Telstra, Optus, Primus to filter child porn

Summary:Three of Australia's largest internet service providers have agreed to voluntarily block online child pornography material ahead of the federal government's planned internet filtering plan.

Three of Australia's largest internet service providers have agreed to voluntarily block online child pornography material ahead of the federal government's planned internet filtering plan.

Telstra, Optus and Primus will block a list of child abuse URLs — internet addresses — compiled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced on Friday.

However, representatives from Telstra and Optus would not say unequivocally whether they supported the government's proposed internet filter, which has been criticised by some of the world's largest providers of internet services including Google and Yahoo.

Senator Conroy on Friday announced a review would be conducted into the guidelines for Refused Classification (RC) content.

The telcos agreed to block child porn material from being accessed by Australian internet users while that review is under way.

"We support the review that was announced today, we support and are willing to voluntarily commit to the blocking of the ACMA list of child pornography sites and we'll continue to work constructively with the government as it undertakes this review," Telstra public policy and communications director David Quilty told reporters in Melbourne.

A Telstra spokesperson said the company was still going through the details of how it would implement the filter, but confirmed the telco's intention was not to mandate the filter for wholesale customers. "Really it will be at their discretion," they said.

Optus government and corporate affairs director Maha Krishnapillai said the telco had agreed to block child pornography where it could.

"We'll have to wait and see what the review comes out with, but we've said all the way through this is about blocking the worst of the worst," he said.

RC content includes child abuse material, bestiality, rape and other extreme violence and terrorist acts.

Quilty said the blocking process was expected to take several months to get up and running.

Topics: Censorship, Optus, Telcos, Telstra

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