Australia's Web blacklist leaked

Data reveals government has blocked legitimate businesses

The secretive Internet filter blacklist held by the communications watchdog ACMA has been leaked, revealing the government has understated the amount of banned Web pages by more than 1000.

Multiple legitimate businesses and Web sites have been banned including two bus companies, online poker sites, multiple Wikipedia entries, Google and Yahoo group pages, a dental surgery and a tour operator.

Betfair CEO Andrew Twaits was furious the government has potentially annexed tens of millions of dollars in revenue after its Betfair.com gambling site was blacklisted.

The blacklists were reportedly leaked by a Web filter operator to wikileaks which has published the full list of banned URLs.

Outraged privacy advocates say the government has effectively lied about the amount of URLs included in the blacklists, totalling more than 2300, and the type of content which it would ban.

Electronic Frontiers Association (EFA) spokesman Geordie Guy said the list, dated August last year, would now be far more extensive in both the amount of URLs banned and the type of content included.

“The list is quite a bit bigger than what we have been led to believe; we were told it contained about 1600 pages in its current incarnation, and ACMA reports have claimed as low as 1300,” Guy said.

“Because this is a secret that has been leaked, everyone will be after it.”

“Every Australian will want to know what they were not they were considered so irresponsible to not leave alone.”

Guys said the leakage is proof that the list will be continually leaked if the Internet content filters are enforced, which he said will completely undermine its effectiveness.

Users republishing the banned Web sites will effectively break the law and risk an $11,000 fine from the watchdog.

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Darren Pauli

Computerworld
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