Australia announces controversial ‘Chinese-style’ Internet filter

Australia said Tuesday it would push ahead with a mandatory China-style plan to filter the Internet, despite widespread criticism that it will strangle free speech and is doomed to fail. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said new laws would be introduced to ban access to “refused classification” (RC) sites featuring criminal content such as child sex abuse, bestiality, rape and detailed drug use. Blacklisted sites would be determined by an independent classification body via a “public complaint” process, said Conroy, admitting there was “no silver bullet solution to cyber-safety”. Internet user groups, the pornography industry and others have strongly opposed the plan, saying any such measure would be impractical to enforce, block access to some legitimate websites and slow down Internet speeds. But Conroy said a seven-month trial had concluded that blocking could be done with 100 percent accuracy and negligible impact to connection speeds. Internet service providers (ISPs) would be offered grants to offer additional filters of, for example, X-rated content and gambling sites, but Conroy said that would not be compulsory.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gSDLR6IRyBe7rlYwUIReOo2W17mg

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