Australia to filter web and stop access to criminal sites

Australia getting some 'great (web) barrier' grief
Australia getting some 'great (web) barrier' grief

Australia is planning on introducing filters that will prevent web users in the country from accessing sites with criminal content, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has announced.

The move follows a lengthy seven-month trial of the new filter technology that found it to be 100 per cent effective.

An independent classification group will decide on which sites would be banned, and they'd act in response to complaints from the public. The new law will go to the Australian parliament next August. It's estimated that it will take a year to be fully implemented.

Conroy told the BBC: "Through a combination of additional resources for education and awareness, mandatory internet filtering of RC (refused classification)-rated content, and optional ISP-level filtering, we have a package that balances safety for families and the benefits of the digital revolution."

The filters could include additional options, including a ban on gambling sites. Individual ISPs could choose to enforce those in exchange for a grant.

Not everyone is happy

There's been a rumble of opposition to the move on Twitter, where dissenters have added the tag #nocleanfeed to posts, and Electronic Frontiers Australia has been vocal in its disapproval, noting that there's been no real explanation of the policy.

A year ago the Australian government first put forward its proposals to filter all net traffic and ban sites considered harmful to children. Telstra, the country's largest ISP, refused to take part in those trials.