80% of Aussies support filter

80% of Aussies support filter

Summary: A survey commissioned by the ABC's Hungry Beast, has found that 80 per cent of respondents supported Labor's proposed filter.


update A survey commissioned by the ABC's Hungry Beast, has found that 80 per cent of respondents supported Labor's proposed filter.

The poll, conducted by McNair Ingenuity Research, chose 1,000 Australian phone numbers to call regarding the Federal Government's proposed mandatory internet filter.

Other findings included 91 per cent disagreeing with the government's current plan to make the list of restricted content (RC) websites secret, with respondents preferring the list be made public.

The season return of Hungry Beast (which airs tonight on the ABC) will also include an interview with Senator Conroy addressing the proposed digital filter. In the interview Conroy acknowledged that filtering, when applied to YouTube, "would slow the internet down".

Conroy told Hungry Beast that the Federal Government was in discussions with Google to outsource the filtering of YouTube.

"What we're saying is that in Australia these are our laws and we'd like you to apply our laws and so that we think that where we can reasonably work with them, we're able to do it. I mean Google at the moment filter enormous amount of material on behalf of the Chinese Government," Conroy told Hungry Beast's Dan Ilic.

Conroy also stated in Senate Estimates yesterday, "Google were very happy to block China's material right up until they found out they had hacked their source code and suddenly discovered that censorship was a bad idea — after they had hacked their source code. But they block in a number of other countries. I understand Thailand is one. There are a number of other countries where Google complies with laws. We are in discussions and they are ongoing."

However, Google has repeatedly opposed the Federal Government's filtering plans in the past.

"At Google we are concerned by the government's plans to introduce a mandatory filtering regime for internet service providers (ISP) in Australia, the first of its kind amongst western democracies. Our primary concern is that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide," Google said on its blog in December.

Google released a statement this week that said while it supported the filtering of abusive materials such as child pornography, "we can't give an assurance that we would voluntarily remove all Refused Classification (RC) content from YouTube".

"The scope of RC is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information. RC includes the grey realms of material instructing in any crime from graffiti to politically controversial crimes such as euthanasia and exposing these topics to public debate is vital for democracy," it said. Google also said it would not do deep packet inspection.

The full findings of the survey will be released on Hungry Beast's website tomorrow.

The government is planning to introduce legislation for mandatory internet filtering sometime before the end of March.

The exact questions asked of the 1,000 people were:

Would you say you are in favour or not in favour of having a mandatory Government Internet filter that would automatically block all access in Australia, to overseas websites containing material that is Refused Classification?

This question followed a definition of 'refused classification' material, as images and information about one or more of the following:

  • child sexual abuse;
  • bestiality;
  • sexual violence;
  • gratuitous, exploitative or offensive sexual fetishes; and
  • detailed instructions on or promotion of crime, violence or use of illegal drugs.

If a mandatory Internet Filter is established, are you in favour or not in favour of the community being advised which websites have been Refused Classification and the reason why they have been refused classification?

Topics: Censorship, Broadband, Browser, Google, Government AU

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  • "Chose 1000 Australian phone numbers to call"

    And just who had these1000 numbers ??
    Right wing church groups ??
    The technically challenged who don't know what the filter means ??

    Choosing 1000 numbers out of the entire australian population is not a statistically valid representation to make any conclusions. They should try to reach at least 0.5% of the poulation so unless 110 people shared each of the 1000 phones their numbers are rubbish.
  • Interesting...

    I'd like to know exactly how the survey questions were worded.

    I doubt whether it was worded "Do you want the government to be able to censor what you see on the internet?"

    It was more likely to be "Should the government filter out child porn".
  • Admission

    It is refreshing to hear Conroy admit that it would slow down the internet (a total reversal of his previous statements) and that this is akin to China's suppressive and totalitarian filter.

    A last he's nailed his colours to the communist flag pole for everyone to see.
  • Hang on...

    Wasn't there an online survey that said 96% of 28000 respondents disagreed with the filter?

