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Australia’s Web Filter – All Over, Red Rover

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Tuesday November 13, 2012 )

It was an announcement worthwhile rejoicing over. The Australian Government has decided to abandon its controversial mandatory web filter.

The findings of a Law Reform Commission inquiry suggested the plan was too broad. The great shame is it didn’t need a Law Reform Commission inquiry and god knows how many millions of dollars of tax-payers money to finally arrive at a conclusion the Government had been told by many others for years – and were told this for nothing.

It’s been 4 years since this filter was announced – it’s been a widely panned, costly and futile exercise.

The web filter would have seen sites censored based on dynamic filters that would have reportedly slowed the Internet down in this country by an average of 30%.

The mandatory blocking of “illegal material” was a real worry considering that is open to interpretation and the legal status of anything can change very quickly.

Instead, Australia will block a list of around 1,400 offensive websites monitored by Interpol considered to be the worst of the worst – and we’re talking really bad stuff; the kind of thing few would object to and those who do are probably very sick human beings the police would like to chat to. Police have already started issued notices to telecommunications providers to ensure these sites are blocked within our shores.

This arrangement certainly isn’t going to block some of the stuff I would like to see blocked, but it’s far better than the alternative. Politicians and the Interwebs simply do not mix.

We’re just going to have to exercise a little more caution, assume a little more responsibility for what we view and parents won’t be able to use the Internet as a baby-sitter. None of these prospects is particularly harrowing or burdensome in my opinion considering the bounty of information that is available to us.


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