ISP level porn filtering won't work, says Coonan

New restrictions for adult content on converged devices like 3G phones will soon be introduced to parliament, but filtering at the Internet Service Provider (ISP) level won't work, according to Communications minister Helen Coonan. Speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra today, Coonan said legislation to limit access to inappropriate or harmful content on emerging media platforms would soon be enacted.

New restrictions for adult content on converged devices like 3G phones will soon be introduced to parliament, but filtering at the Internet Service Provider (ISP) level won't work, according to Communications minister Helen Coonan.

Speaking to the National Press Club in Canberra today, Coonan said legislation to limit access to inappropriate or harmful content on emerging media platforms would soon be enacted.

"I will soon bring to Parliament legislative measures to provide safeguards comparable to those in place for traditional media," she said.

"It will extend the current safeguards that apply to content delivered over the Internet or television to be applied to content delivered over convergent devices.

"This will include prohibition of content rated X18+ and above, requirements for consumer advice and age-restricting access to content suited only to adults."

The government was always looking for better ways to protect children from harmful media content, she said.

However the -Clean Feed" model used in the United Kingdom, a type of mandated ISP level filtering system, was not one of them.

"Clean Feed does not block all pornography or other offensive sites and it does not make the Internet child safe.

"Where blocking known Web sites at the ISP level might reduce the chances of stumbling across pornography, it does not address e-mail, peer to peer or chat room issues," she said.

The Australian Labor Party and a coalition of back-benchers have proposed introducing the Clean Feed system in Australia.

The proposal has met strong opposition from industry.

The government is conducting an ISP filtering trial in Tasmania, with Coonan saying she would consider its outcomes.

However the trials have already found the effect on Internet performance from ISP filtering to be "substantial", said Coonan.

"Any filtering mechanism needs to be both effective at blocking unwanted content as well as having a minimal impact on the performance of the network.

The government instead supports PC-based filtering.

"The simple fact is the closer the filter is located to the end user, the greater the content it can effectively block.

"A PC based filter does more than simply protect children on the web, it gives parents much more effective control over all aspects of their children's activity online," said Coonan.

Newsletters

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