Julia Gillard, who took over as Australia’s Prime Minister last month, says she’ll push ahead with plans to censor the internet despite the “technical concerns” and other potential issues that lay ahead.

Australia’s plan to filter the naughtiness out of the internet has been kicking around for awhile now and although it sounds silly and faces widespread opposition, it’s somehow managed to maintain solid support from the powers that be. Despite hopes to the contrary, it looks like the recent departure of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd won’t do anything to improve the situation.

“Images of child abuse, child pornography – they are not legal in our cinemas. Why should you be able to see them on the internet?” Gillard, Rudd’s replacement and Australia’s first female Prime Minister, said yesterday. “I think that that’s the kind of moral, ethical question at the heart of this.”

“I understand that there’s a set of… technical concerns about internet speed, and also concerns that somehow this accidentally doesn’t move into taking away legitimate use of the internet,” she added, noting that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is working to “get a resolution” to the potential problems.

Mark Newton, a network engineer and “vocal critic” of the policy, dismissed Gillard’s comments as a “silly throwaway line about child pornography,” but Ros Phillips, a spokeswoman for the group FamilyVoice Australia, said she was “delighted” that the new Prime Minister is staying the course. “The underlying principle, you can’t dispute – why should you treat the internet differently from any form of communications like films and books and so on,” she said.

Consultations on how to implement the filter are still underway and it isn’t expected to be brought before Parliament until after the next election.

Source: The Age

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