Australia delays plans to block ‘inappropriate’ websites

PinkNews Staff Writer July 9, 2010
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Australia will delay plans to block “inappropriate” websites, including gay porn sites, the government’s communications minister has said.

Stephen Conroy said the public needed to have more confidence about which websites would be on the blacklist.

Last year, the government announced it was proposing a law requiring internet service providers to filter and block inappropriate content, such as that related to terrorism and abusive images of children.

A list of sites to be blacklisted was obtained by Wikileaks, a website which allows anonymous whistleblowers to leak official documents. It revealed that gay websites were among those to be banned.

Although the government said the law would stop online child pornography, only around half of the 2,395 blacklisted sites were associated with abusive images of children.

Others included online poker portals, YouTube links, gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia entries, euthanasia pages and the homepages of private companies and medical practitioners.

Mr Conroy said today that a further 12 months was needed to review what should be blocked in the country.

He said: “As the government’s mandatory ISP filtering policy is underpinned by the strength of our classification system, the legal obligation to commence mandatory ISP filtering will not be imposed until the review is completed.

“The public needs to have confidence that the URLs on the list, and the process by which they get there, is independent, rigorous, free from interference or influence and enables content and site owners access to appropriate review mechanisms.”

Three of the country’s internet service providers have already agreed to block a list of sites linked to child abuse.

The mandatory filtering remains an unpopular move, however, and will make Australia one of the strictest internet regulators in the world.

More: Australia

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