Australian government to censor the Internet by 2011

By on December 15, 2009, 2:35 PM
ZDNet Australia reports that the federal government has announced plans to amend the Broadcasting Services Act, which will require all ISPs to block unapproved content on overseas servers. The legislation will be introduced around mid-2010 and the filtering technology will roll out over a one-year period thereafter.

Stephen Conroy, Minister for Communications, today released a new discussion paper requesting stakeholder feedback on how the "Refused Classification" (RC) list should be overseen, and by which agency. The government has already determined how it will compile the RC list, though, mentioning a "public complaints mechanism", but has not elaborated.

ZDNet notes that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is a likely candidate for overseeing the new RC list, as it already manages a list of locally hosted illegal content. Appointed or not, Conroy reportedly said the agency would receive additional funds to boost the security of the RC content list.




User Comments: 79

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EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

That country is just too sensitive to whatever they consider inappropriate. Seriously, I've read up on some stuff that's already banned and censored and some of it is just downright laughable. I feel bad for gamers that live there too... as they cut out all of the good stuff. They might as well just have L4D with zombies that explode sunshine and puppy kisses. I would just import everything from the US if I lived there.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

WOW....that is unreal in a democratic country. And of course they kicked up a huge fuss by banning L4D2 unless they edited out the blood, body parts and killings. You'd think we were reading about Iran.

If I were living in Australia I I'd be checking out my options to move to another country. What's next? They going to park themselves in front of your bedroom door to make sure you're having sex "the way they think you should?"

BlindObject said:

Proxies will suddenly become common.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

There is certainly room for this to be abused. However i am probably in the minority here that thinks this might be a good idea. In fact I would be glad to see a way to get illegal sites and scam sites blocked instantaneously. Maybe i have just had to save too many relatives from too many scam sites that should have been shut down long ago, and seen first hand the devastating effects of pornography/gambling in friends lives and marriages and am just hoping that this helps cut down any of those even slightly.

I guess the devil will be in the details but at least face the facts though that most of your internet activity is already monitored and recorded by Google who also doesn't care about your privacy. I guess because they aren't the government and so far haven't been restricting access to things that they aren't as bad though.

BMfan BMfan said:

Thank GOD i wasn't born is that country.

treeski treeski said:

It would be interesting to see a poll or survey done of the Australian populace to see if that's what they really want.

Guest said:

No one wanted this apart from the religious fringe and those stupid enougth to believe the goivernment spin. Conroy and his government is going down on this one.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

They might as well just have L4D with zombies that explode sunshine and puppy kisses.

and seen first hand the devastating effects of pornography/gambling in friends lives and marriages and am just hoping that this helps cut down any of those even slightly.

without a doubt comp, however you cant be free when the government is spending its time and enacting laws to save you from yourself. this is the slippery slope, where do you stop? and whats next? will you have to show your cholesterol card to be able to get an order of fries? if you think that way out there, Google New York and the UK on trans fat.

Guest said:

Don't we criticize China for the same thing. I live in Australia and think we are going back to the dark ages with governments deciding what I see and think. Dumb idea

Guest said:

whats the difference between australia and china now? why dont they just ban facebook as well?

Guest said:

Proxy's and $5.00 per month Lynnodes will become common place and younger net users will discover old school IRC software, Porting 80 via a SSH tunnel, the list goes on and on. The communist Australian Labor party is yet again wasting millions of another flawed idea nobody wants. All to help Mr Rudd realize his dream and get a position on the UN council? Power hungry twit. It makes me embarrassed to say I'm Australia.

Brett

Guest said:

Im an I.T tech in Sydney

i cant wait for the Government to do this, as i might make some good money:)

i can see my next advertisement,

Cant download your music or movies?

Cant get online for Mulitplayer?

Ring Rob For a Fast Proxie Setup !

I cant wait :)

Fragrant Coit Fragrant Coit said:

This is hugely unpopular and I really can't see it coming to fruition.

Steve {Western Australia}

Guest said:

Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings. ~Heinrich Hein

Guest said:

To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves. ~Claude-Adrien Helvétius

Guest said:

If it was easy to move to another country the only ones left here would be the government.

They may as well call us a concentration camp Republic of Australia. Where we have no rights or freedom of choice.

Where you are told how to think, live, work and play, soon they will replace our brains and all be robots

The government is doing a questionaire on R+18 ratings for games which closes in February 2010.

