Filter trial agreements imminent

The next few days will see the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy sign agreements with some of the internet service providers (ISP) who submitted applications to be a part of the ISP-level objectionable content filtering trial.

The next few days will see the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy sign agreements with some of the internet service providers (ISP) who submitted applications to be a part of the ISP-level objectionable content filtering trial.

(Credit: DO NOT WANT Internet Filtering
by Mike Ando, aka RIUM+, CC2.0)

According to a spokesperson for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's office, the department received 16 applications. Although it had been hoping to have the trial begin before Christmas, this did not occur with the trial yet to get underway.

However, now agreements for at least some of the 16 were close to completion, the spokesperson said. In these agreements, each company would have set its own date to begin trialling the filter, instead of having a communal start. The minimum time for the ISPs to carry out the trial is six weeks.

Although some companies will have come off the block first, the others would not be excluded, instead set to reach agreement with the department later.

The government's controversial filter, which has seen passionate naysayers join together in horror on comment threads and even arrange a protest, is intended to keep internet nasties such as child pornography off Australian monitors.

Nonetheless, there has been much debate around the subject, with many believing the filter would significantly slow down internet speeds and would in any case not be effective. Some believe that the blacklist of sites would expand until free speech was impinged upon.

The criticism has not only been in the consumer arena, with ISPs themselves criticising the plan. iiNet has publicly said that it is only participating in the trial so as to prove it won't work.

Other ISPs who put in expressions of interest for the filter included Optus, Exetel, iPrimus and Unwired.

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