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4chan, 8chan blocked by Australian and NZ ISPs for hosting ...

4chan, 8chan blocked by Australian and NZ ISPs for hosting …

Website blocking —
Widespread website blocking being used to limit spread of terror attack video.
Internet service providers in Australia have temporarily blocked access to dozens of websites, including 4chan and 8chan, that hosted video of last week’s New Zealand mass shooting. New Zealand ISPs have also been blocking websites that host the video.
In Australia, ISP Vodafone said that blocking requests generally come from courts or law enforcement agencies but that this time ISPs acted on their own. “This was an extreme case which we think requires an extraordinary response, ” Vodafone Australia said in a statement, according to an Australian Associated Press (AAP) article yesterday.
Telstra and Optus also blocked the sites in Australia. Besides 4chan and 8chan, ISP-level blocking affected the social network Voat, the blog Zerohedge, video hosting site LiveLeak, and others. “The ban on 4chan was lifted a few hours later, ” AAP wrote.
“The ISPs’ decision to block access to websites was controversial as they acted to censor content without instruction from either the Australian Communications and Media Authority or the eSafety Commissioner, and most smaller service providers have decided to keep access open, ” The Australian Financial Review wrote.
The ISPs are facing some government pressure, though. Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison called Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone to a meeting to discuss ways to prevent distribution and livestreaming of violent videos, Financial Review wrote.
“We understand this may inconvenience some legitimate users of these sites, but these are extreme circumstances and we feel this is the right thing to do, ” Telstra said in a statement, according to AAP. Optus said it decided to block websites hosting the video after “reflecting on community expectations. ”
The website blocking is temporary and expected to be lifted when video of the attack is removed, according to Guardian Australia. Facebook and Twitter weren’t blocked, “because they are taking active steps of their own to remove the material from their pages. ” Facebook has removed at least 1. 5 million videos of the attack from its website.
Still, LiveLeak was blocked even though it took copies of the video off its platform.
Communications Alliance, a trade group that represents Australian telcos, said ISPs tried to minimize inconvenience for users despite blocking websites.
“These ISPs have sought to balance community expectations to remove access to the video with the need to minimize any inconvenience that may arise from legitimate content being blocked as an unavoidable, temporary consequence, ” Communications Alliance said, according to AAP.
New Zealand blocking
New Zealand ISPs took a similar approach. “The country’s main Internet service providers, Spark, Vodafone, Vocus and 2degrees, are blocking any website which has footage of the Friday 15 March Christchurch mosque shootings, ” CIO New Zealand wrote on Sunday.
The ISPs “agreed to work together to identify and block access at [the] DNS level to such online locations, ” such as 4chan and 8chan, according to a Bleeping Computer article on Saturday.
“This is an unprecedented move by the telecommunications industry, but one that they all agree is necessary, ” New Zealand Telecommunications Forum Chief Executive Geoff Thorn said, according to CIO. “The industry is working together to ensure this harmful content can’t be viewed by New Zealanders. ”
Thorn acknowledged that “there is the risk that some sites that have legitimate content could have been mistakenly blacklisted, but this will be rectified as soon as possible. ”
The white nationalist terrorist attacked during Friday prayer at the Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand, and killed 50 people while injuring 50 more. The gunman live-streamed 17 minutes of the attack.
New Zealand authorities have been arresting people who share video of the shooting. As we noted in our coverage of the arrests, New Zealand and most other countries don’t have free speech protections as extensive as those found in the US.
Australia and New Zealand also do not have net neutrality rules that prevent ISPs from blocking websites. In the US, net neutrality rules were taken off the books last year. Even when US rules were in place, the ban on blocking only applied to lawful Internet content, and the rules also did not apply when ISPs had to cooperate with law enforcement, public safety, or national security authorities.
Internet censorship in Australia - Wikipedia

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Internet censorship in Australia – Wikipedia

Page presented by Telstra when a censored page is requested.
