ACMA Reject Validity of Blacklist

by Noah Taylor Last Updated

In a matter of hours after the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s supposed blacklist came available to the public via, they have issued a statement denying that it is theirs. Senator Stephen Conroy has stated that the list that everyone has now become aware of is false, misleading and people found to be distributing the list could face criminal charges. This is what he had to say to The Herald Sun “I am aware of reports that a list of URLs has been placed on a website. This is not the ACMA blacklist.”

For those of you that haven’t heard, Australian online Gambling is at risk of being made illegal. The ACMA has been put in charge of creating a list of websites that they find harmful to the general public. This list was meant to be an effort to ban harmful sites such as child porn and to stop other illegal material. For some reason, it looks like online gambling sites have made their way on to this list and also could be banned.

The Australian Government is planning to try and place an ISP ban on the sites on the list so no one in Australia can access them. At this point in time we feel that this is unlikely to ever be passed, in terms of blocking online gambling.

Later on in the interview with Senator Conroy he went on to state, “The published list purports to be current at 6 August 2008 and apparently contains approximately 2 400 URLs whereas the ACMA blacklist for the same date contained 1 061 URLs.” He then described the leaking as “grossly irresponsible.”

“Under existing laws the ACMA blacklist includes URLs relating to child sexual abuse, rape, incest, bestiality, sexual violence and detailed instruction in crime,” Senator Conroy said. “No one interested in cyber safety would condone the leaking of this list.” The question remains that if this list is indeed somewhat accurate, why were there online gambling sites on this list?

It has been revealed to the team here at that the online gambling sites that were on the list were part of a ‘trial’ and they were broadening the scope of the list. To be honest, this certainly smells like the Government is up to no good. They are trying to find deceitful methods to implement a ban on online gambling. It is no secret to anyone that this is due to the fact that they cannot tax online gambling.

Colin Jacobs, who is the vice chairman of Electronic Frontiers Australia was quoted as saying: “Many of the sites clearly contain only run-of-the-mill adult material, poker tips, or nothing controversial at all. Even if some of these sites may have been defaced at the time they were added to the list, how would the operators get their sites removed if the list is secret and no appeal is possible?”

This raises the question of whether or not the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) is even a serious law. The publicity that it has received could scare Australian online gamblers away from the industry. It remains to be seen if a ploy like this intended or not, will work.

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