Maybe they should do one for censoring the internet and see what the Australia People want.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm not really surprised by this. Pissed off on behalf of Aussie citizens, but not surprised. They elected a socialist president, just as Americans did, and now they're finding out why they shouldn't have.

Guest said:

LINK:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/6818010/Australia
plans-Chinese-style-internet-filtering.html

Barack Obama criticises censorship in meeting with Chinese students

Barack Obama, the US president, has strongly criticised censorship in his first public appearance in China, veering directly into one of the most sensitive areas of Communist party policy.

Mr Obama told an audience of 400 Chinese students that freedom of "expression, and worship, of access to information and political participation" were "universal rights".

He said: "They should be available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether they are in the United States, China or any nation".

BrownPaper said:

Actually the Australian president is a social conservative. Australia is a very religious and socially conservative country. It is funny how you compare him to Obama, considering a lot of Obama's economic policies has helped out capitalistic big businesses such as the banks and financial sector.

Guest said:

I am perplexed how these policies suddenly appear but am not surprised that they do. Without open debate or discussion it appears a real case of dictatorial government control; the comparisons to media restriction in communist china are a degree from what is happening here.

The processes involved with deciding what gets put on a list needs to be stringently considered without compromising the freedoms of individuals. If I want to have a wank to some debauched porn, then be it... as long as its not illegal content ie kiddy porn.

I see this working in two ways. (1) we look at an amalgum of available and allowable content worldwide and utilise that as a norm. content that is freely available and accepted, AND has considerable traffic in other countries, should be a good starting point for allowable content, and (2) we as individuals need to shape our future. there are enough people who have a driving passion for these topics to enter into employable positions that can enact change. become a lawyer, become a policy advisor, become a polititian, and steer our country in the direction WE want. this is what other factions have done for years... there's nothing stopping us, but our will.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Wendig0 said:

I'm not really surprised by this. Pissed off on behalf of Aussie citizens, but not surprised. They elected a socialist president, just as Americans did, and now they're finding out why they shouldn't have.

Apples and oranges dude...socialism has nothing to do with conservative religious believes. Way to throw a jab at Obama though. *rollseyes*

Anyway, if the Chinese can break through there "firewall" and get out to the open internet I don't see how Australia is gonna have it working 100%. This is just gonna be a huge waste of money that could be used elsewhere.

Guest said:

Porn to the internet is like air to a living, reproducing creatures.

Filtering porn on the internet will be harder than filtering air. Porn will find a way though, and don't be surprised that the very people this legislation is purporting to protect will be the first and most motivated to find those ways.

It's the other things like;

- political stuff they don't want us to read,

- drugs, hazardous material,

- and don't be surprised if even copyrighted material through p2p is also put on that list eventually,

that the gubmint will be filtering that we won't know about which will be what hurts our freedom the most. By cloaking our access to stuff we wont even know that's on the list, we will be ignorant, asleep on the topics, and a pliable population.

Guest said:

As an Australian Tax payer I feel ripped off and sickened to see our taxes funding this unnecessary trial.

If Conroy is afraid of our children having access to violence and pornography (just to name a couple), why is it up to the government to seek ways of preventing it from happening?

Perhaps the money used for this unnecessary trial be best spent to teach parents of this country on how to be responsible parents. If you don't have time to spend quality time with your kids then don't have them!

Can anyone tell me what other democratic country has done what Conroy wants to do?

Doesn't Conroy have anything better to do?

Guest said:

Only problem is that the government might seethrough to block Proxys' and/or SSH patching. Most Schools in Australia already have the ISP filtering making it hard for students to research topics with a graphic nature such as animal crualty. The ISP filtering that Australian schools have also blocks Proxys' and SSH patching. There scheme is wrong. They announce that anyone person can make a complaint and the ACMA will block it until a full review has been made. They need to think about what they are doing and pull there heads out of Mr krudds backside.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Guest said:

whats the difference between australia and china now? why dont they just ban facebook as well?

I'd love Facebook to be banned here in Canada.

BMfan BMfan said:

Guest said:

whats the difference between australia and china now? why dont they just ban facebook as well?

-

Now that i agree to

Timonius Timonius said:

Hey Australia, better start downloading the internet now! *tongue in cheek*

Guest said:

I guess those Aussies will have to go find their porn another way.

