Mandatory ISP filter due mid-2011

Mandatory ISP filter due mid-2011

Summary: Mandatory ISP filtering legislation will be introduced around the middle of 2010, after which there will be a one year period to implement and activate the filtering technology.


Mandatory ISP filtering legislation will be introduced around the middle of 2010, after which there will be a one year period to implement and activate the filtering technology.

The Federal Government today announced it will introduce amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act, which will by 2011 require all ISPs to block refused classification-rated material hosted on overseas servers.

As part of the new legislation, the government intends to explore what additional process could be implemented around how websites are added to the government's "Refused Classification" (RC) list.

Minister for Communications Stephen Conroy today released a discussion paper seeking stakeholder feedback on how the new list should be overseen and by which agency.

"The government will immediately undertake public consultation with the release today of a discussion paper on additional measures to improve the accountability and transparency of processes that lead to RC-rated material being placed on the RC Content list," Conroy said.

It appears though that the government has already decided how the RC list will be generated, indicating it would be compiled via "public complaints mechanism". It is not clear yet what this mechanism is. Other sources for the new RC list would include known URLs shared between international agencies.

The obvious contender for the new RC list's oversight is the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which manages a list of locally hosted illegal content, and issues so-called "take-down" notices to local operators.

Options Conroy said would be considered included appeal mechanisms, notification to website owners of RC content and the review by an independent expert and report to the Parliament.

While it's still uncertain whether ACMA will be appointed to the role, Conroy today flagged that the agency would be allocated extra funds to boost the security of the RC Content list. It also intends to send automated updates to the ISPs.

Topics: Censorship, Government AU

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • No!

    I dont like this , someone should make it not happen.
  • Mandatory ISP filter due mid-2011

    Funny thing was we all complained when China did this, yet we allow it here in our own free (well I thought we were) country. Communism is alive and well after all.
  • Un Australian

    Oh good - this this something that needs to eb voted on.
    How about we put this fine 1930's legistlation to a vote.
    My grandfather fought the Nazi's and Communists to allow free speech and allow us choices. Here we are in the 21st century being threatened by neo facist religious political leaders - Conroy - like egomaniacs before him such as Stalin and Hilter - know what is best for us.
    I say we skip to the end of this process and hang anyone who threatens what our fore fathers fought so hard in blood to keep.
    Very Un Australian I say
  • Wrong!..

    This is everything that freedom loving Australia is supposed to be against.. They' re basing this on family values, so-called? Who the hell are they to tell me what i can & cant see? Which party it is is irrelevant; Anyone in power will be just as enthusiastic about curtailing freedoms as much as they can get away with.. Its the nature of the beast. This just can not be allowed to happen.
  • Act on his own will.

    I wonder if the minister ever listen to the people at all? has he forgotten that the government is suppose to work for the "people" not against the people will. What is his right to bring us to communist age. FIltering internet freedom like China did? This is a shame for a freedom country like Australia!!!!
  • For the people!.. not to the people for your own power grab

    Dear Conroy,

    Read the below and tell me where the people of Australia have asked for your "protection" or your "intervention" went protecting them or their children..

    It is bad enough we have this Mandatory Voting Lark, but you have no right to create a Nanny state.. Your job is to catch those who brake the law not remove our freedoms (under the "for your own protection lie") according to your selective opinion.

    According to research undertaken by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (”ACMA”) and published in their 2005, it is true that almost two-thirds of parents (of children aged 8 to 13 years) do not have Internet filters installed. However, approximately 90% of those parents do not install filters for reasons (other) than “cost and poor computer literacy” as claimed by Kim Beazley.

    The ACMA report states:

    “Software to filter inappropriate websites was reported to be used by 35 per cent of parents: 29 per cent used filtering software on a regular basis and six per cent on an occasional basis. This is an increase since 2001, at which time 17 per cent of Internet-connected households with a child aged under 18 reported using such software. The use of filtering software was similar across all children’s age groups, however, parents with three or more children were also more likely (p<0.05) to have blocking software in use than parents with fewer than three children (54 per cent compared to 33 per cent).“

    The ACMA report also provides information about why other parents did not have filters installed:

    “Parents’ reasons for not installing filter software varied.

    Fifty per cent did not install filters because they trusted their child. Seventeen per cent of parents felt that installing software was redundant because of their use of other safeguards.

    A minority of parents did not use filters because they were either unsure how to install the software (five per cent), unaware of the utility of filters as a safety strategy (four per cent) or unsure where to obtain filter software (three per cent).

