Beginning in July the Federal Government of Australia will be censoring over 500 websites that pertain to specific themes deemed unsuitable for Internet users. The censorship will take place through two of the largest Aussie Internet service providers, Telstra and Optus, who voluntarily opted to take part in the plan aimed at child pornography websites.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority, with a few International partners, will be personally selecting the ISPs to be filtered, a procedure that was previously part of the Federal Government's $9.8 million plan to scrape the Australian Internet of specially selected sites. Though that plan was cut from the Federal budget, Telstra and Optus remained on-board to voluntarily filter offending sites.
Those who oppose the program worry the filtering is merely vanity work, since these sites can still be accessed with a swift change of URL. Even more worrisome, content can also be accessed through peer-to-peer networks and aggregation sites, where web surfers are more likely to accidentally stumble upon it.
Members of the Electronic Frontiers Association are most concerned about the creation of the list of URLs to be blocked and are hoping the process will include an appeals court for websites that have been unfairly listed. They are calling for the government to be more transparent in their process and are asking for the censorship discussion to be opened up further so that the correct content can be more closely targeted.
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