Internet censorship in Australia is enforced by both the country’s criminal law[1][2] as well as voluntarily enacted by internet service providers. [3][4] The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has the power to enforce content restrictions on Internet content hosted within Australia, and maintain a blocklist 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 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” (a type of “Internet enemy”) by Reporters Without Borders due to the proposed legislation. [5] If enacted, the legislation would have required Internet service providers to censor access to such content for all users. However, the policy was rejected by the Coalition[6] and was later withdrawn by the Labor party. [7] The same day the withdrawal was announced, the then Communications Minister stated that as a result of notices to Australian ISPs, over 90% of Australians using Internet Services were going to have a web filter. Australian Federal Police would then pursue smaller ISPs and work with them to meet their “obligation under Australian law”. [8] iiNet and Internode quietly confirmed that the request to censor content from Australian Federal Police went from voluntary to mandatory under s313 in an existing law. iiNet had sought legal advice and accepted the s313 mandatory notice but would not reveal the legal advice publicly. [9]
In June 2015, the country passed an amendment which will allow the court-ordered censorship of websites deemed to primarily facilitate copyright infringement. In December 2016, the Federal Court of Australia ordered more than fifty ISPs to censor 5 sites that infringe on the Copyright Act after rights holders, Roadshow Films, Foxtel, Disney, Paramount, Columbia and the 20th Century Fox companies filed a lawsuit. The sites barred include The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt and SolarMovie.
In April 2019, the Senate passed a bill in response to the Christchurch mosque shooting which required websites that provide a hosting service to “ensure the expeditious removal” of audio or visual material documenting “abhorrent violent conduct” (including terrorist acts, murder, attempted murder, torture, rape or kidnapping), produced by a perpetrator or accomplice, within a reasonable time frame. Hosts must also report such content to authorities. Those who do not remove the materials may face fines and jail time.
Several ISPs had already voluntarily blocked websites related to footage of the Christchurch shooting before the bill had passed. [4]
Current status[edit]
A collection of both federal and state laws apply to Internet content in Australia.
Federal law[edit]
While the Australian constitution does not explicitly provide for freedom of speech or press, the High Court has held that a right to freedom of expression is implied in the constitution, and the government generally respects these rights in practice. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combine to ensure freedom of speech and press. There were no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government routinely monitored e-mail or Internet chat rooms. Individuals and groups can and do engage in the expression of views via the Internet, including by e-mail. [10]
Broadcasting Services Act 1992[edit]
Provisions of Schedule 5 and Schedule 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 inserted in 1999 and 2007[11][12] allow the Australian Communications and Media Authority to effectively ban some content from being hosted within Australia. Under this regime, if a complaint is issued about material “broadcast” on the Internet the ACMA is allowed to examine the material under the guidelines for film and video.
The content is deemed to be “prohibited” where it is (or in ACMA’s judgement likely would be):
Refused classification, or classified X18+
Classified R18+, and not protected by an adult verification system
Classified MA15+ and not protected by an adult verification system, where the user has paid to access the content.
Where content is deemed to be prohibited, the ACMA is empowered to issue local sites with a takedown notice under which the content must be removed; failure to do so can result in fines of up to $11, 000 per day. [13] If the site is hosted outside Australia, the content in question is added to a blocklist of banned URLs. This list of banned Web pages is then added to filtering software (encrypted), which must be offered to all consumers by their Internet service providers. In March 2009, this blocklist was leaked online. [14]
A number of take down notices have been issued to some Australian-hosted websites. According to Electronic Frontiers Australia in at least one documented case, the hosting was merely shifted to a server in the United States, and the DNS records updated so that consumers may never have noticed the change. [citation needed]
In 2006, the Federal Parliament passed the Suicide Related Materials Offences Act, which makes it illegal to use communications media such as the Internet to discuss the practical aspects of suicide. [15][16]
Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015[edit]
In June 2015, an amendment was passed to Australian copyright law, which allows for the court-ordered censorship of non-domestic websites whose primary purpose is to facilitate copyright infringement. [1]
Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Bill 2019[edit]
In April 2019, the Senate passed this bill in response to the Christchurch mosque shooting, which was live-streamed and circulated online. It requires websites that provide a hosting service to “ensure the expeditious removal” of audio or visual material documenting “abhorrent violent conduct” (including terrorist acts, murder, attempted murder, torture, rape or kidnapping), produced by a perpetrator or accomplice, within a reasonable time-frame. Hosts must also identify and report such content to authorities. Those who do not remove the materials may face fines (including up to $10. 5 million or 10% of annual revenue for corporations) and jail time. This law applies regardless of whether or not the content is hosted on servers in Australia. The bill has faced criticism for being imprecise, with no formal definition of how quickly sites must remove the abhorrent content, and being wider-reaching than needed (it applies to any service that hosts content, while the intent of the bill implied a goal to impose it on social networking services). [2][17]
