Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Australia Going to Mandatory Filtering

"Australia Going to Mandatory Filtering," by David Burt, FilteringFacts.org, 14 October 2008, reports the following:

Australia’s long, winding path of national filtering has finally taken the country to a two-tier structure of mandatory filtering by ISPs, ComputerWorld reports:

Australians will be unable to opt-out of the government’s pending Internet content filtering scheme, and will instead be placed on a watered-down blacklist, experts say. Under the government’s $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users can switch between two blacklists which block content inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material. Internode network engineer Mark Newton said many users falsely believe the opt-out proviso will remove content filtering. ”Users can opt-out of the ‘additional material’ blacklist (referred to in a department press release, which is a list of things unsuitable for children, but there is no opt-out for ‘illegal content’”, Newton said. ”Illegal is illegal and if there is infrastructure in place to block it, then it will be required to be blocked - end of story.”

As I’ve pointed out earlier, “mandatory opt out filtering” is something that will likely increase in democratic regimes, as Japan has recently considered it as well. And the practices of blocking all child porn sites with no opt-out is already widespread in Europe, and most likely will eventually find its way to the United States. And that will lead to a very interesting battle at the US Supreme Court.

–David Burt

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