Internet Censorship in Australia

Internet censorship in Australia currently consists of a regulatory regime under which the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has the power to enforce content restrictions on Internet content hosted within Australia, and maintain a "black-list" of overseas websites which is then provided for use in filtering software. The restrictions focus primarily on child pornography, sexual violence, and other illegal activities, compiled as a result of a consumer complaints process. In 2009 the OpenNet Initiative found no evidence of Internet filtering in Australia, but due to legal restrictions ONI does not test for filtering of child pornography.

In October 2008 a policy extending Internet censorship to a system of mandatory filtering of overseas websites which are, or potentially would be, "refused classification" (RC) in Australia was proposed. Australia is classified as "under surveillance" by Reporters Without Borders due to the proposed legislation. If enacted, the legislation would require Internet service providers to block access to such content for all users. The proposal has generated substantial opposition, with a number of concerns being raised by opponents and only a few groups strongly in support. On 5 August 2010 the Coalition parties announced that they would not vote for the policy, making it virtually impossible for the filtering scheme to pass. In November 2010 the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) released a document indicating that the earliest date any new legislation could reach parliament was mid-2013.

In June 2011 two Australian ISPs, Telstra and Optus, confirmed they would voluntary block access to a list of child abuse websites provided by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and more websites on a list compiled by unnamed international organisations from mid-year.

Read more about Internet Censorship In Australia:  Proposed Mandatory Filtering Legislation, Voluntary Filtering By ISPs, Proposal For An Independent Media Council, Anti-censorship Campaigns

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