[ad] The service leader for Cloud is now in Australia. Secure, reliable cloud and managed hosting all backed by 24x7x365 Fanatical Support. Create your free account now.
Buy an Seagate Business Storage NAS for your chance to win a holiday
[ad] Purchase a selected Seagate Business Storage NAS to receive a $20 cash-back AND go into the draw to win a $1,000 Flight Centre voucher so you can holiday in the destination of your choice. T&Cs apply.
Great articles on other sites
- Xbox One smashes sales records
- Tech leaders call for speed, ubiquity in NBN rollout
- AIIA urges Hockey to tackle taxes
- IBM accuses Qld govt of trying to ‘rewrite history’
- Newlease undergoes reverse takeover to score ASX listing
- Australia Post loses battle | The Australian
- Start-ups leap at Telstra's accelerator
- Labor won't hand over NBN advice to Turnbull
- Adelaide Uni on hiring blitz for tech transformation
- Human Services to cut 56 IT jobs
How mobile and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy
[ad] How will the adoption of mobile devices and social media affect your Customer Experience strategy? Are you reaching your organisation's customers through these touch points? Click here to download a whitepaper by Fifth Quadrant examining consumer and business attitudes to these new contact channels.
50 things top IT pros need to know
[ad] This 18 page TechRepublic whitepaper explores 10 things you should know to become an epic IT manager, 40 other essential tips to advance your IT career and practical guidance for starting an IT consulting business. Click here to access the whitepaper.
News, Telecommunications - Written by Renai LeMay on Monday, March 12, 2012 12:08 - 56 Comments
Interpol filter causes sharp drop in offensive requests
news The implementation of a limited Internet filter at Telstra has caused a dramatic and rapid drop in the numbers of attempts by the telco’s customers to access child abuse materials online, statistics released by the Australian Federal Police have shown.
In July last year, the telco, along with Optus and one other smaller ISP, CyberOne, implemented a filtering system which blocks their customers from accessing a list of sites which contain “worst of the worst” child pornography, as defined by international policing agency Interpol. Developed as a collaboration between the telcos, the Internet Industry Association and the Australian Federal Police, the project was seen as a more limited industry response to rival the Federal Government’s controversial mandatory Internet filtering scheme, which covers a much wider range of content.
It has previously been reported (in October last year) that Telstra had, in the period from 1 July, when the filter was implemented, until 15 October last year, blocked 84,000 attempts to access sites on the blacklist. However, what has not yet been reported is that those requests were not made uniformly over that period.
Information released under Freedom of Information laws late last year show that in fact, as time went on, less and less requests were made to access child abuse material on the list — presumably, as Telstra customers attempting to access the offensive material became aware that the telco had implemented a filtering system to block the requests.
For the first five weeks it operated, from 1 July through to 7 August last year, Telstra’s filter blocked a total of 52,013 requests to access child abuse materials online, with 10,402 average requestsper week. Average requests per day were 1,405, with the highest day recorded seeing 2,443 requests blocked and the lowest seeing 915 blocked.
However, over the succeeding weeks through to mid-October last year, fewer and fewer requests were made. In the week commencing 13 August, 8,649 requests were made, but by September the figure was down to between 1,193 and 3,452 requests per week, and in the week beginning 15 October, just 989 requests were made — which had previously been close to the lowest requests received in one day, in the filter’s first month of operation.
In the period from mid-September to mid-October, the lowest day saw just 99 requests made by Telstra customers to access the blocked material. To access the complete statistics contained in the document released under FoI, click the image to the right.
Data is not yet available for the period following October, and Telstra is the only ISP so far to have been tracking the filter requests being made — with neither Optus or CyberOne having released any statistics about how many of their customers are trying to access the offensive material.
The documents released by the AFP form part of a briefing package which Neil Gaughan, the national manager of the Australian Federal Police’s High-Tech Crime Operations Centre, used at a Senate Estimates hearing in October to answer questions from Senators regarding the Interpol filtering scheme, which is voluntary for ISPs to participate in, but not voluntary for their customers.
In the briefing document, one talking point to be used by Gaughan referred to the statistics for the first five weeks of the filter’s operation. “The statistics generated by the Telstra network for the first five weeks of operation are notable,” the document states, “and support the need for and desirability to continue the trial.”
In the Senate Estimates session, Gaughan did reveal the headline statistics that 84,000 requests for offensive material had been blocked by Telstra in the period. However, he did not reveal the additional granularity around the fact that the requests by Telstra customers decreased markedly following the first month of the filter implementation.
Firstly, let me apologise as a journalist for not releasing this information earlier. It was part of a FoI pack of briefing documents which I received from the Australian Federal Police late last year. At the time, I chose to focus on other aspects of the documents, and the release of this statistical information went onto the backburner early in 2012 as the filter debate died down.
In the past few weeks, however, the filter debate has ramped up dramatically again, with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy making a number of statements (some of them misleading) about the Government’s mandatory ISP program and the voluntary ISP program. In addition, Gaughan himself has been back in the press discussing the issue publicly.
