality.

I think the issue at hand is that useful information is being blocked because it resides on sites that are blocked for other reasons. As such, I don’t think it will be affecting us.

That said, I’m completely against the filtering scheme. Anything like that should be opt-in (and well publicised), not mandatory. Conroy has already alluded to filter going beyond explicit material and on to censoring other things as well, and that puts us on the road to a China-style firewall. No-one wins there.

Joined in 2008
December 20, 2009, 19:56

I’m inclined to agree. Once the filtering infrastructure is in place though it will make it easier to expand the range of content the federal government can deem RC ie it will be blocked by the ISPs.

I think the federal government should be more focused on community and education programs, including voluntary filtering, rather than adopting a regulatory approach. We certainly don’t want governments becoming a net nanny for us. There have also been some suggestions that if implemented, this will breach Australia’s international human rights obligations.

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