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Hacktivists Force Pause in Australian Net Censorship

| 24 Jun 2011 19:55
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At least one Australian ISP is wavering on plans to begin blocking illegal websites next month because of fear of reprisals from "internet vigilantes."

It came to light yesterday that despite a climbdown by the Australian government, four of the country's internet providers, including the two largest, were planning to launch a voluntary "internet filtering" scheme in July. The plan has been criticized as lacking transparency, accountability and any sort of visible appeals process, but never mind all that, it's full steam ahead!

Or not. Telstra, one of the two big players involved, is apparently having second thoughts about the whole thing. A rep said last night that while the company remains committed to working with the government to cut access to child pornography, it hasn't actually made a decision to fire up the filter.

"One option being considered is the blocking of a list of illegal child sexual abuse sites identified as being the worst globally by international policing body Interpol," she said.

What's the hangup? Word on the street is that Telstra is worried about putting itself in the crosshairs of Anonymous and other "internet vigilantes." The past few months have seen a wave of attacks carried out against corporate, government and even law enforcement sites, and Anonymous has gone after the Australian federal government in the past because of its efforts to censor the internet.

But Telstra would be the target this time around because the proposed censorship plan is entirely voluntary; the Australian government dropped funding for the planned internet filter in May. Patrick Gray of the Risky Business security podcast said Telstra was right to be worried. "If they think there's a laugh in something and it ties in with their politics, they might have a go, sure," he said.

Source: The Australian

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