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First Australian ISPs launch Interpol internet filter

CyberOne, Telstra lock the gates

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While debate rages over Telstra and Optus announcing their filtering plans, CyberOne in Canberra has jumped the industry. On Friday, it started filtering its TransACT-connected clients against the Interpol blacklist.

A voluntary industry code of practice for ISPs in Australia aims to disrupt the activities of child pornographers and will rely on a blocklist compiled and supplied by Interpol, in cooperation with the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

CyberOne founder Maciej Mikrut said the company was “very happy that we can do something to disrupt the activities of child pornographers and we believe that the enormous amount of work that Interpol has put into creating this very accurate worst-of-the-worst filter list is a great step forward.”

ContentKeeper Technologies, an Australian filtering specialist, has worked with Interpol since last year to launch the filter into the country.

Unlike other filtering proposals, the Interpol approach addresses filtering at the domain level. The aim is to keep ISPs active in the self regulation of their own clients. “There is a big incentive to big hosting providers to keep them honest and to get that stuff off their hosting site,” ContentKeeper CTO Mark Riley told The Register.

“We have been pretty vocal in opposition to mandatory filtering. At a political level we don’t think it’s a good idea due to things like bracket creep and external influence on what would be put on the list from special interest groups. But voluntary filtering makes the whole thing more attractive and turns it into something that is beyond corruption in terms of political interest.”

ContentKeeper has created a package for ISPs internationally who want to join the voluntary filtering initiative. ContentKeeper provides the appliance hardware which implements the Interpol database and also supplies the required Interpol block page. ISPs can then activate the full range of filtering facilities at any time on a subscription-based model.

Last Monday the Internet Industry Association revealed details of the framework behind the code relating to child abuse materials.

"We anticipate that we will have ISPs representing between 80-90 per cent of the Australian user base complying with the scheme this year," said IIA's chief executive Peter Coroneos.

"We have considered the alternatives and have come to the view that a voluntary industry code by which ISPs agree to block child pornography sites once notified by the police is the best way forward. This move will bring Australia into alignment with Scandinavia and Europe.”

Telstra also reported to have activated its filter over the weekend, according to this report. ®

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