[Update] Hours after releasing a policy paper outlining an opt-out internet filter, the Coalition has backed away from the policy. Opposition Communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull released a statement saying that today’s announcement was incorrect, “The policy which was issued today by was poorly worded and incorrectly indicated that the Coalition supported an “opt out” system of internet filtering for both mobile and fixed line services. That is not our policy and never has been.
The correct position is that the Coalition will encourage mobile phone and internet service providers to make available software which parents can choose to install on their own devices to protect their children from inappropriate material.”
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott blamed a lack of “quality control” for the error, reports ABC News.
Earlier in the day, Turnbull defended the opt-out filter on Triple J’s Hack program. He said in a tweet that, “I read policy shortly before going on @triplej I did my best to make sense of it, until I could ensure it was authoritatively corrected.”
[Original story – “Coalition Announce Mandatory Internet Filter”] The Liberal National Coalition of Australia has confirmed an opt out internet filter is planned as part of their online policy.
The announcement makes up part of their Enhance Online Security policy, and would require Australians to contact their ISP or mobile phone provider if they choose to remove the filter on their services. This comes almost a year after Labor Senator Stephen Conroy’s proposed mandatory filter failed to gain traction, and a full three years after the Coalition announced that it did not support a policy on mandatory internet filtering.
The policy is being touted by the Coalition as “empowering parents”, and in an effort to distance themselves from Labor’s scheme, said that their policy “is a very different approach to the discredited compulsory filter proposal championed by the Rudd-Gillard government, which was abandoned as unworkable”.
To date, there is no word if Australian ISPs have signed off on the proposed filter, but the Coalition has stated that they will be working with mobile phone companies and ISP’s in order to enact the filter. Recently, the UK implemented a mandatory filter of all UK internet services, however, UK Prime Minister David Cameron had secured the agreement of English ISPs before announcing the policy.
Also included in the document was the introduction of a Children’s E-Safety Commissioner, aimed at combating “harmful material” from social media, as well as making steps towards criminalising “cyberbullying”.
Download the policy: Here