SYDNEY, Australia - In the wake of recent online leaks of a blacklist purported to come from an Australian government agency, another list has hit the Web.
The Aussie government has been playing duck-and-cover since whistleblower website Wikileaks featured two different lists of banned websites. Communication Minister Stephen Conroy said the list was not authentic, though admitted it did share some URLs with the official "secret" list compiled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
The latest list claims to be based on a new version of Acme's compilation of government-banned sites, having eliminated embarrassing inclusions such as a tour operator's and a dentist's sites.
"It is probable that the company only added, but never previously deleted, sites from the updates sent by ACMA," the post stated, according to News.com Australia.
"The company did an enormous cleanup of the list. No doubt as a result of the list appearing on Wikileaks. It is probable that the company only added, but never previously deleted, sites from the updates sent by ACMA."
Three lists have now emerged so far, all claiming to be linked to the ACMA and an approved filtering software company source, and described internally as the "ACMA list."
So far, neither Conroy's office nor other government officials have commented on this latest blacklist leak.
A media release from Conroy said last week's Wikileaks list, which included about 2,400 URLs and was dated August 6, 2008, was false. The Aussie senator revealed the ACMA list for the same date had less than half that amount, 1,061 URLs.
The latest published list, dated March 18, has 1,172 banned sites. "This new list is about the size the ACMA claimed it to be," said Wikileaks
The ACMA blacklist goes hand-in-hand with the Australian government's filter trials, which recently hit another roadblock when one of the nation's major ISPs, iiNet, dropped out Monday.
"We were told it contained about 1,600 (Web) pages in its current incarnation, and ACMA reports have claimed as low as 1,300," said EFA spokesman Geordie Guy. "Because this is a secret that has been leaked, everyone will be after it."
ACMA has issued warnings that anyone distributing the content of the leaked list could face criminal charges and severe daily fines of as much as $11,000 Australian ($7,000 U.S.)