Australian government to censor the internet by 2011

The Australian Federal Government has announced today it will introduce an amendment to the Broadcasting Services Act, which by 2011 will require all internet service providers in the country to implement and activate filtering technology.

Following the introduction of the legislation during mid-2010, there will be then be a period of one year for the internet service providers to introduce and activate the technology.

According to ZDNet Australia, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy advises, "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 (Refused Classification)-rated material being placed on the RC Content list".

A possible contender for administration of the RC List is the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which manages a list of locally hosted illegal content, and issues take-down notices to local operators. Whether it is still uncertain if ACMA will be appointed to the role, Conroy advised the agency would be allocated extra funds to boost the security of the RC Content list.

The first ISP to respond to the announcement, Primus, which had been part of a trial, advised that the blocking of refused classification content had its "full support". Telstra have also been been swift to advise their support for the government's decision. In a statement, Telstra's Group Managing Director Public Policy & Communications, David Quilty, advised: "We support the fact that the government intends to legislate its approach, thereby ensuring that it applies across the industry, is clearly spelt out and is enforceable by law."

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

First L4D2 DLC announced, features original survivors

Next Story

Microsoft admits Plurk code theft

89 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

4 words...
Law Catching Up to Technology

When the television came out there were little to no censorship, but now look at the FCC and CRTC. Did that turn us into mindless sheep?

Wow. I am never in favor of this sort of censorship... It can be abused far too easily. Look at China...

I just don't like this trend at all...

Unfortunately another page is turned in the manual of how to subjugate the masses. And of course Australia's censorship efforts will make the world a safer place, because, well, just because... if you listen to the politicians anyway. ;?P

Power, political & otherwise is ultimately about control -- the more the better. Those most greedy for power like -- & like to think -- control is handed to them most willingly... how often do politicians claim (& heavily propagandize) a mandate that is at best imaginary? Not only does it inflate their already over-sized egos, it prompts many of the so-called masses to go along, acting like lemmings. The remaining deniers, those stubborn souls, can very often be reached by convincing them that it's all about protecting them from evil.

Now everyone likes some control in their lives to keep things predicable, relatively stable, and hopefully keep away the nasties. The stories we're given sound so very reasonable, it's almost too easy to go along, not bothering to think things through -- not peeking behind the curtains at the wizard so-to-speak. Very often critics are silenced, or huge efforts are made to discredit them, lest they dare suggest we stop & think a moment, & realize that just maybe we're being lied to.

That's what makes the Internet so inherently dangerous to so many governments, despite or in addition to the natural dislike power-loving politicians have for anything not bearing their thumbprint. As it's become such a big part of business & our daily lives, the thought of not owning it must be truly unbearable... hence efforts by governments & politicians 'round the world to censor, regulate, tax, &/or restrict access in an [hopefully fruitless] effort to bring it finally under their full control.

Looks like ironically most democratic counties will have most censured Internet, while those who considered to be not democratic countries will have most free Internet.

Well, at least this will help to stop that stupid critical rhetoric against China and Russia.

This isn't "sad", this is infuriating!! It's indicative of a move towards totalitarianism, which CAN NOT BE TOLERATED by the people. Learn about why they're doing this, there's always a reason behind this kind of legislation.

Go read up on Socialism or Communism from the correct sources. Even China right now isn't a communist country. China runs under a fascist dictatorship.

What we are experiencing here is FASCISM.

What we are heading for is a Police State or Totalitarianism society.

i think when malaysia was planing to do some censorship of their own, australian ngo's were quick to condemn it and accusations of being undemocratic. Good for them now

Australians don't want the ETS, yet they keep pushing for it. Australian's don't want net filtering, yet here it is. How does democracy work again KRudd?

Terrible news, and here i was planning to spend big bucks to upgrade the net and telephone lines for my house. Forget that now. The net will be just as boring as reading the newspaper.

I'm an Australian citisen and feel sickened by this. I am a web developer, and believe in the quality of the internet. This move makes me sick. It's fine to block already illegal content (child porn etc) because it should be anyway... however this will go further.

Copyrighted material is illegal so suddenly torrent sites - banned
Youtube can be used to distribute copyrighted material - banned

This is a sad day, and frankly, the internet is the future of the world and we've just been held back. Time to leave this country.

I feel sorry for the people in countries that do this.. This is bull****. the internet is a free medium of Information.. No one should have control over it..

i remember how everyone saidKrud would be an awsome PM, cheap UNI fees and no work placement laws...

CUZ THIS IS BETTER!!!!!

