SYDNEY— Hackers shut down several Australian government Web sites Wednesday in a coordinated attack against a proposed Internet filter that targets pornography and criminal sites.
The Australian Parliament House Web site was down for almost an hour and the Department of Communications site also experienced difficulties, the Attorney-General's Department said in a statement.
It said the distributed denial-of-service attack, which blocked access to the sites, was launched by a group calling itself only "Anonymous."
The attack mirrored a similar one last November, also attributed to Anonymous.
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported that a statement from Anonymous said the attack was intended to protest the government's mandatory filter, particularly its blocking of certain pornography sites.
"More importantly, Anonymous does not approve of the steps already undertaken by the Australian Government to control what their populous sees," said the statement quoted by ABC.
The federal government — which is up for re-election this year — plans to introduce a mandatory Internet filtering system by early 2011 that will block obscene and crime-linked Web sites. The system would make Australia one of the strictest Internet regulators among the world's democracies.
Critics say the filter will not prevent determined users from sharing such content, and it could lead to unwarranted censorship by overzealous officials. (AP)