Filter delayed while RC is reviewed

Filter delayed while RC is reviewed

Summary: Communications Minister Stephen Conroy this morning announced a number of wide-ranging modifications to the government's controversial mandatory internet filtering policy, including a delay of at least a year to the project while the State and Federal Governments review the Refused Classification category of content which the filter would block.

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Communications Minister Stephen Conroy this morning announced a number of wide-ranging modifications to the government's controversial mandatory internet filtering policy, including a delay of at least a year to the project while the State and Federal Governments review the Refused Classification category of content which the filter would block.

In addition, major internet service providers (ISPs) such as Telstra, Optus and Primus will voluntarily block (at the ISP level) a list of sites which specifically serve child abuse and pornography content, until the mandatory filter is implemented. The list will be compiled and maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Conroy's other additions to the policy this morning include:

  • An annual review of content on the 'blacklist' of Refused Classification content by an independent expert, appointed in consultation with industry
  • "Clear" avenues for appeal of classification decisions
  • A policy that all content which is being considered for inclusion on the blacklist on the basis of a public complaint be classified by the existing Classification Board
  • A policy that all parties affected by a content block have the ability to have decisions reviewed by the Classification Review Board
  • The use of a standardised block page notification, which will allow ISPs to notify users that requested content has been blocked, and how to see a review of the block

"The public needs to have confidence that the URLs on the list, and the process by which they get there, is independent, rigorous, free from interference or influence and enables content and site owners access to appropriate review mechanisms," said Conroy in a statement.

"This suite of measures will help the public have confidence that only the content specified by the legislation is being blocked."

The additions to the policy will be incorporated into the filter legislation, which is currently being developed.

Conroy acknowledged that "some sections of the community" had expressed concern about whether the range of material currently included in the RC category correctly reflected current community standards.

"In order to address these concerns, the government will recommend a review of the RC classification to State and Territory Ministers, be conducted at the earliest opportunity. The review would examine the current scope of the existing RC classification, and whether it adequately reflects community standards," he added.

Crikey correspondent Bernard Keane first revealed the news on Twitter, appearing to be tweeting from Conroy's press conference in Melbourne this morning on the matter. He noted that the review of RC content was expected to take a year.

The timing of the introduction of the legislation to support the filter, however, may still be later this year. Conroy said this week that he expected the legislation to be out this year — and likely before December.

Topics: Censorship, Government, Government AU

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10 comments
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  • A review of the classification system, like the one they've had on the agenda for video games now for how many years????
    m00nh34d
  • Hahaha...stop trying to dodge the issue, Conroy, everyone with half-a-brain sees your filter for what it really is; censorship, like China, PURE AND SIMPLE.

    I'd rather have an uncensored internet with child porn running rampant than a filtered one that won't let me access euthanasia websites even if I only want to some bloody research. (OH HO, yes, I said it!)
    Hyperion09
  • It is not a choice between having a censored internet with no child porn and a free internet with child porn 'running rampant'. There are other avenues to follow to stop child abuse from occurring, some which involve apprehending the offenders. This would be preferable to Australia simply ignoring the issue and hoping it will go away. However, as pointed out, this is an international undertaking that is probably quite difficult to carry out effectively.

    Most importantly, there is a clear distinction between child abuse material and other 'RC' content, and that is what the debate should be about.
    darkbl00m
  • @mcfate, yes exactly. The distinction is clear - all child abuse, terrorism, etc, sites are already illegal - so people wanting to exchange such material don't use the open Net where they could be detected.

    Conboy must know this (well, some of his apparatchiks must), so he seems to be lying when he says that his filter is needed to "stop pedophiles" and "save people from accidentally coming across CP".

    Conboy's filter will have no effect on pedophiles (except to make them go further underground where it will be harder to catch them), and I have yet to hear of anyone who has ever accidentally accessed a CP site. He seems to think that he's on a mission from God and/or the ACL, and that we are all stupid.
    gnome-8be8a
  • Just another smokescreen to get them past the election, then full steam ahead.
    This mobs gotta go!
    grump3
  • Reread this statement: "A policy that all content which is being considered for inclusion on the blacklist on the basis of a public complaint be classified by the existing Classification Board"

    So the classification board classifies information they intend to classify? Doesn't that translates into "You're not going to be told what is being classified"? Sounds like everything that hasn't been reviewed for classification is assumed RC.

    How would that provide a "Clear" avenue for appeal?
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • Part of China's word filter as below, once this kind of filter is set up they can filter anything. I hate the filter, but I guess sooner or later the filter will be set up. Conroy, don't try to hide the original purpose for this filter. You can do it, but don't let us know
    ****
    falun
    tianwang
    cdjp
    bignews
    boxun
    chinaliberal
    chinamz
    chinesenewsnet
    cnd
    creaders
    dafa
    dajiyuan
    dfdz
    dpp
    falu
    falun
    falundafa
    flg
    freechina
    freenet
    ****
    GCD
    gcd
    hongzhi
    hrichina
    huanet
    hypermart
    incest
    jiangdongriji
    japan
    lihongzhi
    making
    minghui
    minghuinews
    nacb
    naive
    nmis
    paper
    peacehall
    playboy
    renminbao
    renmingbao
    rfa
    safeweb
    sex
    seqing
    simple
    svdc
    taip
    tibetalk
    triangle
    triangleboy
    UltraSurf
    unixbox
    ustibet
    voa
    wangce
    wstaiji
    xinsheng
    yuming
    zhengjian
    zhengjianwang
    zhenshanren
    zhuanfalun
    xxx
    anime
    censor
    hentai
    [hz]
    (hz)
    [av]
    (av)
    [sm]
    (sm)
    porn
    multimedia
    toolbar
    downloader
    1@...
  • Yes fair enough, but again I put it to you.

    The opposition will not come out and say "no" to filtering before the election, so do you really think they'll say no after they're elected?
    RS-ef540
  • Going by 'anti-everything' Abbott's deafening silence on this topic it would seem internet censorship for OZ is inevitable.
    Yet hese 'Filters' will do little other than increase ISP's delivery costs, cause congestion & slow the internet.
    Easily bypassed using a proxy server or torrents they achieve nothing other than the appeasement of the Christian lobby groups by a crumbling government desperate to stay in power.
    The millions wasted on this useless exercise would be far better spent monitoring & policing existing laws to catch & take down those offenders rather than the ostrich approach of hiding behind a national firewall.
    This Filter was supposed to be optional prior to Labour's election. Now they also want to monitor & log all our internet activity including VOIP calls & use a secret blacklist to deny access to any of many thousands of sites & topics at the whim of any incumbent government.
    Big Brother gone mad...
    G.
    grump3
  • add Conroy to the filter & just keep him out altogether
    alfielee@...