If he makes it thtough next elections we are just like USA, allowing idiots to run our once great Country

I think the media has clouded your minds. I don't think it will be that bad. I think they will just block child porn and extreme violence. Things I don't mind being blocked.

And I heard you can call your ISP to "opt out" of this filter.

I heard that it is going to be mandatory, but you might be able to adjust the filtering level.

Although I haven't read any of the documentation released by the Government, so I'm certainly not qualified to say whether it is or isn't like that.

I wouldn't be against it if you had the option to opt out of the filtering. I am sure that there are parents out there who want their kids being safe online, and it will also probably help stop non net-savvy people from accidentally getting some trojans on their computers.

ozgeek I would seriously recommend you do some more reading on this filter. It is not as innocent as the Govt is telling you it is. There are some scary implications in what it will mean.

Least of all, massive performance issues - the Govt claims it has negligible performance penalties. Reading the report indepth, sites like YouTube were on average 23% slower with the filter, some sites up to 40% slower. And this is with a 'test filter', only applied to 1,000 banned sites, and only a select batch of users. What will it be like when the list grows, and every Australian user is online?

Don't listen to the cries of "this will only affect people looking for illegal material" - since we don't have an R18 rating for games, there are actually a lot of things that are deemed illegal by the government.

ozgeek said,
I think the media has clouded your minds. I don't think it will be that bad. I think they will just block child porn and extreme violence. Things I don't mind being blocked.

And I heard you can call your ISP to "opt out" of this filter.

You cannot opt out of this filter. It will reduce internet speeds prone to abuse. Amongst other things.

It will do nothing to stop child porn or such, not a damn thing.

Legal ages woman in school uniforms will be banned. As depictions of minors by legal age people is an offence.

Online gambling sites will be affected (Great there goes my job).

The definition of illegal content has never been defined by the government. Some content that will be on the list under ACMA's guidelines include:
Refused Classification (“RC”) content is any content which depicts:
- paedophilic activity
- child abuse
- instruction on drug use
- instruction on how to commit a crime
- bestiality
- sexual nudity involved minors
- excessive and frequent violence
- sexual activity involving minors or descriptions of it
- violence during sex
- fetish activity
- incest fantasies
- exceeds lower classification categories
- video games that exceed MA15+
- Actual sexual intercourse between consenting adults
- No violence, sexual violence or coercion
- Fisting
- Candle wax
- Bondage
- Spanking
- Golden showers
- Depiction of people over 18 as minors


And that's just some of the RC related material, not even going into the other illegal content bracket. Minority groups are already calling for the scope of the filer to be increased.

Censorship = evil. Also what media clouding? The international media is covering this far more then the local media are, most people are simply unaware.

It's the day Australia can no longer call itself a democracy, despite the huge amount of support against the filter, the minorities are heavily influencing this policy and the Australian public is being ignored.

Does this mean Paris Hilton's home sex tape would be illegal? Is that such a bad thing (ignoring the massive potential for political abuse) :P

Communism spreads to Australia, so sad my former home country gone to sh*t, by that turd Kevin Rudd.

Ever heard of an overseas VPN to bypass and Aussie content filtering, that simple.

mounty said,
prime minister Rudd is fluent in chinese. Don't you get it? He's a commie plant! :p

He's the Manchurian PM!! Him speaking Chinese is just a ruse!

Would this kind of filtering slow down their net access or delay new content? That would kind of bite for everyone, even those not trying to view restricted content.

Yes, access speeds (which are already sub-par for most people) will reduce. The indepth report states around 23% for sites like YouTube.

The government media spin says "negligible speed penalty"....

oh man, sux to be an aussie now .. feel bad for you guys, no violent games, no blood, decapitations, hooker ****ing and then killing and so on ... man you guys are missing the entire ****

zeta_immersion said,
oh man, sux to be an aussie now .. feel bad for you guys, no violent games, no blood, decapitations, hooker ****ing and then killing and so on ... man you guys are missing the entire ****
They still have crocodiles and army - blood and violence approved by government.

Great we have Kevin Rudd as PM but the opposition is a bible freak who will do worse if elected.
We are totally F#$ked

When you try to remove or ban something their is always a underground market which means Piracy will boom from markets and so forth with games,movies,software,pron etc etc so by taking away sites it will only force people to find another avenue to get what they want without paying full price. i know if they start banning sites i use i will find a way simple as that.

citac said,
When you try to remove or ban something their is always a underground market...

As governments move towards controlling the Internet, perhaps that's our best hope?... Only thing politicians & bureaucrats love more than power is cash, & black &/or illegal markets have always been practical about providing plenty when/where needed.

