Australians to get free porn filters

Summary:The Australian government is taking a pro-active stance over email filtering

The Australian government plans to spend about $86 million (£47m) to provide all the country's families with free Internet pornography-blocking software.

Helen Coonan, the minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, announced the initiative Wednesday. A representative of Coonan told ZDNet Australia that the first free filters should be available for download from a government portal within six months.

"It puts a safer Internet experience within the grasp of every Australian family, and it is a solution to the problem posed by Internet pornography that is simple, safe, effective and free," Coonan said in a statement.

"Every parent will be able to receive a free filter for their home computer, (and) there will be child-safe terminals in libraries across Australia."

It's likely that the Australian government will covet political mileage from the initiative, with the minister's release tipping a "comprehensive national community education campaign" designed to "ensure that all Australian families are aware of the benefits of regulating their children's Internet experience by using a safe and effective computer filter."

At this stage, no specific filtering software has been selected for the initiative. The minister's representative said an accreditation process will be put in place. Internet service provider-level filtering will also be an option for customers of providers that offer it.

"Under this scheme, families will be offered a filtered service or a free filter for their home computer, either for download from a dedicated Web site or delivered to them on CD-ROM," Coonan stated. "All ISPs will also be required to offer filters to new and existing customers at no additional cost."

ISPs will be rebated if they choose to offer filtering at a service provider level.

The government's Internet safety agency, NetAlert Limited, will receive a $3.68 million funding boost and become co-located with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Of the total spending, $68.69 million will be spent on filtering software over three year. Coonan's representative says the program will be reviewed in its third year.

According to the representative, almost no ISPs currently offer any kind of content filtering, so the government will study the feasibility of ISP-level filtering for a fourth time.

Topics: Security

About

Patrick Gray works for a global Fortune 500 consulting and IT services company, and is the author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology as well as the companion e-book The Breakthrough CIO's Companion. Patrick has spent over a decade providing strategy consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1,000 compan... Full Bio

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.