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:: Keep IT clean!
::  what's all the fuss about? | the issues in brief

The internet has become a cesspool of child and adult porn. Kids and women are degraded, violence is glorified and no one is safe from having this rubbish thrust in their face, even by accident.

Despite fierce opposition from the porn lobby and net libertarians, the Government remains committed to its cyber-safety plan, which includes restricting internet access to Refused Classification material. This means that the worst of the worst material on the internet will be blocked.

The Government’s plan is to introduce mandatory Internet Service Provider (ISP) level filtering for Refused Classification material contained in a new RC Content list. RC material includes child sexual abuse imagery, bestiality, sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

Legislation to make it mandatory for ISPs to block RC content will be introduced into the parliament following the completion of a mooted review of the Refused Classification guidelines, expected to take around a year. In the meantime, three large Australian ISPs have agreed to voluntarily block a list of sites containing child abuse material.

The Government’s filtering policy is supported by highly successful trial of filtering technology conducted by Enex TestLab. Nine ISPs participated in the pilot – Unwired, Optus, Primus, Highway 1, Nelson Bay Online, Netforce, OMNIconnect, TECH 2U and Webshield. All participants in the trial were able to block 100 percent of the ACMA blacklist. The trial report is available here.

Despite fear-mongering about censorship, adults will still be able to view legal porn. (ACL is opposed to all forms of pornography because it degrades women and promotes violence against them.) Sections of the internet industry and the porn lobby are vehemently opposed because ISP filtering threatens the money they can make through the trade in exploiting women and the lucrative download of pornography.

Claims that Australia will become like China and that the net will be censored for political and religious comment are ridiculous given our open media, freedom of speech and parliamentary democracy. At times it is appropriate for governments to limit freedoms to minimise social damage and harm, especially to vulnerable young people.

The Government even undertook a public consultation process to examine how to implement transparency and accountability measures for determining how Refused Classification material is placed on the RC content list for the purposes of mandatory ISP filtering, and how those decisions can be reviewed. Information about the consultation, including the outcome and details of the proposed measures is available here.

In spite of the successful trial, the Greens have unequivocally stated their opposition to the proposal, and whilst the Opposition have yet to announce their official party position, a number of their politicians have spoken out against it.

Let’s encourage our elected representatives to tackle the harmful material on the net through mandatory ISP filtering.

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Authorised by Lyle Shelton, 4 Campion St, Deakin ACT 2600