Blocked: Internet filtering, drug websites and harm reduction in Australia
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The federal government has proposed legislation mandating that internet service providers (ISPs) block all websites hosting refused classification content. According to the Australian communications and media authority (ACMA), refused classification content includes “child abuse and child sexual abuse material, depictions of bestiality, material containing excessive violence or sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use, and/or material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act”. Presently, online content that is brought to the attention of the ACMA can be refused classification, but only websites hosted in Australia can be issued with a notice forcing them to shut down. Website owners can easily bypass these laws by hosting their websites in other less restrictive countries. Under the proposed legislation, ISPs would be required to block all sites that meet the definition of refused classification. In 2011, the Australian law reform commission began a review of the national classification scheme, including within its investigation the definition of refused classification. The national drug research institute (NDRI) has recently responded to the issues paper by considering the potential public health impacts of the proposed internet filter for people who use drugs.
Published by Dovetail: supporting the youth alcohol and drug sector in Queeensland
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