Australian Internet Filtering Scheme Flawed

Published Friday, March 27, 2009 -

Lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia says it is now clear that not only human error caused sites to be incorrectly added to the blacklist but computer errors as well after the communications regulators in Australia said a computer malfunction caused harmless Bill Henson images to be added to its internet blacklist.

Colin Jacobs, speaking on behalf of Electronic Frontiers Australia, "It's already hard enough to imagine that a hand-edited blacklist could stay accurate and keep up with the internet, but now if their computer system is just so unreliable that sites are getting on there by mistake, then we really need to take a step back and look at another solution,"

The current government of Australia is planning to use the much disputed blacklist as the template for the filtering scheme that will prohibit Australians from viewing certain sites. The blame game seems to go on and on with the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy admitting problems exist. He was swamped with 2000 questions from the public during question period about the Government's massively unpopular policy. The audience ridiculed Senator Conroy by laughing at a number of his responses. When asked about a dentist's web site on the blacklist Senator Conroy said it was the result of a "Russian mob" that targeted small businesses and published questionable content on their websites.

Nick Minchin the Opposition's spokesperson said, "This error only came to light because content from the secret blacklist had been publicly leaked. Under Senator Conroy's regime how many similar errors will result in the wrongful filtering of legal sites and content?" He added, "I think this highlights the point the Opposition has been making and that is there is no technological substitute for human involvement in relation to online safety,"

Scott Ludlam from The Green Party stated, " If the whole net censorship debate has done one good thing, it's shown us just how flawed the existing system is, let alone the Minister's proposed radical expansion of it."

Meanwhile, the website of the Federal Government's censorship body, the Classification Board, was hacked recently and defaced with an anti-censorship screed. The Classification Board said it was looking into the hacking of its website, which has now been taken offline.

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