    A small proportion of parents (four per cent) reported not using filter software because it had proven too restrictive.“

    The ACMA report also stated:

    “Almost all parents (92 per cent) reported that they were involved in their child’s Internet use in some way. The proportion of parents not involved in their child’s online activities was higher among those with older children (five per cent of parents with eight or nine year olds versus 10 per cent of parents with 12 or 13 year olds). Two-thirds of parents (67 per cent) reported supervising their child’s Internet use by watching their activity to some degree.“

    Another ACMA report, Media and Communications in Australian Families 2007, supports the view that parents do not consider aggressive filtering necessary or desirable. 61% of parents in this study expressed no concern about their child’s Internet use, while only 8% were very concerned.[7a]
  • Conroy, "Internet villain of the year"


    A Typical product of Catholic Brainwashing & Control of the Masses.

    Perhaps he should focus more on "protecting our children" from the church & it's paedophile priests!
  • communism huh?

    This has nothing to do with communism - what it does have to do with is regulatory bodies trying desperately to enforce domestic legislation onto what is essentially a borderless construct (the internet).

    What we will see happen is a classic knee jerk style political reaction, followed by some ingenius fellow working out how to circumvent the system. Ultimately this will move too fast for any one government to be able to effectively legislate on it, and it will be just another display of wasted taxpayer money and bureaucratic "jazz hands" to appease...., actually who is this supposed to appease?
  • Eh?

    Wow, what an irrelevant pile of nonsensical drivel!
  • Narrow Minded

    Just shows that our political leaders are so out of touch with todays world! I am mid 30s and grown up with the internet and computers. Our leader are all 50 plus and this generation does not fully understand the modern world. Yes there needs to be censorship to protect our chlidren, but I am an adult of sound mind and believe I can make the correct decision to what I like to watch play or browse to!!!
  • Chumps

    Meh. It's makes little difference. Anyone with half a clue can bypass it in about 30 seconds. Politicians can do whatever floats their idiotic boat, and the rest of us will continue to find a way to do what we want, how we want. And yeah, that's right, this is posted by an Australian from a US-based IP address. Go think about that, Mr Conroy...
  • Keep Christianity out of government

    This is a smoke screen to push Christian values further into government.
    Our freedoms are on the verge of being ripped away.
    We need to stand up and throw these bastards out.
    This is Australia, we are not China or Iran, the only other countries in the world to have a similar system.
  • No kidding

    That is being spammed on every page about the filter too....
  • Stupid

    This is stupid and a waste of money, my money for that matter. It will be redundant the second the legislation is made legal. So what is the point really.
  • a big f-you to the government

    ok, so why are we letting this happen?
    if our government does something that we dont like, we tell them and wheels should turn to resolve the issue.
    who has more power? Government or its people?
    doesnt take much to realise, its people.
    a government without its people is pretty much like a bunch of talkative people in a room.

    if you do not want this, speak up! the government is here to serve us and our best intrests, sometimes they don't get it right... this is where we correct them.

    i do NOT want this. as i said in another post related to an article to do with this topic, power can be abused. "power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely" - george orwell's 1984.
  • nonsensical weird drivel

    I don't understand what you are talking about but I will very much defend your right to drool your drivel ad nauseum, so long as I am allowed to walk away when I feel like it.
  • Internet filtering

    I feel sorry for you Australians. Very gradual steps are taken by your government to make it more and more a police state. Look around you, Yes you might find it "normal" but this is because you have been told again and again that this is good for you. This internet filtering is just another step to limit your information from the out side world and yes Australia might be big in size but it's small compared to countries like India, Indonesia, China etc etc etc. It is just far away from any other country in the world.
    Wake up Australia and start thinking for yourself.
  • Don't sit there, ACT!

    Senator Conroy said the Government had never claimed the filter itself would stop child pornography.

    In your own interest you should act now!
  • Revolution

    Over thousands of years of various "dictator" style governments, people eventually get fed up and revolt. We only have around 200 years of history and all basically democratic if we ignore the very early colonial days. But policies such as this could eventually rile the population so much that although there may not be a "revolution" as such, there will certainly be mass protests resulting in the overthrow of the government. I think they need to be very careful.
    And this is not to mention that people will find ways to hide the content in innocent-looking sites at least for a while. It will be a huge cost for a large team of people to monitor and verify suspicious content and sites and then possibly debate whether or not it should be blacklisted. Then there will be the inevitable appeals, reviews, etc. What an administrative bungle this will be.
    And like others have said, we have been critical of China for exactly the same policy (different content maybe) and here we are going down the exact same path. It is nothing but undemocratic censorship.
    If it is kids we are trying to protect (and rightly so), then why aren't the parents watching what is going on? If there's any problems, put the PC in the lounge room with the screen visible to all in the room.
    I could go on but enough for now.
  • This is unworkable.

    The only reason this country has to implement a filtering system is to block Kiddie-porn. To the best of my knowledge, none of the news-worthy cases of KP "busts" has involved an established site. They have been "closed rings" trading encrypted files that no ISP can possibly track.

    Censorship of "Adult" materials being viewed by other adults is unacceptable.