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Aussies reject 'opt-in' for porn

Strewth Bruce

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Australian IT minister Helen Coonan has rejected proposals from the opposition Labour party to force ISPs to install filters to remove pornographic content and provide Aussies with "clean feed" internet access.

Under the proposed scheme adults who wanted to view porn would have to ask their ISP to remove the filters.

Minority parties made the suggestion late last year and Coonan criticised Labour for coming late to the debate.

Coonan said that PC-based filters remained the most effective way to remove such content. She said a recent trial of server-level filters found they reduced network performance by between 18 and 78 per cent. She said the government estimated such a scheme would cost $45m(£18.4m) to implement and $33m(£13.5m) a year to maintain.

A government study in 2005 found 35 per cent of family PCs protected by filtering software.

Coonan said the proposal did not even have full support of the Labour Party. She pointed to comments made by shadow spokesperson for IT Kate Lundy in 2003. Describing server level filters she said: "This ridiculous proposition is made even more absurd when the weaknesses of filtering technology at this level effectively ensure that it would not work anyway.".

The Australian government already bans all X-rated and restricted content from being hosted in Australia and requires age checks on all restricted material.

More details from Helen Coonan here.®

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