Optus Joins Internet Filter Trial

The country’s second largest ISP has joined the Internet trial; with conditions

After waiting almost five months, the government has finally given the go-ahead for Optus to join the controversial Internet filtering trial, but with a few conditions attached.

Conditions include that the trial is limited to Optus customers in Sydney and Newcastle; and it is optional for people to join, and it will be limited to filter the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) existing blacklist of prohibited and potentially prohibited content.

“Optus is an active participant in the cyber-safety space, with a range of initiatives to help Australian families enjoy a safer internet experience,” The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy said. “I am pleased to announce its participation in the pilot.The participation of Optus will help ensure the Government obtains robust results from the pilot, which will inform the evidence-based development of our ISP filtering policy.”

The Government is also working the country’s biggest provider Telstra on the technical testing of ISP filtering technologies. These tests do not involve actual customers and therefore are not being conducted as part of the pilot, however it is hoped that the results will feed into the Government’s policy considerations.

The Government is examining the introduction of ISP level filtering for Refused Classification material as identified under the National Classification Scheme and the ACMA complaints process. However, opponents of the scheme say it is intrinsically flawed because it is not precise enough, and in a recent case even filtered out a dentist’s website.