Exetel shuns 'pointless' Interpol filter

Exetel shuns 'pointless' Interpol filter

Summary: Exetel has joined ranks with Internode and TPG with respect to the limited filtering scheme being rolled out by Telstra and Optus.

TOPICS: Censorship, Telcos

Exetel has joined ranks with Internode and TPG with respect to the limited filtering scheme being rolled out by Telstra and Optus.

Exetel CEO John Linton
(Credit: Delimiter)

The internet service provider's chief executive, John Linton, today stated it would not implement the scheme unless required to do so by law, and described the industry association backing the project as "a bunch of wankers with nothing better to do with their time than pointlessly pontificate".

Telstra and Optus have pledged to implement a voluntary filtering framework developed by the ISP industry's peak representative body, the Internet Industry Association. The filter, which is being seen as a more moderate industry approach developed in reaction to the Federal Government's much more comprehensive filter scheme, will see the ISPs block a "worst of the worst" list of child pornography sites generated by international police agency Interpol.

However, a number of other ISPs, such as Internode and TPG, have taken a strong stand against the project, stating they will only implement the scheme if the law requires them to do so. iiNet has said that it is looking into the matter.

Today, Linton said his company would do "whatever the law requires it to do". "As far as I know, subject to correction, Australian law not only does not require Exetel to ban any IP address without a federal warrant and should we do so would expose Exetel to action by people who might claim to be inconvenienced by such action(s)," he said.

Linton further said that if anyone — "certainly an organisation with the resources and clout of Interpol" — knew the IP address of sites hosting child pornography, then they would presumably be in "a far better position" to shut those sites down than a small Australian ISP like Exetel.

Those promulgating filter schemes in Australia have regularly highlighted the difficulty of shutting down sites hosting objectionable content when they are located in international jurisdictions without cooperation agreements with Australia, with commonly cited countries including those in the former Soviet bloc in Eastern Europe. However, Linton rejected this argument for filtering content in Australia.

"And yes I am aware of the whining about 'rogue countries' — such whimpers are made by people ignorant as to how the internet actually works — a 12-year-old could close down those sites (or any site) in a few minutes," he said.

It's not the first time Linton has opposed filtering initiatives. In November 2008, as the debate around the Federal Government's much wider mandatory internet filtering scheme was gaining full force, Linton wrote a harshly satirical article about the initiative, noting that his company had been invited to "the fourth Reich's official sub-site where we could find the details of how to participate in Herr Krudd's and Obersturmführer Conroy's scheme to purge the Fatherland of the filth emanating from the diseased brains of the untermenschen".

"...is that the sound of a heavy military truck screeching to a halt and the sound of jackboots on the drive?" Linton added.

Today, Linton also criticised the organisation promulgating the Interpol filtering scheme — the Internet Industry Association — which represents ISPs and other organisations with an interest in the development of the internet in Australia. The IIA stated last week that its filtering scheme would be implemented for between 80 and 90 per cent of Australians this year.

Topics: Censorship, Telcos

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  • The ISP's passively monitor traffic that goes through their system, right? Surely it wouldnt be hard to have a passive filter in place, rather than a static one as suggested. Simply run a sweep to search for the sites/IP's visited, and any that match something on the list gets kept for a defined period.

    You dont have a hardwired filter in place, but if authorities are looking for evidence, its still there.

    Dont get me wrong here, I'm all for privacy, and dont like filters in any way, but I can see valid legal reasons for filtering this worst of the worst stuff. My fear is it being the thin edge of the wedge, and the list growing as time goes by. If the list is for those high level taboo subjects though, then I can see the point.
  • No ISP's do not actively monitor traffic - do you filter your petrol ?
    No. It requires someone to actively LOOK at the data through put. Linton is correct - most of these Euro rogue sites are known and can be blocked OUTWARDS by the country of origin.
    Its a matter of time before the "politcially correct filter" subversive websites and information - its in their nature and only a matter of time.

    Like the UN, Interpol is a vague organisation which blows hot and cold depending upon the trans national progressives who inhabit the world of "they know best" helping the politically connected. The EU can deal with its own issues and block websites at it own end. Keep us filterless !
  • It has been mentioned before.. implementing a Net filter is just the thin edge of the edge. Give Poli's & bureaucrats an inch & they will wont it all & they will do it behind closed doors. I do not want some unknown egg head filtering what I can or cannot view in the privacy of my home or anywhere else for that matter. We are living in a nanny State as it is.

