The Rudd Government’s internet censorship scheme could wipe out illegal online sharing of gay and lesbian films under new expanded filters.

Live trials of the censorship scheme were due to begin over Christmas, but already it has been expanded beyond the scope originally put to voters to now include non-web online tools such as peer-to-peer sharing.

Technology is improving all the time. Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial, broadband minister Stephen Conroy announced on his departmental blog last month.

The two biggest gay and lesbian themed peer-to-peer services could be blocked entirely if the expanded filter is implemented. Although neither Gay Torrents nor Gay Torrent News contains child pornography, they have large stores of copyright films that have not been distributed in Australia and have not been rated by the Classification Board.

Both services are both hidden behind protected websites and users often also employ encryption to avoid prosecution by the copyright owners or being outed as gay.

Many Australian users on the Gay Torrent News forums were fearful they’d lose access to the services altogether.

As an Australian I’m pretty worried. Supposedly they would only be filtering -˜illegal’ material, but it’s a very slippery slope and a fine line if you ask me, a user calling himself Cezson wrote.

Another calling himself Onekusu said he had mistakenly voted in that bastard Stephen Conroy and feared losing his freedom to view YouTube, XTube, MySpace, let alone our GTN.

Others expected the plans to be dropped once the filter trials proved inefficient and ineffective.

I know that iiNet is participating in trials just to prove [to] them it just simply won’t work, user dcbunny wrote. It’s awful enough to know that the government even thinks of doing this sort of thing. And Senator Conroy just calls those that oppose the censorship pro-child porn. It’s so silly.

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