Stephen Conroy has announced a delay in the Labor Government’s proposed internet filter legislation until after the next Federal Election to debate ISP filtering of Refused Classification material.
The Government in delaying the implementation of the filter continues to maintain an air of uncertainty around the issue, but three ISPs including Telstra, Optus and Primus have agreed to block a black-list of material deemed to be RC giving rise to concerns over reduction in access speeds for business, before any legislation is introduced.
“The RC content list of URLs provides direct access to child abuse material so it cannot be published the way a list of prohibited book titles or movies can be,” Senator Conroy said.
Senator Conroy cited concerns over the process by which the ACMA RC list was compiled and maintained and believed putting that system up for review before legislation was introduced was essential to ensuring confidence in the internet filter.
“The public needs to have confidence that the URLs on the list, and the process by which they get there, is independent, rigorous, free from interference or influence and enables content and site owners access to appropriate review mechanisms.”
Internet filter critics to question both the internet filter itself and Senator Conroy’s backpedaling on the scheme.
“While we welcome a review of the RC category, this is just tinkering around the edges of the filter’s problems,” said EFA Chair Colin Jacobs. “Applying a classification scheme designed for books and movies to the internet was never going to work. Altering the definition of one category won’t change the fact that the government will never, ever, be able to review enough web pages to make any difference to anyone.”
“The Minister had an excellent chance today to let the filter die a natural death. Instead they’ve left the ailing policy on life support for another year. We still urge the Government to listen to the experts, drop the filter, and focus on improving broadband access for all Australians,” said Jacobs.