Australian Internet Filtering Plan Will Be Mandatory for Everyone – No Opt-Out

After the internet filtering trial, there will be no such thing as opting out of the internet filters.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

The internet filtering plan from Australia seems to keep getting more and more disturbing. Clear back in 2007, the word from Australia said that the internet filters will become mandatory for all Australians following the trials currently taking place according to telecommunications minister Stephen Conroy. From the report:

“Labor makes no apologies to those that argue that any regulation of the internet is like going down the Chinese road,” he said.

“If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree.”

It was quite a remark because since then, new revelations came from the filtering. We now know that the filtering plan will include the filtering of p2p traffic and, while he talks about how filtering is successful in Europe and in the UK, since then, revelations of the EU filters failing miserably when they completely blocked Wikipedia didn’t exactly inspire confidence. Added to this was the performance degradation.

While the report at that time says that people can opt-out, a report from ComputerWorld (the latest word) says that this won’t necessarily be the case. From ComputerWorld:

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.

Pundits say consumers have been lulled into believing the opt-out proviso would remove content filtering altogether.

There have already been public demonstrations against the censorship plan.

Clearly, the situation is getting even more heated now that these revelations are coming out into the open.

Correction: an observant reader points out that the first referenced article was posted in 2007, not 2008. Thanks!

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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