Raa said,
Already got my SSH Tunnel running ;)

You know there are commercially available ways around, through behind, etc it. SSH does not mean it cannot be decrypted.

Louis M. said,
You know there are commercially available ways around, through behind, etc it. SSH does not mean it cannot be decrypted.


whether or not itll be worth the effort is another thing

I don't think anyone really knows at this stage, it's a hair brained scheme.

We're going to end up with the same kind of situation as with our refusal to have an adult rating on video games.

Anything that is negative towards our communist government for a starters. Global warning being a load of cr@p for starters!

Pretty much anything rated R18+
If you're not aware, Australia doesn't have a R18+ rating for computer games, so a lot MORE things are going to be blocked.

Considering XXX is all banned (yes aussie porn sucks) thats like half the internet...
Then their is wikapedia entries which show naughty things...
Then theirs content which is banned in aus generally (AVP etc)
Then there is the Govt own personal black list (what conry does not like)

Which covers all of the internet apart from news and company sites

brent3000 said,
Considering XXX is all banned (yes aussie porn sucks) thats like half the internet...
Then their is wikapedia entries which show naughty things...
Then theirs content which is banned in aus generally (AVP etc)
Then there is the Govt own personal black list (what conry does not like)

Which covers all of the internet apart from news and company sites :)

V For Vendetta 2 imo
with Kangaroos and Surfers!

jafoman said,
Can someone explain exactly what content is deemed illegal and will be filtered in Australia?

Child Porn, Beastility, Sexual Violence, sites that tell you how to use drugs or commit crimes.

I don't have a problem with that list... I have a problem with banning anything thats been RC though. That'd mean I can't keep playing the uncensored L4D2.

Thank God I don't live in that country. Poor Australians Seem like more and more countries are headed that way and people suck up to the government and don't complain.

This is totally crap. We already have crappy internet service in Australia with hillarious bandwidth caps, and now they actually approved the govermental cencorship.

Welcome to the peoples republic of Australia.

Rudd and Conroy have no idea what they are doing and have not listened to reason. So they have no support of mine.

They do know what they are doing, people actually want this filter! Rudd and Conroy aren't stupid either, making it opt-in is a waste of time as the problem parents won't be arsed to opt-in (or care too) but making it mandatory forces everyone to have it. Problem is this isn't a simple solution for a simple problem. This filter will simply drive the "problem" underground, therefore bypassing the filter and making it even harder to track down and persecute those who do it. Another problem is leaving the Gov in control of it is heading for a world of hurt and finally there is the fact it's going to drive up the cost of our already costly internet and make it slower....all for what? protecting the children? yeah right.

Xerxes said,
They do know what they are doing, people actually want this filter! Rudd and Conroy aren't stupid either,


If they knew what they were doing they would be spending tax dollers on educating parents, children and the rest of Australia on safe browsing - rather then spending that on a filter. People who view restricted content will only be pushed underground and it will make them less trackable, this will cause it to thrive - as you said. Hence proving that they haven't thought about what they are doing.

And what's Rudd's charge for the ETS which will do nothing but send us all broke? Are you a complete moron?

I'd replace Rudd with the first wino I saw walking down the street!

First of all, one of Rudd's triumphs is the stimulus spending that stopped us from going into recession like the rest of the developed world. Yes we now have national debt but it's helped lots of people keep jobs. If you go to places like America you'll see the impact that the GFC has had, we got off extremely luckily on this.

Now, if you've researched the ETS and properly understand it then I will be happy to hear your opinion. I am not interested in hearing the opinion of another ignorant who thinks they have a valid opinion on something that they know nothing about.

You're worried about paying a little extra for things?
Places in the world could loose their places to live, their farming land and/or their livelyhood?
You're not prepared to make sacrifices for the good of future generations?
You don't care about the disappearing and threatened wildlife species?

Please, if you know what you're talking about, I am interested in your opinion, but if you don't understand it and you're just repeating other people's words, please phone up talkback radio instead.

I know this is off-topic but...

Unfortunately Rudd's triumphant stimulus was not the primary reason we did not go into recession, equally important was the massive surpluses and complete lack of debt he inherited, along with China's never ending demand for stuff we just have to dig out of the ground. As you have pointed out the rest of the developed world slid into recession and they spent a hell of a lot more than Mr Rudd to try and prevent it.

