Media Release

Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity

Internet list publication grossly irresponsible

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today condemned the reported leak and publication of a list which includes prohibited internet addresses.

"The leak and publication of prohibited URLs is grossly irresponsible. It undermines efforts to improve cyber–safety and create a safe online environment for children," Senator Conroy said.

"Under existing laws the ACMA blacklist includes URLs relating to child sexual abuse, rape, incest, bestiality, sexual violence and detailed instruction in crime."

"No–one interested in cyber–safety would condone the leaking of these addresses."

"I am aware of reports that a list of URLs has been placed on a web site. This is not the ACMA blacklist."

"The published list purports to be current at 6 August 2008 and apparently contains approximately 2400 URLs whereas the ACMA blacklist for the same date contained 1061 URLs."

"There are some common URLs to those on the ACMA blacklist. However, ACMA advises that there are URLs on the published list that have never been the subject of a complaint or ACMA investigation, and have never been included on the ACMA blacklist."

"ACMA is investigating this matter and is considering a range of possible actions it may take including referral to the Australian Federal Police. Any Australian involved in making this content publicly available would be at serious risk of criminal prosecution."

"The ACMA blacklist of prohibited URLs has been in place since 2000. URLs placed on the list have been deemed to contain prohibited content as determined by the Broadcasting Services Act 1992."

"The ACMA blacklist is currently provided to vendors of filtering software under a Code between ACMA and the Internet Industry Association. It is used for the provision of PC–based filter programs which are endorsed by the Internet Industry Association."

"Under current law, ACMA has the power to issue take–down notices for prohibited URLs hosted in Australia. However, it has no power to do the same for content hosted overseas."

"The Government has indicated an interest in using ISP–level filtering technology to block URLs that display content that is Refused Classification under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, including child sexual abuse imagery, bestiality, sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act."

"A final decision on the extent of the content filtering proposal will be determined after the conclusion of technical feasibility trials."

Date: 19 March 2009
Contact: Tim Marshall 0408 258 457

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Posted on 5 May 2013

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