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Australia censors the Internet

16 Dec 09

The Australian government has announced that it will introduce its proposed Internet filtering system next year.

Announcing the plan, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said there is "no silver-bullet solution to cybersafety," but that "it is important that all Australians, particularly young children, are protected from this material."

The filter has drawn heavy criticism from Internet freedom groups, who say that the proposed filter will be ineffective, expensive and is liable to produce ‘false positives’.

The details of the Australian government’s plans have so far been kept secret, however civil liberties advocates regard the proposals with suspicion, fearing that ‘scope creep’ may see the filter grow to include Web sites addressing eating disorders and hate speech, two issues that have already been proposed as potential targets by politicians in Australia.

Minister Conroy has dismissed such concerns.

"If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree."

The filter sees Australia join countries such as China and Iran, countries who have both drawn criticism from civil liberties and human rights organisation over the application of Internet censorship.

Details of the government's proposals can be read here.

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