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Australia moves forward with Internet filtering system

Australian Internet filter postponed for one year

Despite criticism, Australia’s plan to filter Internet access in that country will really move forward, the government of that country confirmed today. The system has been tested in the last seven months and has shown to be effective in blocking access to sites of pedophilia, crime, rape and details of drug use.

Legislation for the introduction of the new system is expected to be discussed in the Australian Parliament in August next year, with an implementation deadline of 12 months after its approval.

The system is similar to the one that was developed in China and that generated criticism about the limitation of freedom of expression, leading to a formal complaint from the United States. The Chinese government eventually backed down on its intention to install the system on all computers sold, as planned, although it maintains the global block on Internet browsing, known as “China’s great firewall”.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy admitted that there is no perfect solution to increase Internet security, but that this filtering system that Australia is testing has proven to be 100% reliable in filtering content from RC sites (refused classification) and minimal impact on Internet access speed.

In addition to this filter, Internet access providers can continue to offer systems that prevent access to sex sites, classified as pornographic, which will be optional.

The list of banned sites will be updated and maintained by an independent rating body, with users being able to make a public complaint about a particular site that is blocked.

Opposition to the introduction of the system has accumulated, both on the part of Internet users and the pornography industry, which maintains legitimate and classified websites and which fears that access will be blocked.