Online pornography will be caught in the Rudd Government’s compulsory blacklist internet filter, the Australian Media and Communications Authority has confirmed.

Any website that is subject to a complaint and classified RC or X18+ will be added to the blacklist, an ACMA spokesman said.

This includes real depictions of actual sexual activity, child pornography, depictions of bestiality, material containing excessive violence or sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use, and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

Legal X18+ pornography in the territories will not be immune, the ACMA spokesman added.
A spokesman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy confirmed to Sydney Star Observer that non-pornographic gay content was not illegal and would not be blacklisted unless it breached classification codes, nor would the block use generic keyword searches.

This is not an argument about free speech. As I have already said, we have laws about the sort of material that is acceptable across all mediums and the internet is no different, Conroy said.

Currently, some material is banned and we are simply seeking to use technology to ensure those bans are working. The National Classification Code determines content against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults.

ACMA received 1122 complaints about online content in 2007/08 resulting in 15 take-down orders and 781 recommendations to makers of online filters.

A third of those 796 blocked websites were classified X18+ for actual sexual activity between consenting adults, with the remainder refused classification for depiction of a sexual fetish or fantasy, violence, or a child. Three overseas sites were refused classification for promotion of pedophilia.

We are seeking international cooperation to expand the blacklist of URLs which contain the worst of the worst content -” child pornography, cruelty or real violence, and sexual violence, Conroy said.

This material is illegal across any medium so we do not believe it should be accessible on the internet.
A separate filter, dubbed the Clean Feed, will further block a range of material unsuitable for children. Adults will be able to opt out of the Clean Feed, but not the illegal content filter.

Conroy’s office is in the final stages of preparing an invitation for ISPs to participate in a live pilot trial to determine technical issues for the policy implementation.

Liberals blast censorship bullying
The Coalition has called the Rudd Government’s Clean Feed filter a flawed plan to censor the internet, and condemned efforts by the Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s office to silence critics.

It’s extraordinary that Minister Conroy’s office has moved from not only wanting to censor the internet to actually attempting to silence those who don’t agree with him, Liberal spokesman Senator Nick Minchin said.

This follows reports industry figures received phone calls and emails from Conroy’s office after speaking out against the proposal.

Minchin was also concerned the proposal would shift responsibility for guarding children from parents to internet service providers.

While we fully support guarding our children from being exposed to inappropriate internet content, parental supervision and guidance supported by readily available content filters tailored to the needs of particular user settings is a more realistic approach, he said.

I can understand why Australians are concerned about the effect of the Government’s internet censorship proposal on system performance and the manner in which a blanket arbitrary determination about web content is to be imposed by the Government.

Minchin added that the proposal did nothing to address non-web areas of the online world where the most predatory risks were found.

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