The government’s response to website attacks by ‘Anonymous’ this evening highlight why such illegal actions do nothing to help the fight against net censorship, with Senator Conroy telling the media that the people responsible are misguided and that the proposed filter would only be used to block illegal content.

The Minister for Communications told the Herald Sun that the campaign that they’re mounting is erroneous and misinformed and that the government is proposing is to filter refused classification content which includes imagery of child sexual abuse, rape and bestiality.

Of course, that’s far from the truth.

Refused classification is an extremely broad classification category and in most cases it is legal to possess and view RC material in Australia (the exception being Western Australia and some indigenous communities in the Northern Territory or where the content is illegal under criminal codes such as child abuse). RC includes material surrounded by political debate like The Peaceful Pill Handbook, as well as films like Ken Park, adult pornography with fetishes (such as spanking) and even content that depicts or deals with drug misuse and addiction. Video games which do fit below the MA15+ classification are also classified as RC.

In fact, in May of this year the Government revealed that the blacklist (at the time) contained only 32% child abuse material. Another 19% was refused classification material and the remaining 49% was rated X18+ or less.

Here’s the criteria from the National Classification Code for determining if a film is RC:

Films that:

  • depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified; or
  • describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be , a child under 18 (whether the person is engaged in sexual activity or not); or
  • promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence

Reports on web forums suggest was DDoS’ed, but returned after approximately five minutes. However, the Herald Sun reports both and were down for up to an hour.

Anonymous announced they would carry out attacks on government websites at 7PM Wednesday evening, demanding no Internet filter and the resignation of Senator Conroy. However, such methods and demands suggest little understanding of how political policy is changed in Australia. Acts like this have the potential to unravel the hard work already done by many to try and end this policy.

Understandably, like the majority of Australians, Anonymous are frustrated with the government’s plan to censor the web. However, efforts need to be put into legal and well conceived actions, for these have long last lasting effects, not just brief notoriety.