- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
Australia abandons mandatory Internet filter plan
Question of the Day
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (AP) - The Australian government has abandoned its 5-year-old pledge to mandate a filter blocking child pornography and other objectionable Internet content.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said Friday that instead of a compulsory filter being imposed, Internet service providers have agreed to block 1,400 child abuse websites on INTERPOL's "worst of" list.
Three of Australia's largest telecommunications companies _ Telstra, Optus and Primus _ have been blocking the listed sites since 2010.
"We've actually reached agreement with the industry to block child pornography and we think that is a significant step forward," Conroy told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
Critics had said the proposed legislated filter would have put Australia in the same censorship league as China. Even the U.S. State Department expressed concerns about the proposed regulations, which would have been some of the most restrictive among the world's democracies.
The new plan has a narrower focus on child abuse. The government's proposed compulsory nationwide filter would have also banned a regularly updated list of sites that also carried extreme violence as well as detailed instructions in crime, drug use or terrorist acts.
Opponents argued that the filter would slow Internet speeds, erroneously block harmless sites and restrict free speech.
Anti-censorship campaigner Geordie Guy welcomed the government reversal. He said the new agreement will have little impact on the availability of child abuse material which isn't traded on the open Web.
"While this is a much better result than any of the previous proposals that the government came up with, it's still really unlikely to do much good," Guy told ABC.
The Internet Industry Association of Australia chief executive Peter Lee said he was "pleased that the government has now moved on" from the filter and had narrowed its focus to illegal child abuse.
The Australian Electoral Lobby said the government's agreement with ISPs fell short of its cyber safety pledge made during the 2007 election campaign.
"The government's decision not to legislate to the full extent of the commitment is a great disappointment," the Lobby's Managing Director Jim Wallace said.
But the opposition said the government realized it had no hope of getting the filter legislation through Parliament. The Greens party, a key government ally, joined the opposition in condemning the mandatory filter proposal as a serious restriction of free speech.
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Colorado judge: Bakery owner discriminated against gay couple
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- U.S. debt jumps a record $328 billion tops $17 trillion for first time
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!