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29 March 2010

Obama Administration Against Australia Internet Filter

In a story widely covered by Gambling911.com and special correspondent Greg Tingle of Media Man Int., Senator Stephen Conroy, who is Australia's acting Communications Minister, is looking to move forward with attempts at censoring thousands of Internet websites including those related to online gambling.

"The Rudd Government's controversial internet filter legislation, with add on ‘blacklist' on the side, is still being drafted and is unlikely to be debated in parliament until at the middle of June and might be pushed back even further," Tingle says. "Internet lovers, gamers, media - journalists, entrepreneurs and lovers or freedom of expression have been rejoicing and see the latest development as a victory of sorts in the internet control ‘war'."

And now it appears, US President Barack Obama has entered the fray, expressing discontent over Conroy's filtering frenzy.

David Olsen of Dynamic Business Worldwide:

"Coming off the back of Google's announcement they are no longer censoring their Chinese search engine, officials from Obama's State Department are mounting a diplomatic assault on internet censorship worldwide."

US State Department spokesman Noel Clay raised concerns about the proposed Internet filter.

"The US and Australia are close partners on issues related to cyber matters generally, including national security and economic issues," Mr Clay said.

"We do not discuss the details of specific diplomatic exchanges, but can say that in the context of that ongoing relationship, we have raised our concerns on this matter with Australian officials."

Conroy's ‘black list' had been leaked last year and included everything from a dentist's website to the online betting exchange Betfair, which operates legally in Australia.

Just last week, Google announced it will no longer be censoring its Chinese website. Google has been highly critical of the Australian Internet filtering proposal.

"Our primary concern is that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide," Google wrote in its submission, also suggesting the filter would slow browsing speeds.

"Some limits, like child pornography, are obvious. No Australian wants that to be available-and we agree," the Google submission said. "But moving to a mandatory ISP level filtering regime with a scope that goes well beyond such material is heavy-handed and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information."