    If the IIA, or Interpol know where these sites are located, who are transmitting child pornography then WHY! aren't they actively working to shut them down. A Net filter wont do it! Conroy is hell bent on controlling everything we see & do. He sounds like the 3rd Reich reincarnated. So many have forgotten just how insidious mind control can be!

    Enough already!
  • Keith, I agree the filter is absurd...

    Sadly however, regardless of one's political leanings, singling out our government as being 3rd reich, when similar filters are being considered/operational in NZ, France and UK (under opposite political ideology/rule)... is naive, imo.

    Apparently (I'm only going by what I can find, UN-filtered on the web...LOL) so I'll stand corrected...

    For example, the NZ government didn't mention filtering prior to the last election in 2008 and just introduced forms of filtering in 2010? A vision of what's to come here, perhaps????

    As such imo, this isn't "a political filter", it's an "apolitical" filter supported by politicians of all persuasions (outwardly or otherwise...) universally...!
  • Universally? What utter nonsense! The filter is opposed by The Greens, The Australian Sex Party, The Democrats, Young Liberals, Young Labor, and the list goes on.

    Conroy doesn't have the numbers in the Senate to introduce his ridiculous censorship, he may not even have the numbers in the Lower House since Labor is a minority coalition Government. So not even close to universal.

    And, all those countries that the filter freaks keep mentioning as already enjoying censorship, if what they already have had made any sort of difference in actually reducing child abuse there would be no need for other countries to introduce the same failed schemes. It is a mark of stupidity to repeatedly introduce a scheme which has failed and expect a result other than failure.
  • Speaking of utter nonsense and naive utter nonsense...

    Yes, yes, the Dems, Greens, blah ... but who will govern... Labor or the Coalition (hopefully the Greens will keep them all honest)...

    The rest are inconsequential (the young Libs/Labor will do as they are told)...

    Filtering is something the major parties want... believe what you wish, but it IS happening universally and if you want to ignore our neighbours with rhetorical BS, do so...!...!
    • Inconsequential is not the same as universal.

      I said the complete opposite of ignoring other countries. I said to look at them, look at the failure of their censorship to do anything at all to stop child abuse.

      I am sure that the next country who's people object to being censored will have people like you pointing to AUSTRALIA saying it's "universal", our "neighbours", I don't like censorship "but...[insert pathetic excuse here]".

      I still say it is a mark of stupidity to repeatedly introduce a scheme which has failed and expect a result other than failure.
  • Err, A G A I N... I agree Conroy's filter is absurd, as I said straight up (missed that eh...?). So, helloooo....Don't get all emotional and narky tiger..., because you are unable to understand English...!

    But I am not naive enough as the above poster I originally replied to and you, to suggest the other side of politics (not just Conroy) don't want it too... and countries such as NZ and the UK are prime examples...

    How ****ing hard is that to understand...?

    Feel free to keep pedantically arguing with someone who agrees with you, but is pointing out fact...sigh!
    • I manage to understand English well enough to distinguish between, "universal', "inconsequential" and now "the other side of politics".

      If you think you are helping by stating a dislike for censorship and then producing a list of false reasons to dissuade people from doing something, anything, to oppose censorship, then don't help. Do not help. For the love of Haile Selassie do not help.
  • No I don't think you understand even basic English at all.

    Or of course, my friend (and I say friend with the complete insincerity your strangely childish argument aimed at me, deserves) seems you have already had your comprehension skills filtered... I can't spell it out any simpler, even for you, sorry tiger! So should I be pedantically childish too and now argue over the word "inconsequential" (because I didn't say that)...sigh...!

    But please continue (as I see no reason for me to) if you comically wish to read some foolish, clandestine conspiracy undertones into a simple comment, which all I was basically saying was... "IMO (you will note imo, several times initially...or do you hypocritically wish to filter my opinion...) the opposition would if elected, implement a filter too as other conservative governments are/have OS...

    So if you are unable to admit to fact and say yes it is happening, but let's stop it here... well I'm afraid it's all a bit too much for you (or you are simply another conservative stooge who has taken offence and just can't see the forest...)?

    So go your hardest and have a free shot tiger, because frankly, if you don't get it by now, well...!