The “84,000″ figure is being bandied around constantly at the moment, and what I wanted to accomplish with this article was to demonstrate that it’s the wrong figure to be using. The situation with regard to blocking of child abuse materials online is a great deal more nuanced than the current debate would have us believe.
Personally, I’m not sure what it means that less and less Telstra customers are seeking to access child abuse materials online, following the implementation of the filter. On the one hand, it could mean that they have simply started seeking to access those materials through other, commonly cited means — such as through peer to peer technologies or private forums — after they were blocked via the web and saw Interpol’s warning page. On the other hand, it could also mean that these individuals could have stopped trying to access these kinds of materials at all — which would be a great outcome if true.
What I do think the release of this information demonstrates is that the AFP is not being as open and transparent with respect to this important issue as it could be. Gaughan could have provided this detail at the Senate Estimates hearing in October, but chose instead to focus on the ‘headline’ figure of 84,000 attempts to access offensive materials.
Telstra, also, could have provided this information in the public domain to help fuel an open and honest debate about its voluntary filtering scheme. And, of course, Optus and CyberOne could be providing similar statistics, but are choosing not to.
It is universally agreed in Australia that child abuse materials are offensive, and most people agree that people should be prevented somehow from accessing such content, whether that be through an Internet blacklist or simply stopping the material at the source. That’s not the issue. The issue is how we do so, and as I have previously written, if Australia is to agree to block such material, it needs to do so in a transparent and open fashion — subject to civilian oversight — so that the nation can be confident that associated filtering schemes are not themselves abused. Let’s have an open and honest debate about this one, people — in the open air of democracy.
Latest Delimiter 2.0 articles (subscriber content)
|Politicians from Australia’s major parties need to stop issuing ludicrous blanket pardons for the intelligence community’s ongoing misdemeanours and start applying a basic modicum of transparency and accountability to this important national security function.|
|The independent pro-fibre National Broadband Network movement is doing a far better job of promoting Labor’s Fibre to the Premises-based NBN policy than Labor itself. When is Labor going to wake from its slumber and start supporting this scrappy but energetic grassroots network of activists?|
|Ziggy Switkowski's first substantial public appearance since being appointed NBN Co chief executive has starkly demonstrated just how different he is from his predecessor, Mike Quigley, and just how strictly he will adhere to the guidelines which his patron, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has set for him.|
|Australian technology companies have been virtually absent from the the nation’s public stockmarket over the past decade as the stigma of the dot com bust took its toll on investor confidence. But a clutch of new listings planned for the closing months of 2013 shows renewed interest in the sector and that local entrepreneurs are smelling money in the air once again.|
|NBN Co’s Strategic Review process gives the company an unmissable opportunity to re-evaluate the early decision to deploy its FTTP network primarily through Telstra’s underground ducts. The company and its new Coalition masters must now seriously consider deploying more fibre aerially on power poles in an effort to speed up its rollout substantially.|
|That moment which many Australian technologists fervently hoped for but never expected to see has come to pass: Simon Hackett has been appointed to the board of the National Broadband Network Company. But what questions should the Internode founder be asking NBN Co’s executive management team? Here’s five ideas to start with.|
|The rapid replacement of respected NBN Co chief operating officer Ralph Steffens with a Telstra executive who appears less experienced with fibre rollouts but better politically connected represents a key signal that NBN Co’s senior executive hiring process has now become completely politicised and is no longer independent from the Federal Government.|
Enterprise IT, News - Dec 10, 2013 10:04 - 0 Comments
More In Enterprise IT
- Qld payroll lawsuit ‘rewriting history’, says IBM
- Harbour City Ferries goes Microsoft across the board
- Payroll disaster: Queensland sues IBM
- End of an era: Oracle Australia’s ‘safe hands’ leaves
- Qld launches whole of government IaaS panel
Blog, Telecommunications - Dec 10, 2013 9:48 - 2 Comments
More In Telecommunications
- “Captain of the Titanic”: Turnbull mocks Quigley’s NBN tenure
- NBN Co still has 1Gbps on way
- Delimiter appeals Turnbull Blue Book censorship
- Final closure: TPG buys AAPT for $450m
- NBN FTTN analysis “devastating” for Coalition
Blog, Industry, Startups - Dec 10, 2013 10:19 - 0 Comments
More In Industry
- Telstra shares millions with Box
- The Australian IT sector needs a stronger voice
- Xbox One goes off with a bang … but will the PS4 launch eclipse it?
- It’s not just Freelancer: Aussie tech IPOs are back in general
- Freelancer’s IPO: A billion reasons to care
Blog, Digital Rights, Gadgets - Dec 9, 2013 11:15 - 24 Comments
More In Digital Rights
- Censored: Appeal for AG’s Blue Book fails
- Senate to force TPP publication
- Global privacy group files formal ASD complaint
- Labor open to surveillance discussion
- Snowden an “American traitor”, says Australia’s Attorney-General