Optus implements internet filter

Optus implements internet filter

Summary: Optus has fulfilled its pledge to filter its customers' internet traffic, blocking websites that are listed on the Interpol "worst-of" list.


Optus has fulfilled its pledge to filter its customers' internet traffic, blocking websites that are listed on the Interpol "worst-of" list.

(Censorship on Flickr image by Antonella Beccaria, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The internet service provider (ISP) has updated its website with a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page confirming its involvement in the Internet Industry Association's (IIA) filtering framework, which had already been implemented by Telstra last month.

The list of sites to be filtered is maintained by Interpol, which has a set criteria for what goes on to the list. Sites are alleged to be those depicting child sexual abuse, and Interpol claims that the domains listed are checked and verified by at least two different countries. The actual domains contained on the list are kept confidential, as they are illegal in most countries.

According to Optus' FAQ, if users discover that a legitimate site has been blocked, they should contact the Australian Federal Police (AFP) directly, which will then arrange with Interpol to launch an investigation.

It also stated that the filter should not impact internet speeds or performance.

The company has previously confirmed that the filter can be easily circumvented by users changing the Domain Name Server (DNS) settings on their computer. Users can easily opt to use another DNS system, such as Google's Public DNS, rather than Optus' filtered one.

The IIA has previously stated that it expects most ISPs to implement the filter this year. Vodafone is another ISP that may soon follow; however, other providers, such as Exetel and Internode, have expressed their opposition to the IIA's framework.

Topics: Censorship, Privacy, Security, Telcos, Optus

Michael Lee

About Michael Lee

A Sydney, Australia-based journalist, Michael Lee covers a gamut of news in the technology space including information security, state Government initiatives, and local startups.

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  • I don't see the big deal about this. We need to regulkate the web to some description, I'm amazed that anyone has a problem mwith the idea of keeping this stuff offline.
    • Daz wrote:
      "I'm amazed that anyone has a problem mwith the idea of keeping this stuff offline"

      That's precisely the problem.
      Instead of leaving this filth out in the open where its exposed to public scrutiny & hopefully tackled at the source by the police we emulate the Catholic approach to it's paedophile priests by allowing them to flourish behind a Filter who's scope will undoubtedly expand well beyond it's original alleged purpose.
      • Bfore we get all excited about bashing the Catholic Church that is always so common these days - lets look at some facts. Yes there was a major problem in the Church which has now been effectively eliminated (no new abuse cases for how long - dare u to google it!). In fact I challenge u to find any other institution in society (yes - paedophilia exists mostly outside of the Catholic church, again google for some stats!) that has been as effective to eradicate the issue!

        On this subject - yes the filtering is absolutely needed to keep the filth away from general public. Do u want to implicated by assisting promote these networks - doing nothing to remove/filter the sites amounts to the same thing??
        • Who decides what is 'filth' and what makes them so better than the 'general public'?

          Ignoring religion, you comments highlight the problem with internet filtering. Someone decides they know better than everyone else, and then forces others to comply. That's a dictatorship, and exactly what Conroy wants.
          Scott W-ef9ad
          • So are you saying that making pedophilia freely available on the net is OK? I beg to defer... There is a balance between freedom of expression, privacy of persons (including children) and stuff that is harmful to society at large that needs to be struck I think...
  • If you look at the history of how this internet filter came about, and listened or read the comments from Conroy, it is perfectly clear that this filtering is not about child safety and terrorism.

    You don't need a tin foil hat to see the vested interests of certain individuals trying to control what you see and do. That doesn't mean 100% monitoring of every individual, just an erosion of basic privacy rights for those who disagree.
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • If the filter could also be used in the opposite direction (used to track down the hosts of these websites), then I don't see a problem with it. The thing is, it is Interpol that is (currently, but politicians do have a way of twisting things in their favour) in charge of what goes on the blacklist, which is limited to things like terrorism, paedophilia, and other content.

    The majority of people do not want to see child abuse and pornography pop up on their screens, and those who actively seek it should not be capable of getting it. But equally, those who are hosting it should also be targeted and brought to justice, as well as those who supply the content.
  • the law makers are very shifty when it comes to cover their tracks
    but beacuse they can have the mean for it and the power to do whatever they fancy (so the poor honest person who wants the internet bad enough must pay for it either way) than again why do we need the internet for? no web no problem, cheers