Update: Australia

Just as Internet filtration proponents in Australia felt comforted as the the new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, put her support behind Stephen Conroy’s proposed filtration plan, Internet freedom activists have taken temporary and cautious breath of relief as some of the plans have unraveled…….a little.

The government recently decided to delay the proposed ISP content for at least 12 months for the purpose of reviewing the RC content system and list. This system, with “RC” as an acronym for “Refused Classification”, denotes the most heinous digital content and would be used to identify the content that ISPs would need to block from Australian citizens. After concerns over flaws with the RC system, the government decided it would be best to review the content and criteria for inclusion.

In the meantime, Conroy has encouraged ISP to voluntarily filter content until the regulation is ready to see the light of day again. Three of the Australian ISPs, Optus, Primus, and Telstra have all signed on to do some filtering of child-abuse content until the government can get its act together. While this represents a strong majority of the Australian Broadband market, not everyone has been willing to jump on the temporary self-censorship bandwagon. While some ISPs have decided to wait for more information, others like Internode and TPG have decided to downright refuse to block any content from their users.

This means that the current state of access to content in Australia is actually experiencing asymmetry across ISPs. Like usual, even though the blocked content right now is supposed to only be related to child-abuse content, there will undoubtedly be errors. If you are experiencing any of this interim filtration by the Australian ISPs, help spread the word by reporting it in our herdict reporter or by tweeting @herdictreport with your country, the www.site, and either “up” or “down”.

Check back here or follow us @herdict on Twitter for more updates.

About the Author: Alex Fayette

Alex is a Junior at Yale University who is currently an intern with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society @ Harvard Law School. His focus this summer is with Herdict.org and also with other Berkman projects falling under the Freedom of Expression umbrella. He is majoring in Economics and Physics, and loves singing and aviation on the side.

One Comment to “Update: Australia”

  1. Alex Fayette:

    Thanks for the catch!