Australia Net Censorship Plan Under Fire

The new government backs a plan allowing service providers to filter out a list of child porn sites. Skeptics fear it will become a political tool
Two woman walk past a local internet cafe, Sydney 19 March 2007. An Australian schoolgirl, a chinese adulterer and several South Korean celebrities have been victims of cyberbullying that led to a South Korean law aimed at cracking down on internet misuse ANOEK DE GROOT/AFP/Getty Images

On paper, the policy looked like a sound one. Australia's newly elected Labor Party government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would protect children online by preventing access to Web sites containing images of child pornography. But the decision to press ahead with a policy of mandatory filtering of Web content by Internet service providers has brought howls of derision from the Australian Internet industry and free speech advocates, who have claimed it will turn Australia into a nanny state, debase the democratic principles on which the nation was founded, and impair the speed and utility of the Internet itself.

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