Australian News: iiNet pulls out of internet filter trials,25197,25228031-15306,00.html

Mitchell Bingemann | March 23, 2009

IINET has pulled out of the federal Government’s internet filtering trials.
iiNet only agreed to participate in the trial to demonstrate that the filter was flawed and a waste of taxpayers’ money, iiNet managing director Michael Malone said.

Mr Malone cited drawn-out negotiations with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE), constant changes in policy, and last week’s leak of a secret internet blacklist as reasons for pulling out.

“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,” Mr Malone said.

iiNet’s withdrawal from the ISP filter trials is another blow for the controversial project. Last week the federal Government’s plans for the nationwide internet filter were put in jeopardy when its top-secret blacklist of banned web pages was leaked.
The list is currently being used as the backbone of the Government’s internet filter trial of which phase one is being conducted by Primus Telecommunications, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1.

iiNet was not involved in phase one of the trials but had applied to be involved in subsequent phases.

The secret blacklist, which was leaked to the whistle-blower website Wikileaks, is purportedly the same list the Australian Communications and Media Authority distributes to vendors of approved internet filters to ban offensive material — such as child pornography, bestiality and violence.

Senator Conroy plans to use parts of the ACMA blacklist to block Australian internet users from accessing pornographic and violent material.

Clare Swinney

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