State and territory laws[edit]
Some state governments have laws that ban the transmission of material unsuitable for minors. [18][19]
In New South Wales, Internet censorship legislation was introduced in 2001 which criminalises online material which is unsuitable for minors. In 2002, the New South Wales Standing Committee on Social Issues issued a report recommending that the legislation be repealed, and in response the New South Wales government stated that the legislation “will be neither commenced nor repealed” until after the review of the Commonwealth Internet censorship legislation had been completed. [20]
Notable examples[edit]
In October 2000, Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) attempted under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to obtain documents relating to the implementation of the web filter. While a few were released, many were not, and in 2003 new legislation, “Communications Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2002”, was passed by the Liberal government and four independents, and opposed by The Greens and the Australian Labor Party. While the stated reason for the bill was to prevent people accessing child pornography by examining the censored sites, this bill exempted whole documents from FOI, many of which did not reference prohibited content at all. EFA state that the bill was designed to prevent further public scrutiny of web filtering proposals. [21][22]
In 2002, New South Wales Police Force Minister Michael Costa attempted, without success, to shut down three protest websites by appealing to the then-communications minister Richard Alston. [23] The Green Left Weekly stated these were Melbourne Indymedia and S11 websites, and that the Australian Broadcasting Authority (the predecessor to ACMA) cleared them of breaching government regulations on 30 October 2002. [24]
Also in 2002, and under the terms of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Federal Court ordered Fredrick Töben to remove material from his Australian website which denied aspects of the Holocaust and vilified Jews. [25][26]
In 2006, Richard Neville published a “spoof” website that had a fictional transcript of John Howard apologising to Australians for the Iraq War. The website was forcibly taken offline by the government with no recourse. [27]
After the devastating bushfires in February 2009, details about an alleged arsonist were posted online by bloggers. Victoria Police deputy commissioner Kieran Walshe had asked the state Director of Public Prosecutions to examine the possibility of removing these blogs from the web, as they might jeopardise any court case. [28]
In March 2009, after a user posted a link to a site on ACMA’s blocklist on the Whirlpool forum, Whirlpool’s service provider, Bulletproof Networks, was threatened with fines of $11, 000 per day if the offending link was not removed. [13] The same link in an article on EFA’s website was removed in May 2009 after ACMA issued a “link-deletion notice”, and the EFA took the precautionary step of also removing indirect links to the material in question. [29]
The 2009 winner of the George Polk award for videography shows footage of 26-year-old Neda Agha-Soltan being shot and dying during Iran protests. This footage has also been declared “prohibited content” by ACMA, attracting fines of $11, 000 per day for any Australian website which posts a link to the video. [30]
On 15 December 2009, the Labor government announced plans to mandate censorship of refused classification material in Australia. [31] The then Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, released a statement titled Measures to improve safety of the internet for families, [32] which briefly outlined the proposed purpose and methods of filtering. The scheme aimed to develop “a package that balances safety for families and the benefits of the digital revolution”, and was intended to complement the work of the ACMA by blocking content hosted overseas which is out of the control of Australian authorities. [32]
An anti-censorship website was hosted on and, satirising Senator Conroy and his proposed blocklist. The site referred to Conroy as the “minister for fascism”, and contained humorous graphics and statements condemning censorship. [33][34] On 18 December 2009, the domain was seized by auDA, somewhat ironically for an anti-censorship site, and content was then moved to [35][36] The basis for seizure regarded the moral owner of the domain, not its content. [37]
On 22 May 2009, it was disclosed in the press, citing WikiLeaks, that the Australian Government had added Dr Philip Nitschke’s online Peaceful Pill Handbook, which deals with the topic of voluntary euthanasia, to the blocklist maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority used to filter web access to citizens of Australia. [38] Euthanasia groups will hold seminars around Australia teaching how to evade the proposed filter using proxy servers and virtual networks. A spokeswoman for Senator Conroy said that euthanasia would not be targeted by the proposed web filter, [39] however Stephen Conroy has previously stated that “while euthanasia remains illegal it will be captured by the RC filter”. [40]
