Details are sketchy, but Communications Day has reported that Telstra, Optus, iiNet and Primus will cooperatively introduce a system to block a blacklist of Refused Classification (RC) websites.

Commsday reports that the cooperative effort to block a blacklist of RC websites is ‘an attempt to combat child pornography’ but at this stage it remains unclear whether the ISPs actually intend to block all RC material or limit it to child pornography.

What is RC
‘Refused Classification’ is a broad classification category and in most cases content which falls under it is legal to possess and view 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. Find out more about RC and other classification types at

Since the Government announced it would introduce mandatory filtering many media outlets have shown a complete lack of understanding about the types of content classified Refused Classification and Commday’s report could well be another case of that. Until details are confirmed by the ISPs involved, what this plan means for Australians and the Government’s own plan is uncertain.

Six important questions that I want answered:

  1. What is the aim of the filter? Is it to block only child pornography websites?
  2. How will it work?
  3. Who will supply the blacklist? ‘RC websites’ suggests it will be ACMA, but would a combination of lists be used (including the IWF list)?
  4. If the ACMA blacklist is used, how will the ISPs block only child pornography websites (if that is the intent) or RC websites when the contents of the ACMA list are not categorised by content or classification, or available to view.
  5. Will this system be mandatory or opt-in? Opt-out?
  6. Has there been any consultation with the Government?

In related news, Commsday also expects the Government’s report on live ISP filtering trials will be released this week.

Update 11:30PM: iiNet’s Michael Malone informs Whirlpool members that iiNet won’t introduce compulsory filtering unless required to do so by law.

“I’ve been very vocal on this, consistently over many many years. iiNet won’t introduce compulsory filtering unless required to do so by law. It’s not a sensible solution to anything. Read my recent comments in the media on this.”