The introduction of a new policy to block online casino websites from being accessed by Australian residents is currently being pushed by Senator Steve Fielding. According to Senator Fielding, online casino websites fit under the classification of what he has termed “fetish material”, along with pornography and x-rated content.
In a Senate Estimates hearing held last week, the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, presented his plan to implement a two-tiered filtering system for ISP’s, the first of which would be compulsory for all Australian citizens. It consists of all illegal material that would be blacklisted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), in which all online casino sites would be included. The second tier would include all content deemed unsuitable for children.
In addition to the controversy over adults being unable to opt out of the first tier involving online casino sites, many people have expressed fears that such undertakings may lead to more than just illegal content being blocked by ISP’s, which is highly likely under the controlling hand of the government. The opposition, however, claims that a mandatory ISP filtering policy would need “a lot of convincing”.
The controversy in Australia comes after a similar debate waged recently in Kentucky courts, where 141 of the international online casino industry’s most renowned companies were threatened, and where several companies even had their domain names seized. Similar questions to those raised in Kentucky over the judicial interference of the internet are now relevant in Australia, and a heated debate has sparked between those in favour of the proposed filtering system, and those against it.
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