Your desire to save the planet, the future and our wildlife is most noble and hopefully shared by all, unfortunately the ETS in its current form will not do this - but rest assured you will definitely pay a little extra for things. The amendments agreed to by Turnbull only make matters worse and we are better off starting again with a little less of the drama. An effective ETS must contain both "stick" and "carrot" to be effective, alas we have lots of stick but no carrots. The complex arrangements of sector/industry specific credits, rebates and exemptions effectively results in our most prolific polluters (power generators, energy and agriculture) along with low income earners being exempt from any consequence of their polluting and the can being carried by middle and higher income earners. How does hitting middle Australia in the pocket convince our power industry to stop burning coal or someone on welfare to catch a bus? And what is the technological solution put forward by our government - carbon capture! Please it simply doesn̢۪t exist, it is a myth, and there is no incentive for our power or coal industries to change that fact. If it did exist, retrofitting our existing power stations will reduce usable power generation by up to 50% - same amount of coal, half the power you do the math. Basing our future on vapourware technology is only marginally less stupid than doing nothing at all. Renewable energy sources are simply incapable of providing base load power. Imagine having to shut down our industry for days on end every time a dust storm blows through while they clean the millions of solar cells in the middle of somewhere like the Simpson Desert! Not to mention the obvious storage problem and bankrupting. An effective ETS must hit everyone, equally, across the board - the more you pollute the more you must pay, incentive to change - the stick. However there must be a clear alternative, a possibility to change your ways and pollute less - the carrot. Sitting in the dark and shutting down our industry is not the answer - there aren̢۪t enough caves to go around. Our Government simply must do better and come up with alternatives - nuclear anyone?

Lets move from the point I don't know anything; brief us all on the ETS which the government have so far been unable to do.....

Bloody Rudd. That crappy Labor party has to be kicked out before they screw up the country even more. More illegal immigrants, higher tax, more tax, higher prices for basic necessities such as food and petrol, massive deficit, more and more restrictions, higher unemployment: all of this within a period of less than 3 years. So what exactly is Rudd's legacy?

Throw Labor out and chuck the Libs back in. At least we get a say with things and a lot less of this "mummy-coddling"nonsense which doesn't work. Jeeze, the Government shouldn't try and control our lives and tell us what to do and what is good for us. All they're doing is putting a massive tax on what "they" think is not good for us. It's our right to smoke, it's our right to drink without the Government putting a great whopping tax on it and stopping all the fun. Bunch of bloody party-poopers the Labor Government of Australia is.

Vote 1, Tony Abbott and the Libs. Vote 2 for the Nats. No vote for the Commies of Australia aka young socialist member Julia Gillard. Kevin Krudd, your OUT

F*** Rudd and Conroy. Both a couple of douchebags who have no idea what they are doing.

On the bright side, Rudd also said a public opinion for an R18+ rating for games will be held. That's good news. But serious, screw them.

They do know what they are doing, a large majority of the voters want this!! many parents are (sadly) incapable of looking after their children and expect the government to do it for them. Do I agree with this? hell no! but the controlling majority of voters in this country are old fogies who think this is a fantastic idea.

The thing about R18+ for games is a waste of time, it's been done many times before and did nothing. Atkinson holds the controlling vote and he is not budging on his decision to block it (he knows the people want it but feels he must protect us from ourselves, he's an idiot but he also has power...)

Xerxes said,
They do know what they are doing, a large majority of the voters want this!! many parents are (sadly) incapable of looking after their children and expect the government to do it for them. Do I agree with this? hell no! but the controlling majority of voters in this country are old fogies who think this is a fantastic idea.

The thing about R18+ for games is a waste of time, it's been done many times before and did nothing. Atkinson holds the controlling vote and he is not budging on his decision to block it (he knows the people want it but feels he must protect us from ourselves, he's an idiot but he also has power...)

Actually a large majority of voters DONT want this. Take a look at th number of polls on news sites, on news and such. It's the minorities that want this, unfortunately for the most part the public just don't have a clue it is actually happening

Kussie said,

Actually a large majority of voters DONT want this. Take a look at th number of polls on news sites, on news and such. It's the minorities that want this, unfortunately for the most part the public just don't have a clue it is actually happening


Really? I always thought it was the other way around oh well, I stand corrected then.

It is the other way around.
Newspolls on websites only take into account the percentage of the population who use the internet recreationally and therefore a larger percentage who understands what this means.

Majority of voters are parents and don't know jack about the internet. It is them who do want it. My mum thought it was a fantastic idea. Couldn't quite convince her that it was the same as the great firewall of china and could in theory be abused for illegal political gain.

eblkheart said,
If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.

Nice.

Rudd and Conroy: Censorship is freedom of information!

Yeah sadly when news of game classification and internet cencership comes around... No one cares apart from the IT guys or people who know what is happening..

As long as the idiots who dont know anything can twatter and facepalm their fine/.

NBN was looking so good