ISP filtering goes 'voluntary'

Summary:Australia's mandatory internet filter is at least two years away, but Telstra and Optus are only weeks from implementing their "voluntary" equivalents. Where are we up to with this controversial issue?

Australia's mandatory internet filter is at least two years away, but Telstra and Optus are only weeks from implementing their "voluntary" equivalents. Where are we up to with this controversial issue?

Just under a year ago, right before the 2010 Federal Election, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy pushed filtering onto the back burner. At the time, I called that move a political masterstroke. I stand by that comment today.

Conroy also announced a review of the Refused Classification (RC) category of internet content — a category that we explained on Patch Monday last year — and this has since become a review of the entire content classification system that'll take at least another year to complete.

Meanwhile, three of Australia's largest internet service providers (ISPs), Telstra, Optus and Primus, had committed to introducing their own filters. So, will it work?

On Patch Monday this week, we explain what has been unfolding since Conroy's announcement last July. Peter Black, who teaches internet and media law at the Queensland University of Technology, explains the legal and political background. Network engineer Mark Newton covers the technical aspects. Both have previously pointed out problems with ISP-level filtering.

We also hear from Lyle Shelton from the Australian Christian Lobby, which has been pushing for mandatory internet filtering for years.

There's also my usual look at some of last week's news headlines.

To leave an audio comment on the program, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

Running time 43 minutes, 26 seconds

Topics: Censorship, Government : AU, Optus, Telcos, Telstra

About

Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust. He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit tr... Full Bio

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.