Friday, 09 July 2010 16:49

Internet Filter delay has EFF cheering loudly


Today's announcement that any implementation of the proposed Internet Filter will be delayed until after the completion of a 12-month review of the "Refused Classification" category has support from Electronic Frontiers Australia, except for the part where it will be revisited after the review.

It would seem that the Gillard Labor Government is continuing to "clear the decks" in preparation for an early election with today's announcement that any implementation of the Internet Filter will be delayed until after a 12-month review into Refused Classification methods and content has been completed in conjunction with the states.

Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said, "As the Government's mandatory ISP filtering policy is underpinned by the strength of our classification system, the legal obligation to commence mandatory ISP filtering will not be imposed until the review is completed."

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFF) Chairman Colin Jacobs observed that, "While we welcome a review of the RC category, this is just tinkering around the edges of the filter's problems. 

"Applying a classification scheme designed for books and movies to the internet was never going to work. Altering the definition of one category won't change the fact that the government will never, ever, be able to review enough web pages to make any difference to anyone.

"The Minister had an excellent chance today to let the filter die a natural death. Instead they've left the ailing policy on life support for another year. We still urge the Government to listen to the experts, drop the filter, and focus on improving broadband access for all Australians," said Jacobs.

The delay also has the support of Google, who are in the midst of their own stoush with the Government.

Sen. Conroy also noted that Australia's three largest ISPs (Telstra, Optus and Primus) had agreed to voluntarily block a list of child abuse URLs compiled and maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. 

"I welcome the socially responsible approach taken by some of Australia's largest ISPs. Between them they account for around 70% of internet users in Australia," Senator Conroy said.

According to Sen. Conroy's media release, "Another key measure will be the use of a standardised block page notification, which will allow ISPs to notify users that the content they have requested has been blocked because it is deemed Refused Classification, and how to seek a review of that decision if they believe the decision to be incorrect."

One wonders how such a review might be requested when the Internet user has no idea what ought to be present on a page - and there are so many opportunities for 'denial of service' activities - what if a reasonably reputable site caused a copy of such a page to be randomly delivered to web surfers, just for fun?

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