Kool Aid drinkers press on with filtering trials

iTnews reports that filtering trials with six small ISPs are continuing. This comes despite news last week that anti-gambling Senator, Nick Xenophon, withdrew support for the filter, leaving the ALP and Stephen Conroy without the numbers to pass the legislation if required.

Xenophon has made a name out of being particularly spineless, prompting Anthony Pillion of Webshield (one of the companies participating in the trial) to state

Until such time as the Government puts legislation before the parliament, discussion on who goes which way is pure speculation.

He may have a point, particularly when it comes to Xenophon.

Missing from the trials are any of the big three Australian ISPs: Telstra, Optus, and iiNet. Interestingly, iiNet and Optus were seeking to participate so they could bring to the forefront the problems with the filter. They remain conspicuously absent from the trials, while six quite small ISPs who mainly serve business customers are participating. I guess Conroy prefers to deal with companies with names like “Webshield”. At least they know how to talk his talk.

iPrimus and OMNIconnect chose not to talk to iTnews. They probably realise they made a big enough mistake by participating in the first place and that there’s little point in further damaging their companies’ reputations by towing Conroy’s line in the press.

With such small companies participating, and such an unrepresentative cross section of Australian Internet users using those companies’ services, this filtering trial promises to be an absolute shambles. Andrew Robson of TECH 2U, one of the other companies participating in the trial, said

There’s so many “ifs” we’re wasting our time talking about it.

Taken nicely out of context, I agree.

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