Child porn filter coming mid-2011

But one committed ISP, Primus Telecom, remains uncertain on its implementation

Telstra and Optus will impose a filter on child pornography and abuse websites for all internet subscribers from halfway through 2011.

Primus Telecom, however, remains non-committal to its implementation.

The filter will apply to the 450 child abuse websites identified by the Classification Board in a list maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The filter will not apply to all refused classification (RC) material, as originally intended under the Labor party’s filter proposal.

The three service providers were identified by communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, as “voluntarily” implementing the child porn filter ahead of a review of the refused classification category by the Classification Board. However, under both Telstra’s and Optus’ plans, users won’t get a say as to whether the filter will be applied to them, nor will there be an opt-in or opt-out exclusion to it, according to spokespeople for the telcos.

Like Labor’s proposal, however, the filter will only block offending material travelling over standard web protocols such as HTTP. Other traffic from FTP sites, email as well as peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent will not be stopped.

“We have always worked with law enforcement in blocking criminal activity [but] the filter allows us to block access to criminal sites hosted overseas,” Optus director of corporate affairs, Maha Khrishnapillai, said at the announcement of the RC review.

The new filter, which is expected to cover approximately 70 per cent of Australian internet users,  will operate on similar terms as service providers implemented during the Government’s filter trial, including the use of M86 Security 8e6 R3000 filtering services. Optus is believed to use Cisco hardware and services to implement its filtering solution.

Though involved in the filter initially for a limited subset of customers, Optus indicated that it would take roughly 12 months from Conroy’s announcement to switch the filter on again for the total subscriber base.

Primus Telecom chief executive, Ravi Bhatia, told Computerworld Australia that the ISP had no plans as yet to implement the filter, and remained non-committal to the filter as a whole.

“Honestly, I haven’t even thought about it,” he said. “All I can say, all of us are obliged to obey the laws of the country, but before the laws are properly formulated we would have to have a vigorous discussion.

“If it does happen, if there’s law, everybody has to do it. If there’s no law, we have to listen to what our customers say. We are a customer-driven organisation at the end of the day.”

Bhatia said the company would look to canvas customer opinion regarding the filter through an online forum, but could not say which direction the filter would head under a Primus scheme.

If re-elected, the Labor party will put forward legislation for the filter once the results of the Classification Board’s review are submitted. Computerworld Australia approached the Classification Board for timing of the review’s release, but did not receive a response at time of writing.

As part of new transparency measures Conroy announced last month, the Classification Board would continue to review the refused classification category on an annual basis.

However, it is expected the legislation will not pass Parliament, with both the Greens and Liberal party pledging to block it.

“This is a debate that will get reopened I’m sure after the election,” Bhatia said. “And post-election what you will find is the debate will be much more rational, even under a Labor win, because the heat of the election has gone out of it.

“We can sit back, take a deep breath and think about it.”

Tags isp-level internet content filteringSenator Stephen Conroy

More about Cisco Systems AustraliaOptusPrimus AustraliaTelstra Corporation




Good news for TPG and the other non participating ISPs who will now offer faster broadband without the filter. Telstra shareholders may oppose this.



Well it's a great way to attract customers under the pretense that the customer is being somehow protected from child porn.

It's a great to log what customers are accessing, legal or not legal.

It's also a great way to lose customers ( I mean customers that do things legally, but don't want their actions monitored).

D Newman


A false sense of security is in my book more harmfull than no sercurity, because at least then you have a sense of risk.



So, if Optus and Telstra have possession of child porn websites (the list)...why are they not passing this onto the AFP cyber crimes unit..??

Could someone answer that for me..??



Ravi of Primus says “Honestly, I haven’t even thought about it,” he said. “All I can say, all of us are obliged to obey the laws of the country, but before the laws are properly formulated we would have to have a vigorous discussion.

So, Ravi, you expect us to believe that although the fIlter has been pubically debated for 3 yrs, you haven't thought about it..??..not once..??

