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Australian Internet Block Subjects Online Casinos to Whimsy

The banning process, which was initiated to stop child pornography, has expanded to include online casinos and Internet poker rooms, as well as all sexually suggestive sites and political activists.

The controversial plan to filter "undesired content" away from Australian computers gives decision-making on which sites to ban into one government worker's hands. The banning process, which was initiated to stop child pornography, has expanded to include online casinos and Internet poker rooms, as well as all sexually suggestive sites and political activists.

The secret list of sites to bar was disclosed this week by an anti-censorship website, exposing the inclusion of over a thousand more sites than the thirteen hundred the government acknowledges. The list includes pro-life websites, online poker rooms, and even a site for a dentist.

Youtube, a site to upload video clips which does not permit nudity or offensive material and also agechecks its most questionable videos, is found on the barred list.

There is no system for internal review of the list, nor is there opportunity for appeal, so inclusion is simply by the determination of bureaucrats, who can individually decide the worth of an Internet site.

Even Senator Nick Xenophon, a prominent leader in the Australian anti-gambling movement, has withdrawn his support for the filter. Reports of a high level of unreliability, combined with a lowering of Internet speed by ninety percent, have led to a general outcry against the scheme.

“I don’t think they know for themselves exactly how this is going to work. My personal opinion is that it’s probably going to fail, and if it doesn’t fail it’s going to be dangerous,” said Senator Scott Ludlam of the filtering.

Published on March 20, 2009 by PrestonLewis

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