From Wikileaks, March 20, 2009
By Asher Moses (Sidney Morning Herald)
The communications regulator’s secret blacklist of banned websites has been leaked onto the web and includes such innocent sites as a dentist and tuckshop consultant.
The whistleblower site Wikileaks yesterday published the top-secret Australian Communications and Media Authority list. Websites on it will be blocked for all Australians once the Federal Government implements its mandatory internet filtering scheme, which was originally pitched as targeting only ‘illegal’ content.
But, as experts have warned, a secret list is dangerous because those added to the list in error would have little recourse. ‘Any person or corporation that would be identifiable on the list would potentially be deemed by the general public … either a child molester or at least in the same category as child molesters,’ said a University of Sydney associate professor, Bjorn Landfeldt.
Alongside child porn, bestiality, rape and extreme violence sites, the list includes a slew of online poker sites, YouTube links, porn sites, Wikipedia entries, sites on euthanasia, fringe religions, fetishes, Christianity, the website of a tour operator and even a dentist.
The dentist, Queenslander John Golbrani, was furious when contacted to inform him that his site appeared on the blacklist.
‘A Russian company broke into our website a couple of years back and they were putting pornographic listings on there – [but] we changed across to a different web provider and we haven’t had that problem since,’ he said.
Jocelyn Ashcroft, who runs a school canteen consultancy in Queensland, also said she had no idea why her site had made it on to the list. ‘The only thing I can think of is that I have emailed schools telling them about my book and CD resource How To Have A Healthy And Profitable Theme Day,’ she said.
‘There is no software involved in this process, just me copy and pasting.’
Daniel Purser, who runs a web hosting and design company out of NSW, was also shocked to learn that his site had been blacklisted. He said there was ‘no chance’ his customers were hosting questionable content.
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, yesterday said the list was not genuine.
‘The published list purports to be current at 6 August 2008 and apparently contains approximately 2400 URLs whereas the ACMA blacklist for the same date contained 1061 URLs,’ he said in a statement.
‘ACMA advises that there are URLs on the published list that have never been the subject of a complaint or ACMA investigation.’
But Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, said the disparity in the reported figures was most likely owing to duplicates and variations in URLs.
First seen in the Sidney Morning Herald. Thanks to Asher Moses and the Sidney Morning Herald for covering this issue. Copyright remains with the aforementioned.