March 29, 2010
The US government says it has concerns about Australia's plan to introduce a mandatory internet filter.
The Federal Government wants to force internet service providers to block offensive material, including child pornography and instructions for criminal activity, from overseas websites.
The Government is facing growing pressure from anti-censorship and internet groups to drop the idea.
Now the US government has added its voice to those expressing concern.
A spokesman for the US state department says its officials have raised the issue with Australian officials but would not comment on the nature of the concerns.
Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says it would be inappropriate to talk about discussions with the US government.
Internet giant Google has also expressed concern about the Government's plan.
In a post published last December on Google Australia's official blog, the company said the plan raised concerns about censorship.
"At Google we are concerned by the Government's plans to introduce a mandatory filtering regime for Internet Service Providers (ISP) in Australia, the first of its kind amongst Western democracies," the post said.
"Our primary concern is that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide."
While Google accepted there must be some limits on internet content, it condemned the Government's filtering approach as heavy-handed.
"We have a bias in favour of people's right to free expression," the post said.