AFP readies list for ISPs to block child porn links | The Australian

AFP readies list for ISPs to block child porn links | The Australian

Andrew Colley
From: Australian IT
June 28, 2011 10:32AM

THE Australian Federal Police has started preparing its first ISP censorship notices under a voluntary internet filtering scheme targeting online child abuse material.

The voluntary filter program appeared to be in trouble late last week as Telstra wavered on the commitment it gave the federal government to support the scheme last July.

However, yesterday the carrier confirmed it would commit to a scheme to block a narrowly focused list of material maintained by Interpol and vetted by the AFP.

Optus also confirmed that it would comply with the scheme based on the Interpol list but that it would not start blocking sites until late July.

The Internet Industry Association (IIA) also revealed a framework for an industry-wide scheme based on the Interpol list.

IIA chief Peter Coroneos said that the scheme would draw for the first time on provisions of the Telecommunications Act that, to date, have only been used for investigating terrorism and major crimes.

The AFP was preparing to notify ISPs of the list of sites containing child abuse material they would be asked to block under the voluntary scheme, Grant Edwards, investigations manager at the AFP’s High Tech Crime Operations said.

‘The AFP is in the process of issuing a number of ISPs under section 313 of Telecommunications Act 1997,’ Mr Edwards said in a statement yesterday.

Optus said it would honour its commitment to block the list.

‘This is a safe, credible and tested approach which has been implemented in other countries with proven results,’ a spokesman for Optus said.

‘The internet is now a primary channel for sharing child sexual abuse material and Telstra believes the telecommunications industry has a responsibility to do what it can to limit this distribution,’ a Telstra spokeswoman said.

However, ISPs including iiNet, Internode and Primus Telecom remained reticent about committing to the scheme.

iiNet regulatory chief Steve Dalby declined to comment on the scheme. Internode regulatory chief John Lindsay also declined to comment. Ravi Bhatia, chief of Primus Telecom, one of the original ISPs to enter discussions with government on the scheme, said he ‘more important things to think about.’

Privately some ISPs that have yet to register their support for the scheme said they still feared that the scope of the filter may widen.

Civil liberties groups said they were supportive of the government’s stance on blocking child pornography but feared an internet filtering scheme to be adopted by Australia’s two major carrier’s next month targeting child pornography will sweep online child sexual abuse problems under the rug.

Civil Liberties Australia director Tim Vines said he was concerned that the agencies directly enforcing child abuse laws would be ignored.

‘The production of this material and the abuse of children is ultimately a behavioural issue will not be addressed censorship. If the government is serious about cracking down on child pornography it needs to be diverting additional resources to police,’ Mr Vines said.

Bernadette McMenamin, chief executive of child protection advocacy Child Wise, said that the filter’s imperfections were not reason enough to criticise the scheme. ‘Ordinary Australians’ were not among the elite hackers that would be able to circumvent the filter she said.

‘You’ll always have savvy people who will get around filters. We’re never going to stop child pornography completely but we can reduce it,’ Ms McMenamin said.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter

Be the first to comment on "AFP readies list for ISPs to block child porn links | The Australian"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*