December 16, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — First mentioned about a year ago, plans by the Australian government to initiate a wide-ranging Internet censorship plan are back in the news, thanks to an announcement made yesterday by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.
“The Federal Government has announced it will proceed with controversial plans to censor the internet after Government-commissioned trials found filtering a blacklist of banned sites was accurate and would not slow down the internet,” reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Conroy announced that he would introduce legislation to move the censorship plan into law “just before next year’s elections”. The new laws would force Internet service providers to block sites on the government’s official “blacklist” (yes, they’re really calling it that).
The blacklist is populated mostly with sites featuring sex abuse and violence, but, the Internet being what it is, those topics can bleed over into other sites such as Wikipedia and Youtube, creating difficulties.
And some online casinos are reportedly also on the list, although Internet gambling isn’t specifically being targeted. (Still, it is convenient that the censorship plan comes about just as the Aussie government is deciding whether to limit land-based “pokie” machines in the country.)
Like the United States’ own recent anti-online gambling laws (in the form of the UIGEA), this proposed censorship is based on “morality”. Conroy, the man behind the plan, has said he seeks the ensure “that all Australians, particularly young children, are protected from this material”. Yet, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, “the Government’s own filtering trial concedes that it will be possible to circumvent the filters.”