In January 2010, the Encyclopedia Dramatica article “Aboriginal” was removed from the search engine results of Google Australia, following a complaint that its content was racist. [41][42] George Newhouse, the lawyer for the complainant, claims the site is “illegal” and should be blocked by the mandatory web filter. [43] As the address of the site appeared on the leaked ACMA blocklist, it is likely that the whole site would be censored by the filter. [44] A search on terms related to the article will produce a message that one of the results has been removed after a legal request relating to Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act 1975. [45][46]
In 2010, the website of the Australian Sex Party is banned from within several state and federal government departments, including Stephen Conroy’s ACMA. Convenor of the Australian Sex Party Fiona Patten has described this ban as “unconstitutional”. [47]
In April 2013, it was revealed that an IP address used by more than 1, 200 websites had been censored by certain Internet service providers. It was discovered by the Melbourne Free University which was one of the sites censored. [48] It was later revealed that the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) had ordered the censorship of the address to target a fraud website, and that the remaining websites were censored unintentionally. The block was subsequently lifted. [49] ASIC subsequently revealed that it had used its censorship powers 10 times over the preceding 12 months, and that a separate action taken in March had also caused the inadvertent temporary censorship of around 1000 untargeted active sites, as well as around 249, 000 sites that hosted “no substantive content” or advertised their domain name for sale. [50] The censorship was carried out under the section 313 legislation, and censorship notices were sent to four or five ISPs on each occasion. [51]
In March 2019, several websites disseminating footage of the Christchurch mosque shooting were censored by major ISPs in Australia and New Zealand, including 4chan, 8chan, and LiveLeak (see below). [52][53]
On 2 September 2020, a woman was arrested in Ballarat for making a Facebook post that promoted a protest over COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria. A viral video from before her incitement charge shows her offering to take the post down and trying to convince the police that she did not know it was illegal. Rosalind Croucher of the Australian Human Rights Commission and Wendy Harris of the Victorian Bar both expressed concerns that police had infringed on freedom of expression with a disproportionate response. Politicians Michael O’Brien and Steven Ciobo, while reaffirming their support for the lockdown, also criticized the arrest as heavy handed. [54][55]
Voluntary censorship by ISPs[edit]
2011 child abuse filtering[edit]
In June 2011, two Australian ISPs, Telstra and Optus, confirmed they would voluntarily 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. [3]
Christchurch mosque shootings[edit]
On 20 March 2019, Telstra, Optus, TPG and Vodafone censored access to several websites in response to the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand. [56][57] The websites, which included LiveLeak, 4chan, 8chan, Voat, Kiwi Farms and Zero Hedge, were blocked for allegedly hosting footage of the shootings that was originally live-streamed on Facebook. [4]
Sites were banned using a combination of DNS blocking and IP blocking. DNS blocking is relatively easy to circumvent (whether implemented through ISP-controlled DNS servers or sniffing all DNS requests); whereas IP bans can only be circumvented with a proxy, VPN or Tor. [58] Information on the exact methods and timeframes that sites were blocked is vague and anecdotal, but there was a significant amount of online discussion at the time. Optus appeared to use IP blocks for 4chan and possibly other sites. [59][60] Telstra took a similar approach. [61] Most bans appeared to be lifted after several weeks, with 4chan and Voat bans extending longer. One source states that the Telstra bans lasted only “a few hours”, [4] but this does not agree with most online discussion.
The telecom providers claimed to be acting independently and not under directive of government or law enforcement, [62] which sparked some public controversy. [63] Normally such censorship would be ordered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, but this event exposed the independent power that ISPs may exercise. [64]
Telstra released a brief statement soon after blocking the sites, referring to “extraordinary circumstances” that required an “extraordinary response”. [65] TPG did not officially respond to media inquires other than a statement that it would “comply with any request of this nature made to us by authorities”;[66] however, user reports indicate that TPG also temporarily blocked access to a subset of these sites. [67][68][69]
Proposed mandatory filtering legislation[edit]
In October 2008, the governing Australian Labor Party proposed extending Internet censorship to a system of mandatory filtering of overseas websites which are, or potentially would be, “refused classification” (RC) in Australia. As of June 2010, legislation to enact the proposed policy had not been drafted. [70] The proposal has generated substantial opposition, with a number of concerns being raised by opponents and only a few groups strongly supporting the policy. [70][71]
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. [72] However, voluntary filtering by ISPs remains a possibility. [3]
Proposed Australian laws on Internet censorship are sometimes referred to as the Great Firewall of Australia, Rabbit Proof Firewall[73] (a reference to the Australian Rabbit-proof fence), Firewall Australia or Great Firewall Reef (a reference to Great Barrier Reef and the Great Firewall of China). [74]
The proposed filter has been referred to in the media variously as an Internet filter and a web filter. The worldwide-web is a myriad of software documents containing pointers to each other, hosted on server computers around the world. The Internet is the physical network used to convey requests from users’ computers to these servers and responses from the servers back to the users.
