Federal Opposition renews call for ISP filter trial audit

Coalition "yet to be convinced" mandatory ISP-level filtering will be effective

The Federal Opposition has renewed its call for an independent audit of the Rudd Government’s mandatory ISP-level filtering trial.

In a blog post, Opposition Communications Minister Tony Smith wrote that the Federal Coalition supported “sensible and workable measures” to protect children from inappropriate online content.

However, the Coalition was yet to be convinced that mandatory filtering will be effective, Smith wrote.

“The Coalition would like an independent audit of the trial results and we hope this can happen as soon as possible,” he wrote.

Smith said the Coalition’s position was based on concerns that mandatory ISP-level filtering may not be the most effective and achievable way to protect children online.

“Experts say that most predatory risks to children lurk in those areas of the online world that are largely immune to filtering, such as chat rooms, email and peer-to-peer networks,” the blog post reads.

“That is why, in relation to unlawful online activity, it is essential that our nation’s law enforcement bodies are adequately resourced to tackle it in the most sophisticated way possible.

“The fact it has taken the Minister two years to produce his plan and release results of filtering trials highlights the complexity and problematic nature of his proposal. The Coalition is yet to be convinced that mandatory filtering will be effective.”

Smith said the Coalition would continue to consult extensively with the telecommunications industry and other stakeholders to enable a “fully informed response”, if and when the Government put forward any formal proposal or legislation.

The post comes almost two months after the official announcement of the Rudd Government’s mandatory ISP-level content filter, and represents the first official position of the Opposition on the filter.

Smith first called for an independent audit of the Federal Government's controversial ISP-level content filtering trial results in December.

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Tags mandatory internet fiteringisp-level internet content filteringSenator Tony Smith

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