Guest said:

Despite child safety advocates telling him it won't make a difference, industry professionals telling him it won't work, schoolkids telling him they'll just work around it and the general population telling him repeatedly they DON'T WANT IT, he's STILL going ahead? Governments seem incapable of understanding that the internet sees censorship as damage and routes around it. It won't prevent anyone who wants to see the "inappropriate" sites from seeing them because circumventing the filter is absolutely trivial..

Guest said:

Labor was pushing for net filtering long before they got into power. So Australians knew full well that it was going to happen but voted for them nevertheless.

kimsland, Ex-TechSpotter, said:

Actually the Australian president is a social conservative. Australia is a very religious and socially conservative country. It is funny how you compare him to Obama, considering a lot of Obama's economic policies has helped out capitalistic big businesses such as the banks and financial sector.

You must be joking

First of all we have a Prime Minister, not a President

Secondly we are not a religious country especially in comparison to in god we trust !! america

You guys are the religious fanatics not us (obviously excluding all those wacko middle east countries)

We are a multi-cultural country having citizens originating from many varied countries, and due to that, "religion" is just all broken up here. Thank god !

And just as a twist on that information, its usually the religious nuts that are the ones responsible for CP and abusing kids. Geez you US guys must have some big issues in that case. And I know that you do in this area alone.

One more thing about this BIG issue of censorship. The government have stated they will only be stopping specific known bad sites (at this stage) So if anyone needed a proxy help in Australia for this, then they must only be wanting to go to those "specific" censored sites, I wouldn't be helping them ;)

At least we will have less users with Malware infections :p

Edit

A normal day on Sunday in Australia

Go on picnic

Kick a footy (that's real Aussie rules footy)

Go to the beach or pool (the sun is pretty hot here)

Recover from drinking beer, Saturday night, all night long

We have no time for the church here , excluding 1% of the population, usually of ethnic background

Guest said:

You guys just got this! this thing has been out, since when the Australian government is decding to go forward with the new broadband trial in TAS, the government said that if the internet is going to be changed so would, filtering would be inserted. so in common words if Austraila wants the new superfast broadband, they have to go with the filtering which i have to say is BS!

Australia already has enough issues to sort out with, and needs to pull their heads out of their old ***'s and start thinking for the people of Australia and their issues, instead for themselves.

Guest said:

If you fire off an angry email to Senator Conroy about filtering, all you'll likely get is an automatically-generated reply giving you the standard words on the issue. Don't waste your time, waste theirs instead! See http://is.gd/5pjGo

Guest said:

Labor was pushing for net filtering long before they got into power. So Australians knew full well that it was going to happen but voted for them nevertheless.

Wrong. They opposed mandatory filtering when the Howard government proposed it in 1999 and 2003. Before they got into power they supported an optional client level filter for parents.

Guest said:

whats the difference between australia and china now?

In China you can go to jail for 10 years if you are caught bypassing the filter.

ken777 said:

I'm a little surprised that Australia is so conservative. I keep seeing stuff about them banning video games because they're too violent. Aliens vs. Predator just got rejected. Left 4 Dead 2 and Fallout 3 were both initially rejected and had to be cleaned up. What's the big deal with a little fake gore/violence? Next thing they'll be banning movies, music, and books too (if they don't already do so...)

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

we are not a religious country especially in comparison to in god we trust !! america

Based upon my own prejudices, I'm inclined to believe you. However, , I think reality disagrees with you at least a *little*.

Religions Affiliations in Australia:

  • Catholic; 25.8% of the population
  • Christian (non catholic): 38.1%
  • Other religions: 5.4%
  • No religion: 18.7%
  • No response: 11.2%

Religion in the United States

  • Catholic: 25.1%
  • Christian (non catholic): 50.9%
  • Other religions: 3.5%
  • No religion: 15%

We have no time for the church here , excluding 1% of the population, usually of ethnic background

Well, you don't at least....

We are a multi-cultural country having citizens originating from many varied countries, and due to that, "religion" is just all broken up here.

"In the 2006 Australian Census participants were asked "what is the person's ancestry?""

