Optus joins government filter trial

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Optus, the second largest ISP in Australia, has been accepted to be part of the Australian Government’s filtering trial after being previously excluded on the announcement, being the only one out of the top three carriers that have been accepted.

Optus, along with iiNet, were denied to be participants of the trial. iiNet has since withdrew its application to participate on the filter.

“Optus is an active participant in the cyber-safety space, with a range of initiatives to help Australian families enjoy a safer internet experience,” Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy said in a press release. “The participation of Optus will help ensure the Government obtains robust results from the pilot, which will inform the evidence-based development of our ISP filtering policy.”

Optus will join Primus, Highway 1, TECH 2U, Webshield, Netforce, OMNIconnect and Nelson Bay Online as participants of the trial. According to the press release, it is also working with Telstra on testing the technical aspects of the technologies used in the filter, however, Telstra is not a participant.

Optus has said that it will be only using the current ACMA blacklist, and not the expanded blacklist that the filter will be using.

“Willingness to participate in the trial does not necessarily indicate support of mandatory filtering,” Optus said in its FAQs section about the ISP filtering trial. “Optus wants its customers to have a safe experience on the internet and considers cyber-safety an important issue for all internet users.”

“Optus would rather be a ‘part of the conversation’ than not be involved if the Govt decided to mandate filtering.”

Customers using its DSL Direct products in the greater Sydney and Newcastle areas have been announced as the places where Optus will be conducting the trial; and those who are using cable, dial-up, wireless broadband, using a DSL service that is resold by a third-party, and business customers will not be affected.

The trial is expected to begin at the end of May, and will be held for six weeks. Optus will, however, be contacting customers within the next 30 days via e-mail (using your primary Optus email address) asking them if they will be opting out of the trial. MAKE SURE YOU SAY THAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO PARTICIPATE!

The Australian Government plans to implement such a filter has been getting negative comments from ISPs and other tech professionals from Australia, along other negative comments around the world. Also, the “blacklist” was leaked on Wikileaks, a website known for leaking information – especially from governments and private enterprises.

Image from: angusf/Flickr (CC)