How stupid does he think we are..?

Hutchinson James



As stated in the article, the websites are not in the possession of Optus or Telstra. They have been identified by the Classification Board and are on a list maintained by ACMA. They are most likely hosted overseas, lessening the AFP's ability to act against them.

Ben Sand


Telstra and Optus, you are despicable. Only the paedophiles will gain from this:



"As stated in the article, the websites are not in the possession of Optus or Telstra. They have been identified by the Classification Board and are on a list maintained by ACMA."

The question still stands...Why have they not been taken down? Name one country where child porn is legal to host.

The obvious answer is... It's not real child porn. It's Australia's stupid law of "child depiction". That is, anyone who looks like a child...20 yr olds dress in a school uniform, small breasted women etc is deemed a "child".

Does anyone believe for one second that these sites can't be removed..?



So basically join BP, Optus or Primus and we will treat you like a criminal and have your connection filtered.

I bet law abiding users must be thrilled about this.

Akira Doe


@ L.

It's either the URLs don't contain any actual children and could even be legal mainstream pornography containing only consenting certified adults, or if the material is genuine child abuse there could have been pressure applied to the ACMA to not actively pursue the take down of the material to strengthen the case for Filtering or it has been forwarded to the AFP but they are so under funded that they can't deal with a simple list of ~450 urls.

Either way, poor form, very poor form.

However as you said, the most plausible reason is that the material doesn't contain any children and is perfectly legal everywhere that pornography is so there is no incentive for hosting providers to take down the material.

I'd love to know the truth, but with 90% censored documents or outright refusals to publish FOI requests we'll never know. It's not like the Minister is a beacon of truth...

What a situation we find ourselves in...



so Telstra and Optus are going to filter 450 CP websites that most likely don't even exist now. What a complete waste of time.

D Newman


The biggest country for child porn release is still Russia, and no end of other violent based porn sites, they also run a vast empire of scam/porn and black market sites through their crime gangs based in Tenerife, West Coast Africa, and all those small countries that were once part of the USSR.

Money should be poured into interpol who have been fighting this true menace for decades, they have had a good measure of success.

Well I say success in that they forced alot of the child porn large scale operations underground to P2P invite only sites, through fear of Interpol raids, and thus the small scale operations followed.
Only time you see that junk is when some whacked out hacker muppet, gets and invite and then starts a viral campaign of trying to post on facebook and Disney sites, with material he stole from the P2P crime networks, thus getting interpol and Russian mafia after you, cant get dumber than that.

I strongly believe that an international approach is needed to combat this scourge, closing your curtains and sticking government fingers in the Australian public eyes and ears on the world does nothing to rescue the victims of these sick buggers, or make people aware of the massive short falls in certain types of crime prevention in certain countries.

Give the filter cost money to Interpol, it will do vastly more good, and in real terms help children than this half baked, LALALA land filter plan.

The sites of girls who look like children are official listed pornsites in Amercia, they are legal in the US they comply with the codes of practise laws they have in place to govern that industry, so no Australias little old 22 million population and government is not going to budge those sites that make the US billions per year, good luck with that.

But they already come under the Australian classification laws, which on the whole arnt bad, just the odd weird one that gets all the attention, and makes them look stupid.

I disagree with those sites that are made to look like children, but the more worrying aspect is the porn industry is a free market, and supply and demand rules the game, I would be more concerned that there is a multi million dollar industry based on people wanting to see someone look vaguly like a schoolgirl, and you better take a long hard look at Japan for your biggest clue, on market drivers.



Take your business elsewhere, and if you can't, push it through a VPN. These companies are on-board with the ALP and will do what they say without any recourse to democratic process - which, as disappointing as it is, is hardly a surprise. Three guesses what their next imposition on your rights will be.



