Internet giant Google on March 23 criticized Australia’s controversial plan to filter the internet, saying the plan goes too far and could set a dangerous precedent, AFP reports. Currently locked in a major dispute over censorship in China, the U.S. web giant said its primary concern with Australia’s proposal was “that the scope of content to be filtered is too wide.” Google said Australia went “well beyond” filters being considered in countries such as Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden, which focus only on blocking material related to child sex abuse. Such a sweeping mandate risked damage to Australia’s reputation, Google said, adding that it could “confer legitimacy upon filtering by other governments.” Canberra in December announced an ambitious plan to block access to sites featuring material such as rape, drug use, bestiality, and child sex abuse with an internet-wide content filter administered by service providers. Google said such a “massive undertaking” would limit network speeds, and filtering material from popular sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter appeared “not [to] be technologically possible.” Filtering also could give a false sense of security to parents and easily could be circumvented, the company said…

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staff and wire services reports