Australia scraps internet pornography filter plans

Featured Oceania - November 10th, 2012
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Australia scrapped a long-standing plan to filter the Internet in an aim to protect children from abusive content and child pornography, pleasing anti-censorship campaigners.

The government announced it would instead block some 1400 websites identified by Interpol as having “the worst of the worst” child abuse content available to the public. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told AFP the the government has already reached an agreement with Internet providers to bar such sites.

“We’ve actually reached an agreement with the industry to block child pornography and we think that is a significant step forward,” Mr. Conroy told ABC radio, adding that a mandatory filtering legislation is unnecessary given the new development.

The Internet filter, introduced in 2007 by former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, aimed at blocking access to material such as rape, drug use, brutality and child sex abuse. The legislation came under criticism from those who said it was impractical and set a precedent for censorship of the Internet.

The new measures have met “community expectations and fulfill the government’s commitment to preventing Australian Internet users from accessing child abuse material online,” the minister said.