Updated: Coalition plans to filter Internet

Mandatory filters for mobile devices used by people under the age of 18

Update: The Coalition last night corrected the announcement, saying that users will have an option to 'opt-in' to use an Internet filter. Read about it here

The Coalition reignited the Internet filtering debate, announcing plans to make telcos and ISPs install adult content filters on mobile devices by default unless the user opts out.

The Coalition replaced its original policy document with a media release on Thursday, indicating that it had never supported mandantory Internet filtering.

The original announcement said Internet filters would be switched on as the default unless the customer proves he or she is at least 18 years of age. This is a policy that has already been implemented in the UK.

"We will work with mobile phone companies (such as Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and their resellers) to develop online safety standards for smartphones and other devices with mobile network connectivity such as tablets, applicable to their use by children in two age groups: children up to the age of 12 years and teenagers," the original Coalition document said.

If elected on Saturday, the Coalition also wants ISPs providing home network filters for all new home broadband services to be switched on as the default unless the customer specifies otherwise.

The Coalition said it would appoint a Children’s e-Safety Commissioner to make sure that major players offer the default safety standards, which the commissioner will develop within 12 months of the election.

"There would be agreed branding or symbols that could be applied to products and services which meet the default safety standards," the Coalition said.

Meanwhile, the Coalition said it would introduce legislation to get large social media sites operating in Australia to remove "harmful material" fast. It would also examine current Commonwealth legislation to determine whether to "create a new, simplified cyber bullying offence."

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