Internode, iiNet, VHA won’t filter for now

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National broadband provider Internode this afternoon stated that — unlike Telstra, Optus and Primus — it would not voluntarily filter its customers’ internet for websites that are known to contain child pornography and child abuse material, while iiNet said it would wait to see the detail in the proposal and VHA is awaiting a code for the mobile industry.

On Friday Communications Minister Stephen Conroy revealed the three ISPs — some of the largest in Australia — would cooperate with his request to voluntarily block the material online while the Government’s mandatory internet filtering policy was finalised. The list to be used will be compiled and maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

But this morning Internode general manager of Regulatory & Corporate Affairs John Lindsay said the ISP would not comply and that ACMA’s blacklist had been thoroughly discredited.

“It covers a tiny proportion of the content that would need to be blocked for it to be effective and has already been shown to contain URLs of legal content that Australians would expect to access,” he said in a statement.

“Internode reminds parents that they will always need to use supervision and that they should activate the filtering tools provided with their computer operating system to protect their children online. There are also numerous tools sold by companies like Symantec and F-Secure that can provide fine-grained filtering that is age-appropriate.”

iiNet chief executive Michael Malone (pictured) said his company would wait to see the detail of the proposal.

“I am a long time supporter of opt-in, or even opt-out,” he said by email. “Still not keen on a blanket mandatory filter though. On the plus side, I’m very happy to see the scope limited to child porn (for now), and to see notice to website owners, an appeals process, and regular review.”

A spokesperson for mobile broadband player VHA — which operates the Vodafone and 3 brands in Australia — said the company wholly supported the development of the Internet Industry Association’s ISP code, which it said would guide the mobile industry in the blocking of unlawful content. It is believed the broadband provider won’t immediately follow the lead of Telstra, Optus and Primus.

Other broadband providers such as Adam Internet and Exetel have not yet responded to a request for comment on whether they will comply with Conroy’s request.

The news on Friday came as part of a wider announcement where Conroy revealed the filter project would be delayed for a year while a review was carried out by federal and state governments into the Refused Classification category of content which it will filter.

In addition, a number of other measures aimed at enhancing the project’s transparency and accountability were added to the project.

Image credit: iiNet

8 COMMENTS

  1. Good on you Internode! Keep fighting for open internet. That makes it tempting to switch ISP (currently with Optus).

    Will Internode join the Safer Internet Group?

  2. ” would not voluntarily filter its customers’ internet for websites that are known to contain child pornography and child abuse material”
    really unbiased journalism there. They are opposing the filter not because of ‘known child abuse material’ but because the vast majority of the ACMA blacklist (and RC content as a whole) is in fact material that is merely controversial and not at all illegal. the child exploitation material is a VERY small subset of RC, and websites containing such material typically only last days, if not just hours. the majority of that content is traded via protocols other than http.

    • To be honest, Denis, if I am biased towards any one side, it is against the filter policy — I have documented fairly conclusively that I am against the filter.

      I am fairly gratified that you claim I am biased towards the filter — shows I can be truly objective in my writing! I am aware of the ISPs’ reasons for opposing the filter, and personally, I share them.

      • While, knowing what you’ve written before, I have some idea where you stand that first sentence really just screams tabloid journalism to me. They are taking a stand against a stupid policy in a way that is easy to misinterpret to generate sensational headlines… and even the journalists who are against it take the sensationalist line?

  3. It’s useless with networks like Tor (torproject.org) and Freenet (freenetproject.org). These cannot be blocked or monitored (currently) and will simply evolve if a vulnerability is found.

    It’s just an excuse to grab power so they can come down on people sharing music and movies. If you want to fight back. Install Full Disk Encryption like TrueCrypt (which is open source) and setup a Freenet node.

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