    Did they just phone the other 4% or something?
  • 1,000 is valid

    1,000 numbers is actually statistically significant, IF the numbers are chosen entirely at random.

    The problem with the result is that I don't know the actual question that they asked. Most people don't understand what the government's filter is going to block, so the survey question would have to be pretty detailed.
  • China

    I love how Conroy turns the fact that Google filter stuff for China into a positive: they do it for China, so why not for us as well?

    We should be trying to be LESS like China (at least in the case of government censorship)!
  • A load of crap

    This survey is a load of crap just like conroys filter.
  • ()

    There was, although the amount of respondents was over 24,000, not 28,000.


    Pretty damning and more credible than the statistically invalid one commissioned by Hungry Beast.
  • survey is crap

    What was the question asked? Did the people understand the actual impact of the question?
    I bet of those 80% who said they are in favor of the filter, only 1% of those actually understand what they are being asked.
  • Peter:

    Unfortunately, probably at least 80% of the public could be classed under "The technically challenged who don't know what the filter means".
  • Credibility

    Actually, I think you'll find that telephone surveys are more credible than online polls. 1000 people is also a statistically valid sample size.
  • Wasn't there an online survey that said 96% of 24000 respondents disagreed with the filter?

    I'm guessing that "online" is the key word here. People arriving at the web site probably have a reasonable idea of what the filter does and does not do.
  • Observer

    Clever. You answer the question but avoid the subtext. Yes, 1000 is a credible sample SIZE but you can still distort a survey in the way you select your sample, the way you ask the question, the way you treat outriders, etc. The real issue is not the sample size but whether the survey methodology itself is credible. I would argue that based on what we know, it is about as credible as the ENEX report, which is to say it has no credibility at all to anyone who is actually informed.
  • This survey is perfectly valid

    It's interpretation that is flawed...

    What it shows is that 80% of Aussies do not understand how broad reaching RC material is.

    It also goes on to say that 90% of these people belive the blacklist should be made public, so they obviously don't 'get it'.....
  • 80% of aussies?

    ZDNet why are you reporting such invalid stats?

    Just trying to drive traffic to your site???
  • Publicity

    I think Hungry Beast are releasing these damning figures to try and get people to watch their show tonight. I'll be interesting in seeing the full survey results tomorrow.
  • No Credibility

    Erm. No.

    The result is most likely heavily skewed towards people that have a landline, and then only people that are listed in the phonebook. There is a typical demographic attached to that (older and less tech savvy).

    It's the reason why political polls in the US, for example, have increasingly been missing the mark.

    A lot of people don't have a landline anymore (they have a mobile only), or can not be found in the phonebook (VOIP number - not in phonebook). These are more likely to be people from a younger generation.
  • Government lies again

    When has the Rudd (and before that Howard) government EVER told the truth?

    They have become like the Americans, lie, lie, lie, and if that doesn't work lie again.

    The same for their state sponsored, bankster controlled, media mouthpieces.

    If you want the truth, just put the word NOT after what they are saying, that is how consistently they lie.
  • ABC about as credible as dog***

    Shame, shame, shame ABC. There was a time ABC could have been thought to be independent in it's views, not being a commercial station...

    But alas, it goes to show the sad.... very sad state of affairs Australia is in, a Western country that is no more democratic than a third world country like China in how opinion is filtered and moulded and spat out as a bunch smelly old pile of c*** that stinks to high heaven.

    Australia nothing more than the Western test case for further international expansion of the Censorship agenda.

    ABC nothing more than a propaganda machine.
  • bit suspect...

    What was the exact wording of the question.. something along the lines of

    "Do you agree with the government taking action against child pornography"

    would get 80% of more people agreeing to it. Without knowing what biased propaganda based question was used, this survey doesn't hold much water.

    If asked - "Do you agree with the government introducing a compulsory internet monitoring service on your internet line with the ability to deny you access to whatever they don't want you seeing without public disclosure or review identical to the systems put in place by Iran and China"

    might offer an mirror image result in the opposite direction.

    Its all about how educated the subjects are and how biased of a question is used.