Sex Party fears end of net porn

The Australian Sex Party claims popular sites Penthouse.com, Hustler.com and Redtube.com will be blocked under a mandatory ISP filtering scheme thanks to Australia's x-rated rules.

The Australian Sex Party (ASP) claims popular sites Penthouse.com, Hustler.com and Redtube.com will be blocked under a mandatory ISP filtering scheme thanks to Australia's x-rated rules.

Fiona Patten, spokesperson for ASP, which is aiming for a spot in the Senate, told ZDNet.com.au today that Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy had backtracked on promises he had made to the party while in opposition.

"He said, 'Don't worry, we're not going to try and stop adults from viewing what they want. This isn't about cracking down on adults'," said Patten.

However, Patten said that around 4 million adult websites from around the globe, including those that most people would consider "mainstream", would be blocked by the filters due to Australia's classification system for x-rated content.

"When we say refused classification, we're talking sexually abusive language, any form of fetish... It's not illegal material, it's just something that John Howard in his wisdom cut out of x-rated classification," said Patten.

"I don't think people are aware of how the classification system works in Australia. Australia has one of the strictest classification systems in the world for adult material," she said.

The problem with applying a mandatory filter to all refused classification (RC) content online was that Australia's censorship laws were much stricter than those of overseas counterparts. Content created in the UK, South Africa, US and Canada typically does not comply with Australia's x-rated classification for standard media such as DVDs, meaning that they need to be edited prior to being sold in Australia. Patten believes this will be problematic for content accessed over the internet.

"Ninety-nine per cent of all films that are created outside Australia must be edited to meet the X-classification. If they are not, they are refused classification. So every website in the world that features unedited content will be an RC site," said Patten.

"It will block what most people would consider mainstream sites such as Penthouse.com," said Patten.

Other sites that would be blocked would include xtube, redtube and youporn, said Patten. "And there's a new one, iporn, and that's actually doing a lot of traffic. It has material that is RC."

Patten said the ASP now had over 3000 members and that "this filter will do nothing but good for the Australian Sex Party."

"We will try to bring 4 million Australians who access these websites on a regular basis into action," said Patten.

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