updated 07:50 pm EDT, Sat June 25, 2011
Optus and Telstra opt for voluntary censorship
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has published a commentary critical of new voluntary censorship measures adopted by two of Australia’s largest ISPs, Optus and Telstra. Optus and Telstra have taken the decision to block a list of websites that depict child abuse provided by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). While most people would support the blocking of child porn websites, critics have argued that there is no transparency in the selection of URLs to be blocked and no accountability required of the regulatory bodies that develop the lists.
Critics also argue that blocking the websites does little to stop people involved in criminal underground activity. By-passing the blocks can be achieved relatively easily, while most of the purveyors of criminal material share it over P2P networks nullifying censorship measures. Anti-censorship activists point to law enforcement agencies to stop such activities, rather than censorship.
Further, EFF highlight an example where Wikileaks published a list of ACMA blocked websites in 2009. When the list was reviewed, it was discovered that numerous sites, which were deemed to contain offensive material, mistakenly listed websites that were not associated with child porn or other illegal pornography. More embarrassingly for ACMA, one of the websites on their blacklist at the time included that of a Queensland-based dentist. [Picture: Switched on]