Australia’s government is reviewing the way that websites will be selected for banning under its proposed internet censorship law.
Under the new law, websites that include “child abuse material, bestiality, extreme violence including rape, detailed instruction in crime or drug use, and incitement of a terrorist act” will be blocked by Australian internet service providers.
There has been concern, however, that gay and lesbian websites and other lawful content may start to be included in the ban.
A leaked list of websites that were lined-up to be blocked revealed that legitimate adult sites, sites advocating euthanasia and even pages on Wikipedia were included.
In response, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said another year will be needed to assess the criteria and mechanism for how sites would be blacklisted.
“The public needs to have confidence that the URLs on the list, and the process by which they get there, is independent, rigorous, free from interference or influence and enables content and site owners access to appropriate review mechanisms,” said Conroy.
Critics have slammed the proposed law, noting that if implemented, Australia will join a range of repressive nations in enforcing state online censorship.
The South African government has cited Australia’s planned legislation in connection with its own fledgling efforts to begin to filter out “inappropriate” web content.