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Oz cans porn filtering trial

ISPs shoot the Internet Sheriff

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A proposed net content filtering trial which was supposed to begin protecting Tasmanian surfers from smut last year was canned after ISPs Telstra and Optus refused to play ball, The Australian reports.

The main tech supplier for the government-championed pornbusting operation, Internet Sherrif, intended to demonstrate "if it was feasible for ISPs to take steps to stop pornographic and offensive internet content reaching their customers". However, the company's chief exec David Ramsey described the project as "commercially risky" without providers' backing.

He explained: "Without having them involved to supply the bandwidth at no cost it would have been quite expensive with no guarantee of any outcome for me. To go and spend upwards of $600,000, I needed some sort of idea what would have happened if this was successful and no one could really give us any assurance as to what the next steps may or may not have been."

Tasmanian Liberal senator Guy Barnett, a "strong champion" of the trial, admitted he was "disappointed" at the cancellation.

It's not all bad news for Oz's moral guardians, though. Communications minister Helen Coonan has ordered Australia's comms regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), to "conduct a new ISP-level internet content filtering trial and report its findings to the Government by June next year".

Whether said trial will be conducted in a "live commercial environment" is unclear. ACMA spokesman Donald Robertson said yesterday that technicians involved in the operation "could not be contacted for comment". ®

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