Senator Conroy expands reach of net filters to "unwanted content"

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Senator Conroy expands reach of net filters to "unwanted content"

Senator Conroy has continued to expand the reach of his proposed mandatory net filters, saying that he will block up to 10,000 new sites that contain “unwanted material”.

Reversing his policy to restrict the filters to "illegal content", Senator Conroy has recently promised to expand them to cover online gambling sites, and sites discussing euthanasia and anorexia.

Senator Conroy explained to Parliament today that the 10,000 banned websites would expand on the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s current blacklist of 1300 websites.

Live tests on the filters are due to start on December 24, at a time when most ISPs are winding down for the Christmas period.

“The pilot will specifically test filtering against the ACMA blacklist of prohibited content, which is mostly child pornography, as well as filtering of other unwanted content,” Senator Conroy told Parliament.

“While the ACMA blacklist is currently around 1300 URLs, the pilot will test against this list as well as filtering for a range of URLs to around 10,000 so that the impacts on network performance of a larger blacklist can be examined.”

The filters will be tested by public volunteers in participating ISPs. So far the only ISP to commit to testing the filters is iiNet.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Managing Director Michael Malone said he would be part of the “ridiculous” trials to provide the Government with “hard numbers” demonstrating “how stupid it is”.

“Every time a kid manages to get through this filter, we’ll be publicising it and every time it blocks legitimate content, we’ll be publicising it.”

Malone concluded, “This is the worst Communications Minister we’ve had in the 15 years since the [internet] industry has existed.”

Do you support or oppose the filters? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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