Conroy remains committed to mandatory filtering

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Pending Classification review.

Australia's proposed mandatory ISP filter proposal was very much alive, the Minister for Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy, Stephen Conroy said today.

Speaking at a news conference to detail an agreement between the Government and Telstra over the National Broadband Network build, Conroy was asked whether he had "abandoned the filter" after delaying its introduction until after a classification review.

"That's a very big call," Conroy replied. "I didn't know I'd abandoned the filter."

He did, however, acknowledge that the filter's scope was a major issue for the proposal.

"People have made the case the refused classification (RC) basis for the filter was too broad," he said.

A planned review of the RC category had now expanded into a broader review of the Classification standards, he said.

"If people feel that something should be inside or out of the RC category, they can make a submission to the review."

Senator Conroy said he was "very comfortable" about "what's in or out at present." He also stressed that the classification system was not run by the Government.

"It's set up independently," he said. "It makes its judgements independently and this review process is independent of Government."

He said doubted many Australians would regard child pornography or bestiality should come out of the RC category. But he said he accepted there were legitimate arguments about its scope.

"When that process is completed - and whatever the decision is - I'm relaxed," he said.

In the interim he said Telstra, Optus and Primus will introduce a voluntary filter on child pornography in particular.

"They will await the outcome of the classification review before they extend it further," he said. "I would urge other ISPs to join in blocking child pornography."

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