Telstra And Optus' Voluntary Internet Filtering Coming Next Month

Just before the election last year, Stephen Conroy announced that mandatory internet filtering would be placed on the backburner as the country's classifications laws were reviewed. At the same time, he announced that Telstra and Optus were planning on voluntarily censoring child porn websites. That filtering is set to start next month.

As Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson points out for The Daily Telegraph, the filter isn't going to actually do anything to stop those searching for child porn from accessing it. But considering the list is managed by the ACMA and is not publicly available, the voluntary scheme does raise the same concerns about sites being wrongly classified and blocked without any means to correct it for the website owner.

It's a murky, shadowy, grey area that would be better left untouched by censorship methods and better handled with international taskforces and good old fashioned police work.

[The Daily Telegraph]



    Not to mention, it won't block any paedophiles for more than a minute; they'll just switch to torrents or FTP or IRC or TOR or any other non-HTTP protocol, if they haven't already.

      Exactly. And they've probably been doing that all along!

      Ya. Only the dumb child pr0n-goers would just website their pr0n.

      Well they are all dumb tbh but smart pr0n-ers don't just Google "kid pr0n" they would use other ways of getting it, not just saving images from 4chan or whatever.

      knowing the government, the filters will only filter port 80 traffic anyways, pedophiles will probably just end up browsing porn in https instead

    its just gonna slow down my internet which is already rediculously slow. This is pointless.

    Would be good to know who to inform when you do find child porn on the net. I called Crimestoppers a few years ago with details, but as the site was overseas nothing was done.
    When i thought to check a few years later it was still there.
    I hope they can at least flag whoever downloads from those sites at least.

      flaging is almost as pointless unfortunatly. if they did you personally would have been flagged twice already when you found it by mistake.

    i think it blocks the URL, not the protocol used to access it.

    but you are right; If someone really wants something, there is nothing anyone can do to stop them getting it

      They can block URLs in HTTP, but for other protocols, they'd have to block the whole domain through the DNS lookup, or filter all packets to that IP address.

      But that's still not going to stop anyone who doesn't wish to be stopped. Torrents easily work around this by passing the data to other IP addresses, as do proxies, VPNs, IRC, TOR etc etc.

      There is simply no way to filter the net with any effectiveness, not without massive deep-packet inspection on every link at huge financial and performance costs, and even it is still easily defeated by any of a number of combinations of encryption and proxying.

        I have heard that Telstra are deploying DPI accross the network and will kick torrenters off the network.

          Don't think so mate. TelstrA don't offer 200GB plans for giggles. think about it.

    good thing you know what youre talking about.

    They will find ways around it.

    But will this stop my regular-run-of-the-mill porn?

    And Namarrgon's right. This won't stop anything. Would be nice to have people who have any idea about IT in the positions that make decisions about this.

    Voluntary today.... Mandatory....

    Thats it, I've had enough of this government trying to nanny the country. Someone needs to teach them a lesson. I hope people are planning an attack on Stephen Conroy right now. You will pay for this you piece of sh*t.

      Steady on. The internet is important, but is a move by a couple of private ISPs to *voluntarily* filter their customers really worth threats of physical violence (not to mention to the wrong person)?

      You don't like it, go with a different ISP. So long as the government hasn't made it mandatory, you have that option.

        First they came for the communists,
        and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

        Then they came for the trade unionists,
        and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

        Then they came for the Jews,
        and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

        Then they came for me
        and there was no one left to speak out for me

          Hey, I'm not saying you shouldn't complain loudly. Even if it's doomed to be ineffective, it still sucks, and Telstra/Optus need to be made aware of their customers' feelings about this.

          I'm just saying threats of violence probably aren't productive here.

      I agree with you man, it would be nice to track down the bastards who are seeking to take away our freedoms and hang them from a tree, but its not that simple. Besides its all to easy to get around these with proxys, just google: proxy and you’ll see, with the entire population of China needing proxys to access honest news sources its a big market thats not about to go away.

    I thought that all responsible ISPs all over the world already worked to try and filter that sort of content. -and as people already said- the criminals already go through alternative channels that are harder to block... so what's the point here?

    Now, I seriously doubt the money going towards this "filter" will be worth Telstra nor Optus. Maybe (Just maybe) they should invest that into better coverage and A FREAKING EFFECTIVE system for Australia. Ringing someone on a mobile cost a King's ransom and they repackage their deals to "50$ unlimited calls" even though it cost them less then a cent for each connection..

    When will people learn it does no good to try to control something locally. As long as there is even one country willing to look the other way, there is no way to win. The only solution is a globaly supported initiative to solve this or any other world wide problem. There are too many ways around local problems if even one country does the wrong thing.

    I have a internet data allowance with my phone contract, I did not sign up for filtered internet data allowance, is this a breach of contract by Optus if they filter my internet content? Do I have the right to be released from the contract?

    It is the job of the federal police to catch the dirty pedo scumbags who deal in kiddy porn not internet providers to choose what we can and can't access

    What do people make of the voluntary internet censorship in the UK, which blocks the same websites?

    Would rather they just caught the paedophiles. In the unlikely event this filter actually stops a paedophile viewing a child porn website they are just going to head down to the park.

    Would much rather catch them and take them off the streets than conduct poor attempts at prevention like this.

    how is it voluntary when your ISP is the one who gets to make the choice for you? if i notice that im getting locked out of any one of my normal site traffic im going to leave optus and they can suck on their 24 month plan cause i wasnt consulted and didnt sign up for a filtered net.

    Is there a specific page you get if these sites are blocked? Or just a 404 or redirect to a search site?

    All it would take is one false positive for me to crack the shits.

    Lazy, lazy policy.

    Do we have to wait another 20-30 years till we get an actual tech savvy person into parliament.

    The citizens of Australia have repeatedly rejected this policy based on both ethical and technological considerations. Now the Australian government is using backroom deals with private industry to implement it regardless and there's no public oversight of the entities compiling the black lists. No means no, Stephen Conroy.

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