Australia Internet Filtering Trial to Begin with 6 ISPs

Australia Internet Filtering Trial to Begin with 6 ISPs


The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy today announced the first phase of the Australian Govt’s ISP Filtering Live Pilot will begin six ISPs, Primus Telecommunications, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1.

We’ve covered the situation in Australia quite extensively here at Zeropaid. It all started as a voluntary effort to ‘protect children,’ but quickly spiraled into an all out attempt by the Australian govt to make it mandatory for ISPs to filter the Internet of all ‘inappropriate content’ and ‘offensive and illegal material.’ It quickly deteriorated from an attempt to somehow safeguard children from things like child pornography to things like legal pornography, gambling, and even P2P traffic, making Australian citizens rightly upset.

Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy, the main proponent of the plan, has now launched a blog on the Australian Govt’s Dept of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy website in order to promote the heavily criticized plan that threatens to reduce Internet connection speeds by 87% and institute a system of censorship with no oversight.

Thankfully iiNet, Australia’s largest ISP, has decided to prove to that country’s govt once and for all the ridiculousness of the whole plan in a fashion that makes it beyond reproach., giving it ‘hard numbers’ to show just ‘how stupid it is.’

‘They’re not listening to the experts, they’re not listening to the industry, they’re not listening to consumers, so perhaps some hard numbers will actually help,’ said Michael Malone, managing director iiNet. ‘Every time a kid manages to get through this filter, we’ll be publicizing it and every time it blocks legitimate content, we’ll be publicizing it.’

Senator Conroy has ignored all the criticism and plans to forge ahead with his plan.

‘The Government is committed to take an evidence-based approach to implementing its cyber-safety policy and these trials will provide valuable information to inform our approach,’ Senator Conroy said. ‘Arrangements for the first phase of the live pilot have been finalized with six ISPs while consultations continue with a number of other ISPs that have applied to take part.’

Testing with each ISP will take place for a minimum six weeks once filtering equipment has been obtained and installed. It will look at the efficiency and effectiveness of a range of technical solutions, as well as other issues such as the ease of circumvention, impact on internet speeds and user experience.

‘The government is well-aware of technical concerns about ISP filtering and that is why we are conducting a pilot, to put these claims to the test,’ he adds. ‘The live pilot will provide evidence on the real-world impacts of ISP content filtering, including for providers and internet users. It will provide evidence to assist the Government in the implementation of its policy.’

Customers of participating ISPs will be able to choose whether they want to be included in the pilot trial (note: all WebShield customers already receive a filtered service).

ISPs were invited to put forward proposals to participate in two pilot streams:

* Filtering the ACMA blacklist of prohibited URLs.

* Filtering the ACMA blacklist of prohibited URLs, as well as additional content filtering solutions that may be offered as optional services by ISPs.

‘ISP filtering is no silver bullet and the Government is implementing a comprehensive set of measures to combat online threats,’ Senator Conroy said.

For customers of these 6 participating ISPs it will surely be a long, long six months indeed.

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