The proposed filter only monitors certain ports specific to conveying web traffic. As it aims to monitor the majority of web traffic, it is appropriately referred to as a web filter. As it is agnostic of the majority (99. 99%) of other connections a user’s computer might establish with other computers on the Internet, it is something of a misnomer to refer to it as an Internet filter.
Since the proposed filter is situated at the Internet service provider (the junction between users and the Internet at large), introducing such a filter cannot possibly slow down the Internet itself. It can only (potentially) slow down access to the Internet by users of that ISP. Ignoring load considerations, communication speed across the Internet for any non-web traffic would be unaffected.
In 1995, the Labor Party of Federal Government began inquiries into regulating access to online content as part of expanding the scope of classification material mediums. [75][76]
In the same year, the Liberal Party of Victoria[77] and Western Australia[78] State Governments and Country Liberal Party of Northern Territory Government[79] implemented changes to law that allows censoring online content as part of expanding the scope of classification material. [80] Queensland introduced similar legislation at the time, but a case of an ISP systems administrator showed it did not apply to online services when the judge ruled that the act did not apply. [81]
In 1996, the Labor Party of New South Wales State Government attempted to propose a standard Internet censorship legislation for all Australian States and Territories. The legislation would have made ISPs responsible for their customers’ communications. But the proposed legislation attracted widespread protests[82] and has since been postponed in favour of a national scheme. [83]
In 1997, following the previous Federal Government, the Liberal Party further commissioned inquiries into a variety of online censorship schemes, including self-imposed censorship by ISPs. [84][85]
By 1999, the then Federal Government attempted to introduce an Internet censorship regime. Some have pointed out it was to gain support from minority senators to assist with the sale of Telstra and introduction of GST, [86] but as noted above, this censorship plan had been in development for several years. [87]
In 2001, CSIRO was commissioned to examine Internet content filtering. The report focused primarily on evaluating the effectiveness of client-side filtering schemes (which were generally ineffective), but also discussed some of the difficulties with ISP-based filtering[88]
In March 2003, the Fairfax papers The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald reported the results of a survey taken by The Australia Institute of 200 children, which found that many of them had found pornography on the Internet. Over the next few days was a storm of media and political attention, and there were calls for finer Internet filters and tougher censorship laws. Analysis of the report showed little new material, and only 2% of girls had admitted being exposed to pornography, while the figure for boys was 38%; such a difference between boys and girls would seem to indicate that inadvertent exposure was rare, contrary to the conclusions of the report. After the controversy died down, no new action resulted from the new report, media attention, or political speeches. [86]
In 2003, the Labor Party opposed filtering at the ISP level, with Labor Senator Kate Lundy stating “Unfortunately, such a short memory regarding the debate in 1999 about Internet content has led the coalition to already offer support for greater censorship by actively considering proposals for unworkable, quick fixes that involve filtering the Internet at the ISP level. “[89]
Shortly before the 2004 federal election, two political parties issued new policies on Internet censorship. The Australian Labor Party’s policy involved voluntary adherence by users. The Family First Party released a far stricter policy of mandatory filtering at the Internet service provider level. [90]
The Australian Family Association petitioned the Australian Federal Government in 2004 to further restrict access by children to pornographic material via the Internet. The petition was submitted in December 2004.
