The Federal Government’s mandatory internet filtering trials, which were scheduled to begin on Christmas Eve 2008, are now set to go ahead.
Telstra, Optus, and Iinet, Australia’s three biggest ISPs, are not involved. Half of the ISPs that are involved focus on business custom, not home internet.
The federal Government’s controversial live ISP filtering trial will finally kick-off with six internet service providers chosen to participate. Primus Telecommunications, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1 have been selected.
The live tests will last for a minimum of six weeks and the ISPs’ customers have the option of taking part in the trial.
The pilot aims to investigate the efficiency and effectiveness of a mandatory internet filtering scheme — a key election pledge by Labor.
It will test against a blacklist of 1370 illegal web pages, including 674 pages containing child sexual abuse content. The list is managed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
ISPs have the option of testing against 10,000 web pages but this excludes actual customers.
So far, the only positive commentary I’ve seen from inside the IT industry is from the vendors of filtering technology. Everyone else who actually knows what they’re talking about opposes the plan.
Consultation? What consultation?
Mark Newton notes the scope creep in a post at the Whirlpool forums:
From page 5 of “Labor’s Plan for Cyber Safety“:
A Rudd Labor Government will require ISPs to offer a ‘clean feed’ internet service to all homes, schools and public internet points accessible by children, such as public libraries.
Putting aside for one moment the fact that “offer” is not the same as “supply”, note the exclusion of business services.
Then note the focus of the ISPs in Conroy’s press release:
* Highway 1: SOHO and business services, no residential [information here ~L]
* OMNIconnect: Small business, Medium to large enterprise. They don’t even list ADSL prices on their website, they claim they’re “business grade” and you need to “Call for Details and Pricing”.
If the Government is scope-creeping its plan to include business, I think it has some explaining to do.