Websites purported to be on the Government's ISP blacklist have been revealed as including a dentist, a tuckshop coordinator, and a Queensland boarding kennel.
Geare joined the chorus of dismay at the Australian Government's plans to introduce ISP-level content filtering of all our internet feeds. While the project has the stated aim only of filtering the ACMA blacklist of prohibited URLs, it also anticipates “additional content filtering solutions that may be offered as optional services by ISPs”.
Six ISPs will take part in the first phase of the live pilot. They are: Primus Telecommunications, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1. Customers of these participating ISPsshould be able to choose whether they want to be included in the pilot trial.
Our main concerns, privacy aside, are whether potential impacts on broadband speed and performance are fully understood. But now that Wikileaksclaims to havepublished the whole list online, as part of its anti-censorship stance, another problem has emerged. Who gets to make the list? And what happens when it's wrong?
The Government, of course, cannot itself publish the list, marvellously described in Asher Moses'Sydney Morning Herald story as "a condensed encylopaedia of depravity". Yet now the listmade available contains some rather unlikely candidates, notably Maroochy Boarding Kennels, with its cute kitten in a hammock graphics. We'd include a link for you, but we might end up blacklisted ourselves - as have sections of Wikileaks.
To muddy the waters further, Senator Stephen Conroy has condemned the list published, but also denies it is the Government's own blacklist.
“I am aware of reports that a list of URLs has been placed on a web site," said the Senator in a statement today. "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.”
Geare says: a dumb idea all round.