Conroy promises filter report in "due course"

A month after admitting to receiving the ISP filtering live trial report, the office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has committed to releasing it in "due course".

A month after admitting to receiving the ISP filtering live trial report, the office of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has committed to releasing it in "due course".

The report, which details real-world trials of ISP filtering technology in Australia, was delivered by Enex Testlabs to the Department of Communications, Broadband and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) in late October. Back then Conroy said the report would be released "shortly". Today, Conroy's office said it would be released in "due course".

"The trial report is under consideration and will be released publicly in due course," Conroy's office told ZDNet.com.au today.

The report should detail the results of live ISP trials which used the Australian Media and Communication Authority-controlled restricted content blacklist of websites that would form the basis of the planned filtering system.

The filtering proposal is a part of the government's $125 million stamp on Australian cyber-safety, which ranges from the appointment of more federal police to security research.

The office of shadow communications minister, Nick Minchin, said the government was too afraid to implement the program due to its unpopularity.

"This was a clear election promise from the Rudd Government to implement a mandatory ISP filtering regime. They have had two years and have not even managed to release the trial results which are months overdue, and it looks very much like it's a policy they do not have the courage to implement because of how deeply unpopular it is," the spokesperson told ZDNet.com.au.

Conroy's office has not issued a date for the release of the report.

Minchin's office added that the lack of a substitute for its NetAlert program had left a security hole. "We are approaching the 12 month anniversary from closure of the Coaltion's Net Alert program, which saw free PC-based filters provided to those families who wanted them. And we're now in a position where Conroy has reduced online safety by cancelling that program, yet not replacing it with any alternative."

Electronic Frontiers Australia spokesperson Geordie Guy said he did not know why the government has insisted on vetting the report before releasing it to the public. "We're curious why it needs to be considered by the department separately to public scrutiny. There's no real argument that would explain why they are not transparent about this."