Gay businesses have voiced renewed fears they may fall victim to the federal government’s proposed mandatory internet filter ahead of a soon-to-be-released report on a trial filter.
Sax Fetish owner Wayne Nicol was unsure whether his store’s website would be affected and said there’s a lot of confusion for businesseses.
I’ve read as much as I can on it, it just all seems so terribly vague, he told Sydney Star Observer. If someone decides the theme of what we do, which is obviously adult and specifically to do with alternative sexual practices, [our site] could easily be wiped off over night.
Eagle Leather owner Brian Mier said it was a waiting game to see if his site was banned.
It’s hard to know, our [site] is advertising products and they’re not usually attached to a body, Mier said. We just don’t know and we’ll find out after the event, when sales drop off or people ring us … this is the thing, it’s all being done by stealth.
Last week lobby group GetUp launched the controversial Censordyne advertisement which fiercely opposes the filter.
Senator Conroy defended the government’s position saying only already illegal sites, such as those containing child pornography, bestiality and pro-rape would face ban.
He said there had been scaremongering about the scope of the ban and sites would only be prohibited in line with the Broadcasting Services Act.
Concerns, however have been fueled in part by a leaked alleged blacklist of sites in March this year which contained many gay adult and BDSM websites.
GetUp! director Ed Cooper told said he had major concerns about the scope of inappropriate material affected by the filter in years to come.
We’re concerned about the creep of content [the ban] may apply to … a lot of groups in the community are justifiably anxious about that, he said.
It really is up to the whim of the government of the day, with no proper transparency or scrutiny of these processes, and any changes to the scope of content can be done through regulations that wouldn’t have to be passed by parliament.
When you’re talking about something as spurious as censorship you really need to balance it with proper systems and processes that make those decision-makers accountable.