Well, this is interesting. Despite the fact that iiNet wasn't selected to be one of the trial ISPs to give the government's filter technology a thorough going over (perhaps the fact they were only doing it to prove it couldn't work hurt their chances), it looks like they were still talking with the Government to get on board. Until yesterday, that is, when they decided to pull the plug.Reading through their press release, it's amazing at just how clear and concise they express both their opinion on the filter and criticise the Government's handling of the whole affair. Have a read for yourself:
iiNet Withdraws from Federal Internet Filtering Trial
23 March 2009 - iiNet, Australia's third largest Internet Service Provider, has advised the Federal Government that it is withdrawing from the proposed internet filtering trial.
iiNet's Managing Director, Michael Malone, says they only agreed to participate in the trial to demonstrate that the policy was fundamentally flawed, a waste of taxpayers' money and would not work.
Mr Malone said after drawn-out negotiations with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE), it was clear that an agreement could not be reached.
He cites constant changes in the policy, confused explanations of the purpose of the trial and recent revelations regarding the "blacklist" as clear indications that the trial is unnecessary.
"We are not able to reconcile participation in the trial with our corporate social responsibility, our customer service objectives and our public position on censorship," says Mr. Malone.
"It became increasingly clear that the trial was not simply about restricting child pornography or other such illegal material, but a much wider range of issues including what the Government simply describes as "unwanted material" without an explanation of what that includes.
"Everyone is repulsed by, and opposed to, child pornography but this trial and policy is not the solution or even about that.
"In reality, the vast majority of online child pornography activity does not appear on public websites but is distributed over peer-to-peer networks which are not and cannot be captured by this trial or policy."
Mr Malone said the Government should re-think its approach and urgently needs to make clear what its intentions are in respect of internet censorship, this lack of communication from government and bureaucracy is rightly seen as underhand and unsavory and is now attracting international dismay as well as Australian disgust.
Sadly, the truth looks like Senator Conroy and his fellow politicians are so blinded by their tagline "Keep kids safe" that they refuse to follow logic, reason, or common sense. It's a scary, scary thought.