It's been just over three months since the Federal Government decided it would go ahead with its plans for internet service providers to block access to "refused classification" material on the web. ZDNet.com.au asked the public what it thought of the plan.
On December 15 Communications Minister Stephen Conroy gave his approval for the plan to proceed, saying tests had proved that internet service providers could filter websites without the filtering affecting the speed of the internet. There were issues, however, raised with blocking access to high-traffic sites.
On Monday night the minister defended his plan on ABC radio, saying controversial websites such as pro-euthanasia websites would not be blocked if that was all that they were discussing, but said that certain web pages on such a site would be blocked if they contained information on how to kill yourself.
The legislation required for the plan to be introduced has been delayed due to "issues" which had been raised in a public consultation period. Conroy had hoped to have the Bill heard in the autumn sitting, which has now passed. The implementation of the policy has been scheduled for 2011.
For transparency's sake, the questions we asked were:
Would you trust a government body to decide what you can and can't see on the internet?
The government is planning to implement a mandatory scheme to block people from seeing certain web pages (which could be child porn but could be information on a number of other topics such as euthanasia). How do you feel about that?
According to the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995, refused classification covers publications that:
- describe, depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified; or
- describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not); or
- promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence.