iiNet has decided to withdraw its application to participate in the Federal Government's internet filtering trial.
Michael Malone (Credit: iiNet)
iiNet's managing director Michael Malone said that despite drawn-out negotiations with the department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, it was obvious no agreement could be reached.
Malone stated that the recent media storm around the leaked blacklist of URLs similar to the ACMA blacklist was part of the reason iiNet had decided to withdraw, along with the policy which was always changing and "confused" explanations of the trial's purpose.
"It became increasingly clear that the trial was not simply about restricting child pornography or other such illegal material, but a much wider range of issues including what the government simply describes as 'unwanted material' without an explanation of what that includes," Malone said in a statement.
Malone said that although everyone was against child pornography, the filtering trial would not help keep it away from Australian internet users.
"In reality, the vast majority of online child pornography activity does not appear on public websites but is distributed over peer-to-peer networks which are not and cannot be captured by this trial or policy."
He wanted the government to rethink its approach and make clear what it intended in terms of internet censorship.
"This lack of communication from government and bureaucracy is rightly seen as underhand and unsavoury and is now attracting international dismay as well as Australian disgust," Malone said.
iiNet was negotiating to be in the second round of filtering trial participants. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy recently said that some of his reasoning for choosing the six starting ISPs was that they had said the trial could be done with zero costs. Optus has also been talking to the government about participating in the trial.
A spokesperson for the telco said that despite iiNet's withdrawal, Optus intended to continue its negotiations with the government concerning its participation in the trial.