Australian gov’t seeks to ban more Web sites

The Australian Government has tabled a bill that will increase the power of police to ban Web sites that they deem crime or terrorism related. The bill was tabled in the Senate.

“Cyber crime in on the increase globally, with criminals abusing the anonymity of the online world to carry out offenses ranging from unwanted sexual approaches to online fraud,” reads the bill.

“The Governments’ recent review of the E Security National Agenda found that the e-security landscape has changed significantly with the emergence of sophisticated, targeted and malicious online attacks. Many of these attacks are associated with Web sites used by criminals to perpetrate fraud or circulate malicious software.”

This bill proposes to amend the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to expand the black lists URLs that is currently maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to include crime and terrorism related Web sites hosted domestically and overseas.

The proposed amendments will allow the Australian Federal Police Commissioner to refer additional Internet content that is outside the National Classification Scheme or ACMA’s scope blacklisting.

Domestic and overseas-hosted sites that encourage, incite, induce or facilitate the commission of an offense, such as phishing Web sites and Web sites that promote terrorism will now be added to the black list.

ISPs use the black list to automatically filter sites where customers have subscribed to a filtered service. The black list is also provided to Family First Filter members of the Internet Industry Association so they can upgrade their filter products. It will also be made available to other software filters.

The guidelines for blacklisting crime and terrorism related Web sites are yet to be released, but they will be made available on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments.

Blacklisting cyber-crime and terrorism Web sites is part of the Governments comprehensive NEtAlert – protecting Australian Families Online initiative.

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