From: Ars

A controversy is brewing in Australia, where the country’s Family First party is lobbying to have hard-core sex- and drug-related Internet content included in the ‘illegal’ content which would be filtered out of Net traffic entering Australia from outside, under a new national censorship scheme now before the lawmakers.

The controversy arises from the fact that the sex and drugs content targeted by Family First is currently legal for adults to view on the Web and in other media in Australia.

As Nate Anderson of Ars reports, “The government … has been pursuing a two-tiered scheme. The first tier would be a ‘clean feed’ that filters porn and ‘illegal content’, and it would be optional. The second tier would filter only ‘illegal content and would be mandatory for all Australians.”

Some critics have already drawn unflattering comparisons between the proposed Australian government Internet filtering plan and the Chinese government’s overall censorship of Internet traffic entering and leaving its government-controlled networks.

As well, the filtering program as proposed by the government would be the functional responsibility of Australia’s Internet service providers (ISPs). The System Administrators’ Guild of Australia (SAGE-AU), which speaks for many of the country’s ISPs, has warned that the filtering technology currently available is not up to the task as defined in the proposed legislation. They don’t want to be stuck in the middle between the government and irate users complaining of the massive performance hit their Internet connections would suffer from filtering and the inevitable (with current technology) erroneous filtering out of legitimate, legal content.

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