The Federal Government has released several public submissions received on its Internet filtering discussion paper.
The discussion paper, announced in December, covered measures to increase transparency over refused classification (RC) content, which would be blocked by the proposed Internet filter. It followed an announcement from the Minister for Broadband, Senator Stephen Conroy, on the Government’s intention to bring a mandatory ISP filtering bill to parliament.
Senator Conroy opened up the paper for public discussion and implored organisations and individuals to send in their comments.
The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) received 174 submissions, 36 of which were to be kept private on the behest of the submitters. The rest have been published on the DBCDE website.
“A range of views have been expressed in the submissions and I would like to thank everyone who contributed their comments and valuable ideas to the public consultation process,” Senator Conroy said in a statement.
“The Department will now work with other government agencies to consider the submissions and examine whether the ideas can be used to enhance the proposed accountability and transparency measures.”
The submissions will contribute to the legislation, which will be introduced into Parliament, according to the DBCDE.
In its submission, the Australian Computer Society stated increasing the accountability and transparency around the ACMA Blacklist, as well as ensuring the highest confidence for the proposed new RC content list, was imperative.
The industry group highlighted several fundamental issues remained to be addressed:
- clear articulation of the objective of the filtering policy;
- the scope of material potentially covered by the RC classification and interpretation of the RC category;
- disclosure of what sites or pages are included on the ACMA Blacklist and consequent right of appeal and review, including the reasons behind why material/sites are on the ACMA Blacklist and what sites on the ACMA Blacklist will not be released and for what reasons;
- filtering engendering of a false sense of security amongst the community; and
- over filtering and under filtering and the ramifications of both.
Other industry-level participants in the submissions process included the Australian Library and Information Association, Electronic Frontiers Australia, FamilyVoice Australia, the Internet Industry Association and the Internet Society of Australia.
In December, the Greens party lashed out at the discussion paper and public consultation process. Senator Scott Ludlam claimed the filter appeared to be a “done deal” and the public consultation process only addressed how to classify RC content.