“Cyber Safety” Program Slammed, Net Filter Flawed

Deferred: The Federal Government has delayed the introduction of its mandatory internet filter till 2010.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey says the Coalition will not back the Government’s proposed internet filter.

The Government announced the filter two years ago as part of its cyber safety program to protect children from pornography and offensive material.

The plan has been criticised by internet users who claim it will slow download speeds and lead to unwarranted censorship.

Mr Hockey has told triple j Hack’s Kate O’Toole that if Labor wins the election the Coalition would not vote in favour of the filter.

“We believe the internet filter will not work and we believe it’s flawed policy,” he said.

“It is not going to capture a whole lot of images and chatter that we all find offensive … that are going through email.”

He says the Coalition would stick to the plan of “giving parents more control”.

“The ISP filter-based system does not work, therefore it creates … an assumption of trust that cannot be met by the technology.”

He says the Coalition will make more comment on the issue in future.

Last month the Government announced an independent review of its filter policy.

The review, which could take up to a year, will look at what makes up “refused classification” rated content.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the review had nothing to do with criticism of the proposal from the likes of Google and the US government.

Senator Conroy had originally intended to introduce the legislation in the first half of this year but then deferred it to later in 2010.

He says the refused classification rating, according to the national classification scheme, includes child sexual abuse imagery, bestiality, sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use and material that advocates a terrorist act.

“Under Australia’s existing classification regulations this material is not available in news agencies; it is not on library shelves. You cannot watch it on a DVD or at the cinema and it is not shown on television,” Senator Conroy said.

No To Censorship: Australia's internet filter only creates "an assumption of trust that cannot be met by the technology."

“Under laws passed by the previous government, refused classification material is not available on Australian hosted websites.

“Unfortunately where this content is hosted overseas nothing can be done to remove it.”

Some of the grey areas of internet censorship include images of crimes taking place, graffiti or stencil art, and what some people would refer to as sexual fetishes.

The plan has been criticised by internet users who claim it will slow download speeds and lead to unwarranted censorship.

Senator Conroy has not yet announced who will conduct the independent review.

Via ABC Australia

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