THE Federal Government's decision to abandon plans for mandatory internet filtering has been described as a "back flip and double pike".
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced on Friday internet service providers would now be required to block child abuse websites.
The websites in question are contained on Interpol's "worst of" child abuse list.
"Blocking the Interpol worst of list meets community expectations and fulfils the government's commitment to preventing Australian internet users from accessing child abuse material online," Senator Conroy said.
"Given this successful outcome, the Government has no need to proceed with mandatory filtering legislation."
Senator Conroy said Australia's largest ISPs had been issued notices requiring them to block the websites.
"Telstra and Optus agreed to block the Interpol list in 2010, with the Australian Federal Police subsequently issuing the relevant notices. They have reported that this has had no impact on internet speeds or congestion and they have had no reports of people being denied access to legitimate web content," he said.
Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull welcomed the government's dumping of its unpopular internet filtering policy, but said it had only done it because it did not have support in the Parliament for the legislation.
And he said the directive to block child abuse websites was not new.
"This has been going on for years. The police have been providing details of sites that should be blocked," Mr Turnbull said.
"Look it's not a silver bullet because as you know, IP addresses are dynamic. Most of this material is not displayed or exchanged on webpages per se, it's done through peer-to-peer networks and chat-rooms.
"What Senator Conroy has announced today is not a new initiative. It is completely consistent with existing practice and existing legislation. The big news is this colossal back-flip that the great big Labor internet filter has been abandoned."
ISP filter plans scrapped
THE Federal Government has dropped its fight for a forced internet filter, instead opting to rely on blocking a "worst of the worst" list of 1400 sites created by Interpol.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy had pushed the value of the system since Kevin Rudd's election in 2007.
It would have banned websites deemed to have been "refused classification" by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
These blocked sites were to have been flagged through public complaints.
The filtering plan met with strong opposition from industry, the Coalition, Greens and a variety of campaigners for internet rights.
This morning Senator Conroy said agreements had now been made with all of the telco service providers that they will block the worst of the worst child abuse pornography material available on public internet.
"I think that's a very good outcome," he said.
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