Conroy given green light on mandatory filtering scheme

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The Federal Government has today announced that it will give the green light to the compulsory internet filtering plan, after a controversial trial to filter the internet was conducted earlier in the year, with the legislation being introduced in Parliament next year.

“ISP filtering reduces the risk of Australians being inadvertently exposed to RC-rated material when they are online,” Senator Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, said in a media release.

“The report into the pilot trial of ISP-level filtering demonstrates that blocking RC-rated material can be done with 100% accuracy and negligible impact on internet speed.”

The bill will likely see all internet service providers (ISPs) to block material that has been given a refused classification in other countries via an independent body and not the government. It is unclear if the communications regulator ACMA will still have a part as they control the blacklist.

It is also unclear if prohibited content will also include X18+, R18+ and MA15+ content (the latter two are exempt if they are behind a age restriction system – which can be circumvented very easily).

Good news for gamers, however, as these games will be excluded from the mandatory filtering of content refused classification because of a public consultation process for R18+ classification by the Minister of Home Affairs that was announced yesterday.

Senator Conroy has also said that there will be transparency measures implemented and people know why the material has been given the “Refused Classification” classification. Measures may also include having the right to appeal the decision of the page being bock.

“The Government will immediately undertake public consultation with the release today of a discussion paper on additional measures to improve the accountability and transparency of processes that lead to RC-rated material being placed on the RC Content list,” the Minister said.

If it passes both the House and the Senate, there will be a twelve month process to implement the filter.

Today also saw the release of the filtering trial results, showing that the technology was effective and can be implemented without making a huge impact to users’ speeds – well, according to their parameters. The tests, conducted by Enex Testlabs along with nine ISPs, also showed the flaws – notably, preventing circumvention.

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