Don’t get too worried about Optus

Optus has renewed its wish to be included in Conroy’s mandatory filter trial.

My understanding is that Optus and Conroy have always been in “negotiations”, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Conroy now starts trying to push Optus to get in on it. He is in desperate need of a large ISP to add credibility to his trial.

There’s no reason for Optus customers to overreact just yet. What they’re saying still sounds reasonable:

  • Optus is participating in order to accurately gauge the impact this type of technology would have on our network.
  • Willingness to participate in the trial does not necessarily indicate support of mandatory filtering.
  • It’s a trial – and designed to test the effectiveness and impact of such filters on a network environment.
  • 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.

The only problem I can see is in the answer to the last question, “What about other content like adult content and things the government might like to stop people viewing?“. Optus answers:

  • Optus will NOT be filtering this type of content.

As I’ve previously reported, some of the most popular pornographic websites in Australia do appear on the ACMA blacklist. I think Optus customers should be notified that this is the case, as the current answer is very misleading.

Such are the difficulties for a PR department trying to answer questions about a secret blacklist.


8 Responses to “Don’t get too worried about Optus”

  1. 1 lilacsigil March 28, 2009 at 09:40

    My small, rural ISP works via iPrimus, and I asked them about the filter testing – they tell me (in a personal email, not a form letter) that iPrimus’s testing will be entirely opt-in. Which makes the testing pretty much useless. I wait to see if Optus is doing the same.

  2. 2 stephenconroyisacunt March 28, 2009 at 09:58

    As far as I know, all the trials are opt-in. It seems a bit strange. I can’t imagine enough people opting in to offer any useful data on performance degredation or anything else.

  3. 3 weez March 28, 2009 at 19:13

    I’m on Optus in country NSW. I’ll inquire if I can opt in then opt out if it’s onerous.

  4. 4 stephenconroyisacunt March 29, 2009 at 03:15


    The trial will only be held for customers in a specific geographic area. I’m not sure if Optus have announced exactly where that is.

    If you can get any information out of them, please do let us all know.

  5. 5 weez March 29, 2009 at 06:48

    I guess we wait until Optus informs us that we’ll be in their test area. If we are, I will opt-in, do some pings to check delay as well as check the availability of some ‘controversial’ sites through the filter, then opt-out and repeat the tests.

    Thanks for all your great writing. I hope that your chosen blog title doesn’t put off folks from reading your well-considered and sharply written comments.

  6. 6 TerjeP (say tay-a) March 29, 2009 at 08:03

    When will Steve Conroy and Optus trial a universal phone tap on all calls via Optus so we can catch the pedophiles that use telephones. The technology may not be ready but surely they could do a trial. And is Steve working with Australia post to ensure all our postcards and letters are scanned for naughty bits?

    There is an historical reason we call the likes of Optus and Telstra “carriers” why we once bundled Telstra as part of PMG with the postal service. There was once a time when interferring with postal carriers attracted capital punishment. Perhaps we could ask the Queen to sharpen her axe again. 😉

  7. 7 TerjeP (say tay-a) March 29, 2009 at 08:05

    p.s. Monitoring everybodies Internet traffic is a presumption of guilt. We used to presume the opposite.

  8. 8 stephenconroyisacunt March 29, 2009 at 09:07

    I agree entirely, but while I’d prefer if all ISPs were more like iiNet when it comes to opposing the filter, I don’t think Optus customers should start jumping ship en masse because of this. Not yet, anyway.

    Thanks for the comments, Weez.

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