Australia Banning Online Poker Sites

Written by:
Alistair Prescott
Published on:

In a leaked report obtained by the website WikiLeaks.com, it was revealed that Australia's list of 2395 "banned website" stretched well beyond the realm of child pornography and "how to murder" websites that most other civilized nations also deem "inappropriate".

The Sydney Morning Herald included - among other things - sites pertaining to gay and straight porn, euthanasia, a few Christian websites and some YouTube links. 

But most disturbing of all perhaps:  The list included banned online poker portals. 

"It does look like there will be several online poker and online gambling sites that will soon be blocked at the ISP level by the Australian Government," suggests the website AintLuck.com.

That said, the Australian government has run into quite a bit of opposition with its plan to block websites.

University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt said the leaked list "constitutes a condensed encyclopedia of depravity and potentially very dangerous material".

He called it "the concerned parent's worst nightmare" as curious children would inevitably seek it out.

"It seems to me as if just about anything can potentially get on the list," Landfelt said.

The blacklist is maintained by ACMA and provided to makers of internet filtering software that parents can opt to install on their PCs.

Colin Jacobs, spokesman for the online users' lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said the leak was not surprising and would only get worse once the list was sent to hundreds of Australian ISPs as part of the Government's mandatory internet filtering policy.

He said the Government could be considered a "promoter and disseminator of links to some pretty unsavoury material".

"The list itself should concern every Australian - although plenty of the material is unsavoury or even illegal, the presence of sites like YouTube, MySpace, gambling or even Christian sites on the list raises a lot of questions," he said.

Australian Media Man, Greg Tingle, expressed deep concern over this issue with Gambling911.com.

"Big Brother is at it again.  Telling us what's right, what's wrong, what to read, what not to, what to look at on the web, what not to, what not to say et al.  Given I'm a qualified journalist and speaking out against censorship, I guess I should expect to be arrested next."

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today condemned the reported leak and publication of a list which includes prohibited internet addresses.

"The leak and publication of prohibited URLs is grossly irresponsible. It undermines efforts to improve cyber-safety and create a safe online environment for children," Senator Conroy said.

"Under existing laws the ACMA blacklist includes URLs relating to child sexual abuse, rape, incest, bestiality, sexual violence and detailed instruction in crime."

"No-one interested in cyber-safety would condone the leaking of these addresses."

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Alistair Prescott, Gambling911.com


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