On 21 March 2006, the Labor Party committed to requiring all ISPs to implement a mandatory Internet blocking system applicable to “all households, and to schools and other public Internet points” to “prevent users from accessing any content that has been identified as prohibited by the Australian Communications and Media Authority”. [91]
On the same day, the then communications minister Helen Coonan stated that to “filter the Internet will only result in slowing down the Internet for every Australian without effectively protecting children from inappropriate and offensive content”[91]
Political party policies, positions and statements[edit]
Labor Party[edit]
On 31 December 2007, Stephen Conroy announced the Federal Government’s intention to introduce an ISP-based filter to censor “inappropriate material” from the Internet to protect children. In this announcement, it was stated that adults could opt out of the filter to receive uncensored access to the Internet. [92]
In May 2008, the government commenced an $82 million “cybersafety plan” which included an additional mandatory filter with no opt-out provision. This ISP-based filter aims to stop adults from downloading content that is illegal to possess in Australia, such as child pornography or materials related to terrorism. [93]
In March 2009, Stephen Conroy dismissed suggestions that the Government would use the filter to crack down on political dissent as “conspiracy theories”. He stated that the filter would only be used to remove “refused classification” (RC) content, using the same rationale as existing television, radio and print publications, and that the Senate could be relied upon to provide rigorous assessment of any proposed legislation. [94] However, Labor’s policy statement on the issue[95] contradicts this. It is also contrary to an earlier ministerial release in 2008. [96]
The most recent explanation of the government’s position on this issue is provided on the ministry website. [97] This clearly states that only ISP-level filtering of (designated) refused classification (RC) material will be mandatory under their policy. However, ISP’s will be encouraged to offer ISP-level filtering of ‘adult content’ as an optional (commercial) service to their customers. Such an optional extra service is aimed at parents trying to protect their children from ‘undesirable’ content that would otherwise be available, because it would not be RC (e. g., it might receive a classification of “R”).
Labor Senator Kate Lundy said in January 2010 that she is lobbying within the party for an “opt-out” filter, describing it as the “least worst” option. [98] In February 2010 she said she would propose the opt-out option when the filtering legislation goes before caucus. [99]
Stephen Conroy has stated that 85% of Internet Service Providers, including Telstra, Optus, iPrimus, and iiNet, welcome the Internet filter. [100] In response, Steve Dalby, iiNet’s chief regulatory officer, stated that iiNet as a company does not support the Internet filter, and never has. [101]
On 9 July 2010, Stephen Conroy announced that any mandatory filtering would be delayed until at least 2011. [102]
On 9 November 2012, Stephen Conroy shelved the proposed mandatory filter legislation in favour of existing legislation, touting that it was successful in compelling the largest ISPs to adopt a filter. As a result, 90% of Australian Internet users are censored from accessing some web-based content. [103]
The Liberal/Nationals Coalition[edit]
In February 2009, then opposition communications spokesman Nick Minchin obtained independent legal advice confirming that a mandatory censorship regime would require new legislation. [89] In March 2009, after the ACMA blocklist was leaked and iiNet withdrew from the filtering trials, he stated that Stephen Conroy was “completely botching the implementation of this filtering policy”. [104]
In March 2010, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey attacked the filter, saying “What we have in the government’s Internet filtering proposals is a scheme that is likely to be unworkable in practice. But more perniciously it is a scheme that will create the infrastructure for government censorship on a broader scale”. [105] During the 2010 Federal Election, Liberal communications spokesman Tony Smith announced that “a Coalition government will not introduce a mandatory ISP level filter”, with Joe Hockey also announcing an intention to vote against the policy if Labor is re-elected. [106] This followed the 2010 Federal Conference of the National Party passing a motion proposed by the Young Nationals to “oppose any mandatory ISP-level internet censorship”. [107]
In November 2012, Coalition Communications spokesman welcomed the proposed legislation being dropped as it endangered freedom and Internet performance. However, some Coalition members voiced concern, citing support for a mandatory filter to protect children and families but will not propose it citing lack of political support at the time. [108] The Coalition have proposed an “eSafety commissioner” to take down undesirable content from the Internet as a means to protect children. [109] It was met with criticism as a duplication of current government efforts and “difficult and expensive” to implement.
