Australia postpones web filter plan

Delay of up to one year likely to blunt criticism in run-up to expected election.

    The plan to block sites featuring rape and child sex drew criticism from web firms and user groups [AP]

    Conroy said the mandatory filter would not be imposed until completion of the review, which could take up to a year.

    Friday's move buys the government a reprieve in protests and neutralises what would have been a potentially contentious topic as it prepares to call an election in the coming weeks.

    Voluntary block

    While the review is under way, three of Australia's largest internet service providers, Telstra, Optus and Primus, agreed to voluntarily block a government-compiled list of online child pornography material.

    Conroy said he welcomed "the socially responsible approach taken by some of Australia's largest ISPs" - accounting for about 70 per cent of internet users - to voluntarily block the webpages, which he described as featuring "abhorrent" content.

    In video


    Al Jazeera's Azhar Sukri reports on Australia's debate over plans to filter the internet

    The government's plan to block access to sites featuring material such as rape, drug use, bestiality and child sex drew criticism from firms such as Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

    Angry user groups launched an online campaign accusing the government of censorship, while cyber-activists succeeded in jamming key government websites in a concerted campaign of protest hacking.

    User advocates, the pornography industry and others have likened the proposed system to official firewalls operating in countries such as China and Iran.

    But Conroy remained adamant that the filter proposal did not constitute censorship.

    "I don't think any Australian actually tries to describe blocking child pornography or bestiality or pro-rape websites as censorship," he said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.