Censorship heads to a dead end after independent senator changes mind

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The Government’s plan to introduce mandatory internet censorship on an ISP level has been “scuttled”, as one independent senator has decided to join the Greens and Opposition to block any legislation that would get the scheme started, according to SMH.

Nick Minchin, the Opposition’s communications spokesman, has said that he has obtained independent legal advice this week that the Government would need to introduce some legislation to start the scheme.

The independent senator who has changed his mind, Senator Nick Xenophon, withdrew all support, saying “the more evidence that’s come out, the more questions there are on this.” He previously said that he may support it if it blocks gambling websites.

Senator Stephen Conroy, the Communications Minister who has started the proposal, has ignored advice from technical experts that would say that the internet would block legitimate sites, will be bypassed and won’t block some of the content available that would be blocked under the filter.

The filter has been opposed by online consumers, lobby groups, ISPs, network administrators, some children welfare groups, The Opposition (Liberal), the Greens and NSW Young Labor. Also, we are opposed to the filter.

Despite the concerns and opposition, the Government has announced six ISPs that will participate in the trial – Primus, Highway 1, OMNIconnect, Netforce, Webshield and Tech 2U. However, without the backing of the three largest ISPs (Telstra, Optus and iiNet), some have said that it would not provide any useful data on the effects of the new filter when it begins.