  • * Australian (37.13%)
  • * English (31.65%)
  • * Irish (9.08%)
  • * Scottish (7.56%)
  • * Italian (4.29%)
  • * German (4.09%)
  • * Chinese (3.37%)
  • * Greek (1.84%)
  • * Dutch (1.56%)
  • * Indian (1.18%)
  • * Lebanese (0.92%)
  • * Vietnamese (0.87%)
  • * Polish (0.82%)
  • * New Zealander (0.81%)
  • * Filipino (0.81%)
  • * Maltese (0.77%)
  • * Croatian (0.59%)
  • * Australian Aboriginal (0.58%)
  • * Welsh (0.57%)
  • * French (0.5%)
  • * Serbian (0.48%)
  • * Maori (0.47%)
  • * Spanish (0.42%)
  • * Macedonian (0.42%)
  • * South African (0.4%)
  • * Sinhalese (0.37%)
  • * Hungarian (0.3%)
  • * Russian (0.3%)
  • * Turkish (0.3%)
  • * American (0.28%)

Apparently Australia doesn't ask for ethnicity anymore, BUT in the 1999 census, the estimate was 92% Caucasian which is even possibly more 'pale' then the U.S. :-) Yes, incredibly diverse....

hynesy hynesy said:

EXCellR8 said:

That country is just too sensitive to whatever they consider inappropriate. Seriously, I've read up on some stuff that's already banned and censored and some of it is just downright laughable. I feel bad for gamers that live there too... as they cut out all of the good stuff. They might as well just have L4D with zombies that explode sunshine and puppy kisses. I would just import everything from the US if I lived there.

Its not our country itself, its a couple of politicians with their idealized religious beliefs that they are trying to push on everyone. The government over here is running the country into the ground, the worst thing about the internet filter is there will be no list of actual sites blocked available to the public, which is really bad for reasons I don't think I even need to explain.

Guest said:

I fkn hope the Hackers of Australia will speak up!!!

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

kimsland said:

You guys are the religious fanatics not us (obviously excluding all those wacko middle east countries)

kimsland said:

And just as a twist on that information, its usually the religious nuts that are the ones responsible for CP and abusing kids. Geez you US guys must have some big issues in that case. And I know that you do in this area alone.

Every country has religious fanatics (including yours) who are a minority by far but act as if they are the majority forcing there values and believes onto others who don't share them. And yes you are right about them being hypocrites, but by no means is this a US issue alone.

Puiu Puiu said:

And proxies will become extremely popular there. Good luck with net neutrality guys.

kimsland, Ex-TechSpotter, said:

I'm inclined to believe you. However, , I think reality disagrees with you at least a *little*.

That's because Aussies are so layed back, they say they are "Christian" when asked (and I note that your survey results were from 2006/2007, even if they are the latest or not)

But in reality They are not church going "religious" practicing people

I can honestly tell you that 99% of all people here don't go to church on Sundays.

So to say that you follow one religion or another, does not mean you actually practice that religion (so it would seem)

So those results show nothing. And can I just throw in another point here, do your best to get rid of "in god we trust" from your coins, it really is pathetic. We have moved on from the 16th century ;)

Back to topic I'm all for the specific sites censorship, as I have kids (I note that most of you probably are kids and have a different view on this)

Yes supervise your young kids, but hello.. just a simple google should not show this rubbish (even on "moderate" settings)

They come home with an assignment to do (on lets say, animals) do a search and get god knows what (I note that the 8th pic out of 150,000,000 with Moderate search on, yielded a naked woman ??? WTH ?) I do note that this is mild.

Sure that's not one of the "sites" that's censored, but what's it doing there anyway? God forbid they search child modeling! Us parents have to constantly not make reference to such words.

So you kids might not see the issue. But us parents are a little sick of the easy access to anything freely available. When I was young The best we could hope for was a "people magazine". The Internet needs governing and it needs censorship else the children will grow up thinking that this normal behavior of animals and people (being one of the censored areas) That's just sick, and meant as a sick joke, unless some of you are turned on by a horse

Guest said:

its clear that though OZ was founded by criminals it appears that criminals still rule OZ by passing laws to make things only availbale on the Black market so those criminals can make ez tax free money

LightHeart said:

I don't believe that censorship is a good thing, especially when done by any controlling party on such a wide scale. Any law that requires people to give up certain rights is not good. They may start off with good intentions, such as blocking porn, malware, etc. however over time they start blocking new and different ideas. Instead of a law like this, maybe resources should be put in place to educate users on some of the dangers of the internet and how to mitigate them.

