These are my thought on this proposal. In general I am against filtering at the ISP level. The exception to this would be if it is an 'opt-in' approach that parents/guardians etc could take up as they wanted. I consider parental responsibility to be important. More so than the government trying to jam internet censorship down people's throats. I support the previous policy of John Howard to provide free filtering software with support to any Australian that wanted it.
To me the original proposal, and the lack of transparency is totally unacceptable.
Yesterday afternoon, the Office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy issued a statement noting that it was the Government’s aim that as many of the accountability and transparency measures as possible (“those that can apply without the passing of legislation”) would be available to the ISPs to incorporate into their voluntary processes. “We are still working through the details of the voluntary arrangements with the ISPs and details have not yet been finalised,” the statement added.
That simply isn't good enough.
The Interpol list which Telstra is examining is believed to have been in use for a number of years, with telcos such as BT, O2 and Virgin having blocked addresses on it from reaching customers for some time.
For a site to get onto the list, it is believed that law enforcement agencies in at least two separate jurisdictions have to validate the entry and being illegal and not just objectivable. In addition, the age of children depicted through content on the sites must be younger than 13 years of age, or perceived to be less than 13.
Furthermore, there must be evidence of severe abuse in the content of the site, and the domain must have been active within the past three months. The list is centrally maintained by Interpol itself rather than the Australian Federal Police — although the AFP has access to the list.
These measures, OTOH, sound a lot better. There are some elements of transparency, and a lot of safeguards to ensure that only child pornography is on the list. Most important of all is that 'child pornography' is properly and clearly defined. That is opposed to simply 'child abuse material', it can't get much more vague than that.
I retain my position of being against mandatory-for-the-customer ISP level filtering. However, I do feel that this Interpol blacklist idea is wholly superior to what Conroy is trying to get ISPs to implement.
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