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Australian Online Casino Internet Filters Pass Test, Says Conroy

The discussion over attempts to place mandatory censorship over the Internet to block sites like online casinos in Australia has revived, with a government member saying the program will begin next year.

Despite a public backlash and intense media criticism, Australia continues on its path to place mandatory filtering on Internet service providers. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says testing of the system worked well enough that implementation of the filters, designed to block pornography, online gambling, and whatever else unknown censors decide, will begin next year.

Internet industry spokesmen have said the system will decimate operating speeds for online users, while still failing to block proper content and also blocking legitimate sites. Personal freedom issues are raised by censorship opponents, who point out only Egypt, Iran, and China attempt such mandatory control of the Internet.

"We’re yet to hear a sensible explanation of what this policy is for, who it will help, and why it is worth spending so much taxpayers' money on," said Electronic Frontiers Australia on its website.

The blacklist of sites, which include online casinos, sexual sites, and other content "refused classification," will be determined by government censors using public complaints systems. The rules for what can and cannot be ordered blocked are secret, as is the list of banned sites.

Further, testing under a government-ordered study found competent Internet users could circumvent the filters. The secondary, voluntary level of censoring revealed even worse performance, overblocking legitimate sites while failing to filter specified content in as many as 1 of 6 cases.

Between questions of how the censorship will evolve to deny content in the future, the practical failures involved in the current system, and the desires of free people to make their own choices, Conroy and his cohorts seem to be gambling that the online casino filters perform miracles.

Published on December 15, 2009 by JoshuaMcCarthy

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