Government might back away from mandatory net filtering

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The Rudd Government has indicated that it might be backing away from its mandatory internet filtering plan, which is composed of two filters, as Communications Minister told a Senate estimates committee that the scheme could be a voluntary one.

The statement made, reported by The Australian, is a huge policy shift from Labor as it was planning to forcefully make all ISPs in Australia to implement a filter that has been said to degrade the network speed, and cause havoc to sites that were wrongfully blocked, as seen by a leaked list of the ACMA filter.

He has also said that this new plan could be implemented if the internet industry would block the content on a voluntary basis – and not be forced by legislation, which is said to be blocked by the Liberals and Greens in the Senate.

“One option is potentially legislation. One other option is that it could be (on a) voluntary basis that they (ISPs) could voluntarily agree to introduce it,” Conroy told the newspaper.

The government is set to pilot the program with several smaller ISPs, along with iPrimus and Optus, in the coming month, and is said to examine the technology in a live environment. Optus has offered to allow users to opt out of the program, which could be an indication on who would like the filter, or not.