Coalition announces compulsory internet filter plan

Coalition announces compulsory internet filter plan
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The Coalition has snuck in plans to introduce an internet filter similar to that of the UK in Australia, blocking by default access to adult material.

A similar controversial plan was scrapped by the Labor government a year ago, and although details of the new plan have not been announced, it could have knock-on effects for advertisers.

The new Coalition scheme, a central plank of their policy to enhance online safety for children announced today, would compel all internet service providers of mobile and fixed line services to implement the opt-out system.

In the document they state: “The Coalition intends to further extend its approach of offering choice to parents and consumers, but equipping parents with the tools to protect children. That is why we will introduce nationally agreed default safety standards for smartphones and other devices, and internet access services.”

The document also sets out plans for a Children’s e-Safety Commissioner, who’s role would involve providing additional guidance to parents on suitability of media, including TV and social media, for children.

On top of this the commissioner would also have the power to order content deemed harmful to children be taken off the internet, and in particular “large social media sites”.

The government has struggled in recent years to get to grips with problems of cyber bullying and other content on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Plans for a filter in the UK have been contentious, with some championing it as a way to protect children, but others saying it is censorship.

One problem for filters is the lack of nuance. Studies have shown they cannot block all adult material, but could also block useful resources around things like sexual health.

It may also pose potential problems for things like alcohol brands, as sales are restricted to over 18s. 

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