The list of 2,395 sites is suppoed to target child pornography but lists online gambling sites, YouTube links, regular porn and fetish sites. It is to form the basis of Australia's mandatory ISP-level internet filtering list.
The ACMA threatens fines of up to $11,000 a day for linking to sites included on secret blacklist. There is no recourse for sites listed, sparking fears the list could be abused for political or business espionage purposes.
The inclusion of Queensland businesses Dental Distinction and Maroochy Boarding Kennels would seem to confirm fears that sites could be incorrectly added to the list. According to reports, Dental Distinction was previously a victim of hackers which may have triggered its inclusion on the list.
The publishing of the secret blacklist may signal open warfare between free speech advocates and the Australian government.
Wikileaks published Australia's entire internet filtering blacklist, which is not even obtainable under the Freedom of Information act, in retaliation after Wikileaks itself was added to the list. Wikileaks was blacklisted for publishing Denmark's blacklist, together with a press release condemning the practice for lack of public or judicial oversight. An Australian anti-censorship activist submitted the page to the ACMA, requesting it be censored. The activist wished to expose the "slippery scope" of the proposed mandatory internet censorship scheme.
After Wikileaks was blacklisted, the ACMA then threatened high profile tech forum Whirlpool.net.au with an $11,000-per-day fine unless it edited a forum member's posting which linked to the page detailing the Danish blacklist.
The leak caps off a week of high drama in the internet filtering debate. CONTINUED