In September 2013, two days before the federal election, the Coalition announced they would introduce an opt-out filter for all Internet connections, including both fixed line and mobile devices. This has since been retracted as “poorly worded” in a statement from Malcolm Turnbull, who said, “The correct position is that the Coalition will encourage mobile phone and Internet service providers to make available software which parents can choose to install on their own devices to protect their children from inappropriate material. “[110]
The Greens[edit]
The Greens do not support the filter, and Greens senator Scott Ludlam predicts that due to obstruction in the Senate, the legislation will not be introduced until after the next federal election. [105]
At the end of 2008, he asked questions in parliament related to the filtering trial, for which the Government provided answers in January 2009:[111]
When asked about the stated public demand for Internet filtering, the government responded that the filtering was an election commitment
The web filter would be easy to bypass using technological measures
674 out of 1, 370 censored sites on the mandatory list relate to child pornography; 506 sites would be classified as R18+ or X18+, despite the fact that such content is legal to view in Australia. The remaining 190 sites from this number on the blocklist can be viewed at the full revealed blocklists on WikiLeaks.
Ludlam believes that the Labor party may have hit a wall of “technical impossibility”, and the filter does not suit its purpose:
“This isn’t a great advertisement for the workability of any large scale scheme. The proposal has always been unpopular, now perhaps the Government is starting to come to grips with what the industry has been saying all along: if your policy objective is to protect children on-line, this is not the way to go about it. “[111]
Despite their lack of support for the filter, The Greens preselected Clive Hamilton, whose think-tank The Australia Institute first suggested an ISP-based Internet filter, [86] for the by-election in the seat of Higgins.
Independents and minor parties[edit]
In October 2008, Family First senator Senator Steve Fielding was reported to support the censorship of hardcore pornography and fetish material under the government’s plans to filter access to the web. [112] A Family First spokeswoman[who? ] confirmed that the party wants X-rated content banned for everyone, including adults.
A spokesman for independent senator Nick Xenophon said: “should the filtering plan go ahead, he would look to use it to block Australians from accessing overseas online casino sites, which are illegal to run in Australia”. [113] Senator Xenophon has, however, stated that he has serious concerns about the plan, and in February 2009 withdrew all support, stating that “the more evidence that’s come out, the more questions there are on this”. He believes that money would be better spent educating parents and cracking peer-to-peer groups used by paedophiles. [89][114]
A political party associated with the Eros Association, the Australian Sex Party, was launched in November 2008 and plans to campaign on issues including censorship and the federal government’s promised web filter. [115] In 2014, the party won a seat in the Victorian Legislative Council.
Two blocklists[edit]
As of October 2008, the plan includes two blocklists, the first used to filter “illegal” content, and the second used to filter additional content unsuitable for children. The first filter will be mandatory for all users of the Internet, while the second filter allows opting out. The government will not release details of the content on either list, [116] but has stated that the mandatory filter would include at least 10, 000 sites, and include both the ACMA blocklist and UK’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) blocklist. In December 2008 the IWF list caused problems when the Wikipedia article Virgin Killer was added to the list, as it prevented many people in the UK from being able to edit Wikipedia.
The ACMA definitions of “prohibited content” give some idea of what could potentially be blocklisted. Online content prohibited by ACMA includes:
Any online content that is classified RC or X 18+ by the Clas
Australian Internet Providers Block 4Chan, Others for Hosting ...

Australian Internet Providers Block 4Chan, Others for Hosting …

Australian internet providers have blocked 4chan and other websites for continuing to host the video from the Christchurch attack, 9News reports. Telstra, a provider, said it blocked websites including “4chan, 8chan and Voat, the blog Zerohedge and video hosting platform Liveleak. ” “We understand this may inconvenience some legitimate users of these sites, but these are extreme circumstances and we feel this is the right thing to do, ” Telstra executive Nikos Katinakis said in a statement. Other providers, like Optus and Vodafone, didn’t say which websites they have blocked but the same websites reportedly failed to load on their networks Tuesday afternoon. Vodafone reportedly said it came to the decision “independently, ” adding that the Christchurch attack was “an extreme case which we think requires an extraordinary response. ” Optus told 9News it blocked the websites after “reflecting on community expectations. ” A spokesman for Australia’s eSafety commissioner said it did not provide “any direction or advice” to the providers regarding blocking access to the sites. Liveleak, in a statement, said it did not want to be the “vehicle of choice” for those who want to carry out the “most terrible of events, ” like the Christchurch shooting. The man behind the attack, which left 50 dead, broadcasted the attack live on his Facebook page and posted a manifesto about his motivations on social it at 9News

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