iiNet quits Conroy's filter trial

iiNet quits Conroy's filter trial

Summary: iiNet has decided to withdraw its application to participate in the Federal Government's internet filtering trial.


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.

Topics: Censorship, Government AU, Legal, Security

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • YAY Michael

    Thank you for having the courage of your convictions.

    ISP level filtering is not going to solve anything.

    And until there is transparency about the objective criteria being used to determine what web sites are blocked and a more equitable dialogue -- we're not going to come up with workable solutions.
  • iiNet's Withdrawal

    I wonder whether iiNet's threat to expose the flaws in the filter had anything to do with their initial dumping from the list and the long drawn out discussions. I can't imaging Conroy being happy for them to be involved with this threat hanging over their heads.

    Another issue (sorry, a bit off topic) is what the ACCC thinks of the ACMA's processes for managing the list. If a commercial website can be hacked and have some obscene photos put on it resulting it it being blacklisted with no notice or appeal, then your's competitors have a very effective tool for putting you out of business. Of course, it is unlikely to happen to the big end of town or government web sites (the ACMA would probably send a polite note about the offending material and request for it to be removed), but small business could easily be wiped off the map without any recourse. This could make for an interesting case - the ACCC taking the ACMA to court for anti-competitive behaviour :-)
  • Internet filter

    All the opposition parties need to get together , to throw this legislation out. What we need to do ,is kick this government out , at the next election. Only then will commonsense prevail .
  • Partly correct

    Unfortunately Geoff the ACMA Blacklist was created by the former Liberal government. Neither side of politics has shown the necessary common sense when actually in government. The legislation and the black list needs to go. On that we can agree.
  • iiNet quits Conroy's filter trial

    No one likes to continue negotiations with some whose motivations are not what they initially presented.
  • Just saved 1 customer

    I am a customer with iinet and was watching this closely. If iinet did go ahead I was going to switch to another ISP. As a person in the IT industry I get my opinion asked alot. I will never recommend an ISP that goes along with this trial.

    Anyone who researches this topic knows this filter can't work and will just waste money.
  • Great!

    It's great that the government is blocking all that unwanted material. I just hate seeing that dentist's website and laud them for blocking it.

  • Regarding Optus

    If Optus join this trial, i will be leaving them.
  • Politicians Trustworthy?

    Most of the population would view a politician as willing to lie to achieve their own ends. This gets at the real issue when it comes to censorship / filtering which is that politicians are simply not trustworthy. Their word is not something you can rely on.

    So given the possibility of using internet filtering for things the population would not even consider acceptable to achieve their own ends, they will.

    We all should be saying NO! in no uncertain terms. Politicians are simply not that trustworthy.
  • Conroy on Q & A

    Conroy is on the ABC's Q & A on thursday night - please bombard him with your questions over this farce.
  • Yes, Minister

    Isn't the ideal political scenario to invent a problem that doesn't exist or grossly exaggerate a problem that is very small-scale, put something in place that you claim will fix it, orchestrate a study to demonstrate that the problem is no longer there, and then claim the credit for an outstanding success.

    I suppose this falls apart if you invent a problem that doesn't exist or grossly exaggerate a problem that is very small-scale, put in place something that is going to be a complete disaster, inflame people to the point where the actively seek to undermine the initiative, and have your detractors' claims (e.g. the list will leak) proven true.
  • Second the Yay

    Well done Michael, finally somebody with some balls tells these idiots what they really think. The problem we have is that if this insolent joker who is supposed to be working for us rolls this out, there will be no other ISP's to change to, then watch the massive increase in encrypted traffic use through VPN's and the like to overseas proxies to bypass this stupidity.
  • Partly Partly Correct

    The Liberal policy was for an opt-in system. Not something now described by the industry at the Comms Day summit as creating an "Orwellian State".

    The Black list would be "controlled" by ACMA but each household would be allowed to turn on or off the filter. This is the same policy that the ALP took to the election, but then did a Peter "When we get in we'll change it all" Garratt...
  • Thank god for SSH!

    The price of freedom may well be two ISP accounts.... One in Australia and one to SSH to overseas.
  • No difference

    Bit like the never ever GST? They are all the same, don't kid yourself.