Largest ISPs left out of filter list

Summary:Communications Minister Stephen Conroy this afternoon announced the names of six ISPs that will participate in the Federal Government's internet filter trial — but the nation's largest ISPs are not on the list.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy this afternoon announced the names of six ISPs that will participate in the Federal Government's internet filter trial — but the nation's largest ISPs are not on the list.

Stephen Conroy
(Credit: DBCDE)

Primus Telecommunications, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1 are set to take part in the six week 'live' ISP filtering tests.

The list notably lacks the country's largest ISPs, such as Telstra and Internode, which had indicated to ZDNet.com.au in December last year that they would not take part in the trials. iiNet, which had said it would take part to prove the technology didn't work, was also left off the list.

The tests with the six ISPs announced today will look at the "efficiency and effectiveness" of a range of filtering products that were tested in closed trials at Telstra last year. The tests will also assess how easily the filters are circumvented as well as the impact on internet speeds.

Customers of the six ISPs will be able to choose whether they want to be included in the trial, according to Conroy's statement.

The tests will have two streams: ACMA's blacklist of banned URLs, and one that tests the effectiveness of filtering non-web protocols, such as peer to peer networks. Optus, which said it would participate in the web filtering trials, had also said it would not participate in the latter one.

Conroy today acknowledged the concerns aired by industry and civil rights groups.

"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," Conroy said.

While he admitted that the filtering tests would not be a "silver bullet", Conroy stuck to the argument that the tests met the government's evidence-based approach to the filtering proposal.

"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," he said.

"ISP filtering is no silver bullet and the government is implementing a comprehensive set of measures to combat online threats."

See ZDNet.com.au's Twisted Wire podcast for more on this topic.

Topics: Censorship, Government : AU, Telcos

About

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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