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Australian government admits less than 32% of secret censorship list is related to underage images

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Australian government told a Senate estimates hearing this week that less than 32% of the country’s secret internet censorship list is related to underage images.

During the hearing, the government also stated that the WikiLeaks publication of the full list in March has now been officially referred to the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) “blacklist” is slated to form the backbone of a national, mandatory, internet censorship system.


ACMA admitted that:

  • A mere 32% of the secret censorship list is related to a category covering potentially sexually provocative images of persons appearing to be under the age of 18, pages with links to these images or other “child abuse” information. The was politically marketed to the Australian public as primarily a method of preventing child pornography.
  • After an unusual delay, the Australian government have now officially referred the publication of the list to the Australian Federal Police. It is alleged that WikiLeaks’ release of the censorship list is illegal under Australian law.
  • Subsequent to revelations by WikiLeaks that the secret list contained many harmless or political sites (including WikiLeaks itself) around 150 have been removed from the list. At the time ACMA admitted the list held over 1100 URLs. ACMA now claims the censorship list has 977 URLs.

In light of the Senate testimony, it is worth repeating what WikiLeaks stated when it released the censorship list on the 18th of March, 2009:

“While WikiLeaks is used to exposing secret government censorship in developing countries, we now find Australia acting like a democratic backwater. Apparently without irony, ACMA threatens fines of upto $11,000 a day for linking to sites on its secret, unreviewable, censorship blacklist — a list the government hopes to expand into a giant national censorship machine.

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This article was posted: Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 4:30 am

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