Telstra, Optus, Primus to filter child porn

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.

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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, Telcos, Optus, Telstra

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13 comments
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  • Wouldnt the smart idea be to completely shut these sites down knowing that they exist and are not only disgusting but illegal? Rather than just blocking them and then ignoring the fact that they are out there?
    Bioxide
  • Bioxide,

    Closing down the sites in the first place would be a much better idea. But that would need a bit of common sense thinking from the Government, and that is in very short supply in these days.
    dooley74
  • I have to completely agree with you
    Bioxide
  • It's rather difficult for the Aust govt to shut down websites hosted and owned by international parties. I'm all for blocking child porn, but I, like many others when talking about Refused Classification, am a little wary about what exactly constitutes RC content now and how they might change the scope of the classification in the future to suit their own agenda.

    But hey, all this talk of classifications might prompt the govt to look at video game ratings in the near future. One can hope...
    mitsuhashi
  • "It's rather difficult for the Aust govt to shut down websites hosted and owned by international parties."

    Never heard of Interpol? Kiddie porn is illegal everywhere.
    anonymous
  • How do you do that if the site is located outside of your legal jurisdiction? Think about it!
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • Once again: How do you do that if the site is located outside of your legal jurisdiction?

    Child pornography is already illegal. The first step is to police it under the laws we have before we assuming the magic internet police can make it go away.
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • The Australian Federal Police already operate under domestic law. The Howard Government promised an increase to their funding just before the last election - a funding increase which was REDUCED by the new Labor Government, and still hasn't been paid anyway.

    Internationally, we have Interpol, and the Virtual Global Taskforce.

    Then there's this: http://cyberlaw.org.uk/2009/05/29/germany-delete-don’t-block-it-works-unpolitikde/
    anonymous
  • Have you realised not everything RC is kiddie porn? Have you realised laws already exist to deal with kiddie porn?

    So why do we still have kiddie porn, and how will the internet filter make that go away?

    The more significant concern is that the 'kiddie porn' excuse is being used as a means to introduce an non-transparent government mandated and controlled censorship regime.

    What is non-RC today could become tomorrows RC, and you have no ability to question or appeal what the government doesn't want you to see.
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • I already know that RC is not illegal.
    I already know that none of this has ever been about child pornography.

    "The more significant concern is that the 'kiddie porn' excuse is being used as a means to introduce an non-transparent government mandated and controlled censorship regime."

    That is exactly why I am trying to help people understand that from the point of view of this "filter", child pornography is a furphy.

    That child pornography cannot be stopped by this "filter" (because it doesn't exist on the web for long enough to be blacklisted), and that even if it could there are better ways of dealing with it - that is, the existing laws that you and I are both talking about.
    anonymous
  • It's useless with networks like Tor (torproject.org) and Freenet (freenetproject.org). These cannot be blocked or monitored (currently) and will simply evolve if a vulnerability is found.

    It's just an excuse to grab power so they can come down on people sharing music and movies. If you want to fight back. Install Full Disk Encryption like TrueCrypt (which is open source) and setup a Freenet node.
    joshua850
  • I think we all agree that Conboy's censorship program will be a dismal failure and cost taxpayers like you and I a lot of money.
    Scott W-ef9ad
  • You cannot close down sites operated in countries where the laws on KP are extremely lax, and you can pick up a six-year-old in the street. How do we close down sites in these countries?

    As far as indemnifying a police employee from charges for searching and verifying this "blacklist", will we also get an indemnified civillian committee enitled to the same rights in order to ensure that the blacklist ONLY contains KP sites and not political dissent?

    What about a ligitimate u.s. site that I regularly visit which had been hacked and was redirecting everyone to a bestiality forum? Thousands of keyboards had to be replaced because of how much barf had been hurled on them.

    With private encryption, the filter is doomed to fail.
    Treknology