Up to 70 per cent of Australians will have filtered Internet access under a deal between Telstra, Optus, iPrimus and the Federal Government, Communications Minster Stephen Conroy said today.
Under the deal, the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will impose web content filtering for their customers and in turn the Federal Government will postpone its national mandatory Internet content filtering scheme for a year.
The Federal Attorney-General‘s office will also review the filter blacklist - or refused classification content - to be administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
It is understood the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will use the Internet filtering technology they employed during the scheme trial earlier this year.
Six of the nine ISPs that took part in the trial used M86 Security 8e6 R3000 Internet Filtering product. However, each of the ISPs configured the product independently.
The Internet content filter service to be put in place by Telstra, Optus and iPrimus will block only child pornography within their networks.
Optus director of corporate affairs, Maha Khrishnapillai, said it welcomed the development but noted it will not dramatically change the operations of ISPs.
“We are welcoming the minister’s review of restricted content and [the filtering development],” Khrishnapillai said.
“It is essentially status-quo, the way it is today. We have always worked with law enforcement in blocking criminal activity [but] the filter allows us to block access to criminal sites hosted overseas.
“We don’t want to make the decision of what is classified as Restricted Content. We have asked for a clear, well-understood process about what gets into the blacklist.”
It is understood that Optus will use Cisco hardware and filtering services used by ISPs in the US and the UK.
Conroy said the blacklist review is geared to bolster confidence in the public to the Internet content filter.
“The public needs to have confidence that the URLs on the list, and the process by which they get there, is independent, rigorous, free from interference or influence and enables content and site owners access to appropriate review mechanisms,” Conroy said.
The government will introduce an annual review of the blacklist content will be conducted by an independent auditor, channels for appeal of classification decisions, and that content identified on the basis of a public complaint be classified by the Classification Board under the National Classification Scheme.