SYDNEY, Dec. 31 Australia's Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy said new measures are being put in place to provide greater protection to children from online pornography and violent websites. Sen. Conroy said it will be mandatory for all internet service providers to provide clean feeds, or ISP filtering, to houses and schools that are free of pornography and inappropriate material, Australia's ABC News reported Monday.
Online civil libertarians warned the freedom of the internet is at stake, but Conroy said the scheme will better protect children from pornography and violent websites. "If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree," he said.
Anyone wanting uncensored access to the internet will have to opt out of the service, he said. He said the government will work with the industry to ensure the filters do not affect the speed of the internet.
"There are people who are going to make all sorts of statements about the impact on the [internet] speed. The internet hasn't ground to a halt in the UK, it hasn't ground to a halt in Scandinavian countries and it's not grinding the internet to a halt in Europe," he said.
Vatican denies 'exorcist squad' report
ROME, Vatican City, Dec. 31 The Vatican is denying reports it plans to install more exorcists around the world so possessed people can get help quickly.
"Pope Benedict XVI has no intention of ordering local bishops to bring in garrisons of exorcists to fight demonic possession," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told reporters in Rome Friday, UPI reported Saturday.
On Thursday, the Roman Catholic Web site Petrus said the pope planned to install more exorcists in every diocese next year and reintroduce a prayer during mass to St. Michael the Archangel, believed to be the prime protector against evil, The Telegraph in Britain reported Saturday.
Paolo Scarafoni, a priest at Vatican University who teaches how to recognize and expel Satan, said exorcists increasingly are in demand because devil worship has become so common, reported ANSA, the Italian news agency. "Priests are being bombarded," Scarafoni told ANSA.