Coalition confirms: Internet filtering by default

Coalition confirms: Internet filtering by default

Summary: The Coalition MP put in charge of policy around child safety online, Paul Fletcher, has confirmed that filtering of adult content from fixed-line internet services and mobile internet will be turned on by default unless a user opts out of it.


The Australia Coalition's proposed opt-out internet filter will be for everyone, regardless of whether they have children, Liberal MP Paul Fletcher has told ZDNet.

As first reported by ZDNet, buried in a new policy document released today, the Coalition announced that if it wins the federal election on Saturday, it would follow the UK in implementing opt-out internet filtering of all adult content for all Australians.

Fletcher confirmed to ZDNet tonight that the reason the Coalition had decided to go down this path was to take out the confusion for parents who are unsure who or where to get filtering products from.

"What we intend to do is work with the industry to arrive at an arrangement where the default is that there is a filter in the home device, the home network, that is very similar to the filters that are available today. This is very much about protecting children from inappropriate content, particularly pornography," he said.

"The key thing is it is an opt-out, so it will be open to the customer to call up and say, 'look, I don't want this', and indeed, we will work with the industry to make this a streamlined and efficient process," he said.

"The default is that you have the system turned on. You have the filter turned on, but anybody who doesn't want it is free to have it off ... irrespective if you're a parent or not."

On whether it would be dangerous for ISPs to have a database full of users who have opted in to access pornographic material, Fletcher said there would be "proper protocols in terms of privacy".

He said that much of the detail is still yet to be worked out on how the filter would work, but would likely be hardware included on an internet connection in each user's home.

Fletcher defended the Coalition's decision to announce the policy just two days out from the election, stating that it was designed to align with the broader release of the Coalition's policy costings.

"No particular science or reason there at all. Simply a factor of the broad approach on which a range of policies get announced and then get released," he said.

"Quite a number of policies were announced today."

Topics: Security, Government, Government AU, Australia


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Told you so

    Anyone who honestly believed the Coalition opposed internet filtering (or censorship in general) is a bloody moron.
  • Secular Party of Australia

    You do not need God to Save the Children.

    There are heaps of choices out there but if are annoyed by religion influencing policy.

    Vote Secular Party of Australia.
    • Even without being turned off by the spamming

      I wouldn't vote for a one issue party whose one issue is both unnecessary (in a country that recognises the separation of church and state) and potentially undemocratic (if it seeks to prevent certain segments of the population from having a say in politics merely because of their religious beliefs). Sorry, but I cannot trade one form of dictatorship for another.
  • Turnbull Denial

    Malcolm Turnbull's Twitter account has just DENIED that opt-out internet filtering is Coalition policy, says the policy document released today "wrongly indicated" the contrary

    Policy released today wrongly indicated we supported an opt out system of internet filtering. That is not our policy and never has been.— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) September 5, 2013
    • That's not what he said on Hack

      On the Hack interview he stated that they would install software "on phones and modems". So that's not really a denial
      • Turnbull says:

        "The correct position is that the Coalition will encourage mobile phone and internet service providers to make available software which parents can choose to install on their own devices to protect their children from inappropriate material."

        Whether it's a mistake or a backdown, I'm glad it's not going ahead.
  • Hegelian Dialectic

    Problem - Reaction - Solution

    Create a problem exacerbate the proliferation Internet pornography
    Cause the public to React and call for a solution
    Provide a predesigned Solution that meets your need, ie censorship/control

    Once the infrastructure is in place to filter content, what else will be filtered?

    Fact of the matter is that there is already a massive amount of filtering going on. There is just so much out there that the filtering isn't all that apparent.

    Google's YouTube does this all of the time when certain areas of information are breached that are not on the accepted list.

    With so much controversial information available out there it appears that everything is allowed, but there are entire areas of what is going on in the world that are very heavily censored.
  • Wheres Richard with his carry on

    I'm expecting Richard to jump in here and say, woot....

    It WAS policy except no one told the man responsible for the portfolio and now we arnt doing it...

    Your trying to tell me policy is released from the Libs which no one in their leadership looks at ESPECIALLY those responsible... get the %$^& out of here :)
  • Improvement in Internet connection

    Instead of filtering the internet . Why not give attention to improve the internet service in rural areas. Improve the speed of the internet connection for small businesses.