Guest said:

why not create a a proxy server that you can opt in for filtering

nanny state!

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

without a doubt comp, however you cant be free when the government is spending its time and enacting laws to save you from yourself. this is the slippery slope, where do you stop? and whats next? will you have to show your cholesterol card to be able to get an order of fries? if you think that way out there, Google New York and the UK on trans fat.

There is a fine line with this, however they already have many laws that we would all consider beneficial for the common good. How about speed limits, drunk driving laws, illegal drug usage, etc. . I have heard many people make the point that these effect others and not just yourself. Well Porn and scamming affect others dramatically as well, and are not just affecting yourself either.

Guest said:

The real reason for censorship is to block anything that the government deems as anti-government sentiment whether it's political blogs, videos, etc.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

There is a fine line with this, however they already have many laws that we would all consider beneficial for the common good. How about speed limits, drunk driving laws, illegal drug usage, etc. . I have heard many people make the point that these effect others and not just yourself. Well Porn and scamming affect others dramatically as well, and are not just affecting yourself either.

I agree comp, your 'fine line' is indeed what i called a 'slippery slope'. I believe however, that the Governments control should be minimal....and kept to just the basic things, whereas to keep the 'big guy' from squashing the 'little guy'. The problem I have is that you could extrapolate that out, and rationalize that to apply to anything. you listed drug use as effecting "not just yourself" that is true, however, you could also then say that dad eating to much meat will leave a widow and children behind when he drops dead of a heart attack at 50......so then should the Government require the cholesterol card?

I know where my line is, i would be interested in hearing yours . BTW thanks for debating, and not going on a hyperbolic screed....that's kind of rare around here

jgvmx said:

That's really sad. Thank god in mexico the government doesn't give a f*ck about technology.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

kimsland said:

I'm inclined to believe you. However, , I think reality disagrees with you at least a *little*.

That's because Aussies are so layed back, they say they are "Christian" when asked (and I note that your survey results were from 2006/2007, even if they are the latest or not)

But in reality They are not church going "religious" practicing people

I can honestly tell you that 99% of all people here don't go to church on Sundays.

So to say that you follow one religion or another, does not mean you actually practice that religion (so it would seem)

So those results show nothing. And can I just throw in another point here, do your best to get rid of "in god we trust" from your coins, it really is pathetic. We have moved on from the 16th century

So because that's true in Australia, it cannot be true here in the US? It's the same way (less so in the southeast). From personal experiences everyone makes themselves sound better (who wouldn't?) but in reality it's the major holidays when everyone really shows up. Just shows everyone everywhere is usually a hypocrite.

I like our "In God we Trust". Rather have that then Queen Elizabeth II on our coins personally :p . Putting monarchs on coins is soooo B.C. .

kimsland said:

Back to topic I'm all for the specific sites censorship, as I have kids (I note that most of you probably are kids and have a different view on this)

Yes supervise your young kids, but hello.. just a simple google should not show this rubbish (even on "moderate" settings)

They come home with an assignment to do (on lets say, animals) do a search and get god knows what (I note that the 8th pic out of 150,000,000 with Moderate search on, yielded a naked woman ??? WTH ?) I do note that this is mild.

Sure that's not one of the "sites" that's censored, but what's it doing there anyway? God forbid they search child modeling! Us parents have to constantly not make reference to such words.

So you kids might not see the issue. But us parents are a little sick of the easy access to anything freely available. When I was young The best we could hope for was a "people magazine". The Internet needs governing and it needs censorship else the children will grow up thinking that this normal behavior of animals and people (being one of the censored areas) That's just sick, and meant as a sick joke, unless some of you are turned on by a horse

I don't know the average age of the audience here but I'd guess midish twenties. You're right about Google though even on moderate it does have a tendency sometimes to show inappropriate material. But if you as an adult can't handle that either moderate it with your child or stop using Google and go to a safer alternative. I'm sure you know of some, there are plenty here in the US that are content and censor controlled for children in school, I'm sure you could find something.

Blaming the technology and internet is a bit ridiculous, especially when there are alternatives before needing government intervention into everyone's lives. Giving up freedoms for temporary security for kids which is a nice smokescreen for ulterior motives is just to much for me imo .

But in the end it's your country and if you like the censorship that's your choice. Sadly though the bigger picture is more important.

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