Update: Conroy delays Internet filter till next year

Controversial filter plans pushed back until after refused classification review, but Telstra, Optus and Primus customers will get filtered

The Federal Government’s mandatory Internet filtering plans have been pushed back to next year, but several ISPs have volunteered to filter their customer's Internet in accordance with an ACMA-controlled list.

At an event in Melbourne, Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, announced the controversial ISP-level filter will be put on the backburner until a refused classification (RC) review is finished in a year's time, according to Bernard Keane's Twitter feed. The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) will meet to discuss the RC review on July 22.

The interim plan for large ISPs is for them to put a voluntary blacklist filter in place, according to the feed. The Department of Broadband Communications and Digital Economy (DBCDE) said Telstra, Optus and iPrimus has agreed to voluntarily block child abuse URLs.

It is confirmed the Classification Board will take the reins in website complaints management, not the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA). This is consistent with the recommendations made in the Internet filter public consultation report.

Website owners will be notified by ACMA before their website is blocked. Users attempting to access a blocked site will be presented with a notice by ACMA.

The first three ISPs on board are Telstra, Optus and Primus. According to a Telstra spokesperson, customers will not be able to choose whether or not they are filtered.

“It’s [voluntary] for the industry, the industry will have to do it and it won’t be an individual customer choice,” the spokesperson said.

“If ACMA wants something blocked they will basically instruct or request the industry stop people from accessing that site…the Government through ACMA will determine which sites are inappropriate and at that point those sites will be blocked.

“Obviously we’re talking months at the moment so it’s not going to happen overnight.”

According to Primus General Counsel Legal Officer, John Horan, other ISPs will be joining the filtering program in due course.

“The industry is going o work together to develop the solution…I’ve heard of other ISPs that will be working on this. They haven’t revealed themselves, but I’m sure they will,” he said. “It’s not really seen as filtering when it’s child abuse or child pornography.

“It’s going to require some software and hardware upgrades and it could need significant expenditure…It’s not going to be something that happens overnight.

iiNet is not currently involved in the voluntary filter but has not ruled out signing up.

An iiNet spokesperson said the ISP has yet to make a decision on the issue as it has not been clued in on the finer details of the plans.

“We haven’t seen details of what [the Federal Government is] doing today in terms of practicalities, technicalities and how it actually works,” the spokesperson said.

The move contradicts the Minister's statement made days ago that the filtering legislation would be introduced by November at the latest.

According to the Senator Conroy, the Internet clean-feed will only block RC content which includes overtly violent material, child pornography and content involving bestiality.

More to follow.

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sorry, RC still contains legal material..

If the censorship <MUST (stupidly) go ahead, it MUST be only ILLEGAL materials.

this grey area of RC needs to be removed immediatly.



I really wish the media would stop using such a limited description of RC content - it doesn't just contain "overtly violent material, child pornography and content involving bestiality", but rather a whole range of stuff what is entirely legal to own and view in this country.

Perhaps if the government decided to spend more time fighting child abuse and pedophilia rather than trying (and failing abysmally) to hide it behind an expensive sham project then they'd actually achieve something worthwhile.



Still not good enough. Any filtering, even voluntary opt-in, must only include material that is specifically ILLEGAL.



RH is right. Refused classification is to broad it includes things like body piercing - legal to do, legal to watch in person, legal to photograph and legal to publish in print. But the same still images in a print publication would be prohibited internet content.

David Campbell


Still not good enough, they need to scrap the filter and fire conroy :D



Filtering The Internet is Censorship. It's A Really Bad Thing when China does it, and it's A really Bad Thing when Australia promises to do it.

The fact that it will *encourage* child-abuse and child-pornography by sweeping the problems under the carpet -> "lalala I can't see it therefore it doesn't happen" makes is DOUBLY EVIL.

The fact that the MILLIONS spent on FILTERING the internet *could* have spent on the Federal Police anti-paedophilia/anti-child-pornography units makes this policy a VICIOUS AND UNCONSCIONABLE CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY



While Labor race the Liberals to the right, I'm left looking at an interesting Greens party. What's happened here? They have become economically sensible.

They will get my vote - and Labor will NOT get my preferences.



Hopefully this means we're a step closer to ABOLISHING this mandatory filter.

Don't get me wrong, I believe the "overtly violent material, child pornography and content involving bestiality" doesn't have a place on the internet, or anywhere for that matter.

I would be quite happy if the internet filter was limited to that, but secretively, I don't think that's the case...



Wow, did some people just go ahead and post their standard comment without actually reading the article?

This entire announcement basically amounts to the government admitting that the scope of the filter is far too broad and that blocking access to all RC content is wrong.

Telstra, Optus and Primus have agreed to block CHILD ABUSE URLs - nothing else, unless this article is incorrect.