So now it's 450 CP sites that ACMA havrn't done anything about. Here's a thought that just may protect the children, REPORT THEM TO THE AFP.
If as an average person, I can contact oversea's ISP's and get scam sites pulled down in under 24 hours, just imagine how fast the AFP could get a CP site taken down.
Make no mistake, this whole filter idea is a total con, the class move of being seen to do something, an ignore any facts which show it does more harm then good.



There is already proof that CP sites can be removed easily.

Someone has already prooved it, i cant find the website at the moment.

Blocking 400 sites that could be removed because they contain ILLEGAL CONTENT, rather than blocking it sounds far more sound to me.

To bad fools in power have no idea and are using this as a movement towards mandatory filtering of anything lobby groups want.



So Telstra and Optus WILL IMPOSE a filter.


I hope they have deep pockets, because they cannot IMPOSE anything that is in contravention of the TIA.

I smell class action legal remedy against both these corporate entities and the fiduciary responsible persons corrupt enough to think that they can trade our basic freedoms for political & economic advantage.

No way in the hell that is OZ these days will I & others succumb to the WARRANT-LESS WIRETAPPING these politburo want to sneak in for their own benefit.

The stupid goons in charge of these networks and the stupid goons in the ALP and ACL (among others) should know that their days are numbered.



The legal discussion forum 'BoyChat' was on a leaked list of blocked websites, despite the fact that the forum has heavily enforced rules against illegal material.

ACMA shouldn't be trusted to only block illegal websites.



It's only 450 sites now, but wait for a few months and the number may have increased 450 fold.

Do they still block dentists?



Actually Telstra and Optus would be in breach of the Telecommunications interception act
Basically it says you cant intercept or store any data unless its necessary in the provisioning of the service (eg its ok to do it for diagnostics) Filtering is outside of that. they only way they could do it legally (unless conroy gets his way) is to make it an opt in filter. in other words you need to give them permission to turn the filter on to your line.
if you signed up for a "filtered service" then that would be giving permission. but if you didn't then they are not allowed to do it.



Please hold off on the Class actions until after I reverse engineer and (anonymously) publish the blacklist using this Oracle attack:

Should only take a couple of days max =)

Alan Lawrence


Repressive, abusive governments from nazi Germany to Modern China have embraced strict censorship wholeheartedly, using various lame excuses to invade our privacy and limit our freedom.

We do not need big brother watching our every move, our every mouse click. We already have CCTV cameras recording our movements in public, sending us postal fines for traffic offenses we can't even remember committing.

Now our fearless leaders want another big brother in our living rooms, recording what we post and view in private.

Why not instal cute spy cameras in our bedrooms and Introduce thought crime legislation while their at it.

Shades of 1984... and this old boy does not like it one bit.



@21 Alan, you are right to link the two threats to our Net freedom that are being kite-flown by the present govt.

The combination of McClelland's mandatory ISP data retention and Conboy's imposition of secret government censorship is a woeful comment on the attitude to the public shown by the Gillard cabinet.

For reasons that can only be guessed at, but may be based on cynical political opportunism, they seem to be acting like a bunch of stupid redneck yankee televangelists.

Alan Lawrence


Actually, I make no distinction between nazi red neck and communist style governments, they're two sides of the same tarnished coin in my book... Totalitarian repression is totalitarian repression, of whatever political colour.

Freedom, to this old boy, is what we had before CCTV cameras took over our streets, before the government data bases that record everything about me, mine and everybody else. I do not like the idea of some government goon spying on me or my, so called, 'personal' computer.

Why do we put up with this big brother spying, are we that weak?that pathetic? that moronic?

Censorship is all about repressive government goons saying: We want you to see this, we want you to read that. We don't want you to see this, we don't want you to read that.

Because I watch the, 'sopranos' and enjoy the gang land scenes. Does than mean I'm a dangerous gangster? Does it mean I want to whack my boss and take over his territory?

Censorship is an insult to even the meanest intelligence. Get rid of it, and all the people who support it.

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TPG presence won't stop NBN Co installing FTTB equipment