"the Internet clean-feed will only block RC content which includes overtly violent material"

Oh noes! The future looks bad for UFC!

John P


RC includes overtly violent material, beastiality and child porn? Rubbish. If you read all the data that has been publicly released on RC content, it so far encapsulates: detailed instruction in crime, violence and drug use; the advocation or doing of a terrorist act; suicide; euthenasia; underage sexual content; beastiality and rape. So basically, with a scope this broad, anything online can be filtered. That is the whole point of the RC label that is being drafted. It is much like counter - terrorism legislations in that the Labor government want to be able to use the filter and terrorism to crack down on anything they like through the ambiguity of broad definitions. If someone was to say on a website: "the Iraqi people should be able to defend themselves against an illegal occupation," is that a terrorist, political or violent statement? Is it all of them? Is it a crime?



Most of this is because the holy rollers needed to show they are fighting against child porn and abuse but in actual fact it just to cover their inability to act on and against real abuse within the church and the system. let alone the child bride allowed though the Islamic cult around the world or the bestiality allowed in these countries it is a joke smoke and mirrors, don't make these monsters go to ground or hide the fact, track them down get more police in seats set ups for the p2p's and the chat rooms have links for people to drop suspect sites into so they can be investigated. Any censorship just allows avenues for people to abuse and hide it because anyone whistle blowing can't get the word out and we all know the government condemns whistle blowers they even made laws against it we may call Australia civil but there is a healthy corruption within the ranks and the only way to stop it is to be open honest and to educate people on the dangers not hide them let’s face it what moron would think the net is safe with any filter? The ones that believe in the tooth fairy or god same thing get a life the only monsters in this world are all inhuman humans. I asked the holy rollers that door knock what they thought of the child abuse in the church they said it had nothing to do with them? No outraged because people used a position of trust and power in their faith no petition to have these scum brought to justice just nothing to do with them well let me tell you it is the responsibility of every respectable person to see these people are not kept in positions of care and trust that do these things and to see a light shone so bright the cockroaches have no place to hide!

John P


"The filter is being delayed for 12 months?" I am wondering whether the facts are accurate here? Conroy has said from the start that the filter will officially go ahead twelve months from when an RC definition is constructed. It says that the a meeting is planned for July 22 (I assume this year?) on the RC concept. I presume if there is agreement, the filter could go ahead as of July 22, 2011 - 12 months following the discussion? Why have the other media articles discussed this so-called 12 month delay?



Mandatory sentencing and good long terms not holidays and brief stays start putting teeth back into the law instead of making it a joke, do it to my child and I would be the one doing the time! We need tent prisons in the outback with hard labour not TV’s air con and comforts they broke the law and need to not want to go back again, or we just perpetuate this cycle of I can do that time dead easy, where they get it better on the inside back with their mates than they do outside and all of us that toe the line pay for it tenfold with crime and then paying for their comfort by the blood sweat and our tears. Make use out of the work force that inhabits our gaols so they might learn to respect life and the other people in it and one day themselves..

Syd Walker


@ Michael

Conroy';s media release says:

"In the meantime, three of Australia’s largest ISPs - Telstra, Optus and Primus - have agreed to voluntarily block at the ISP level, a list of child abuse URLs compiled and maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)."

However, the ACMA list - as we saw last year when it was leaked - is broader than (a very limited subset of) what might be called child pornography. It included a page of pictures of foetuses, for example. Heaven knows what is on it now.

The government's obsession with censorship scares me when it comes to the NBN.

I imagine it will use access to this enormous sum of money to arm-twist the whole industry to fall into line with its censorship schemes. That, I'm sad to say, taints the entire NBN project as far as I'm concerned.

If this announcement had reintroduced the Howard Government's voluntary filter scheme - but not tried to rush through back-door government censorship now via 'voluntary' agreements with ISPs, I would feel able to welcome today's announcement as a step forward.

As it is... I'll read what others think with interest.

the odd byte


Industry experts all agree that this filter will not protect the kids. What the media is not publicizing is that by forcing paedophiles to use circumvention techniques (which Conroy says will be legal) the filter actually does a better job of protecting the paedophiles then it does of protecting our kids! Well done Mr Conroy!!!



Don't believe for one second that internet censorship will go away. This is purely and simply a government clearing the decks for an upcoming election. Don't want anything controversial when we're asking the nice people of Australia to put us back in power do we? The most dishonest and deceitful form of politics there is, hide all our bad policies until after the election.



I might be a bit but if we know the URLs pf the child porn sites to block, isnt just blocking them the same as saying that as long as we cant see you its ok for you to be there.
Looks to me like Conroy is in favor of child porn or by his own bull he'd do something about.
So where do you stand on this Conroy or is it as we all know just more Labour spin



I still won't be voting Labor until this filter is scrapped entirely, rather than delayed.



What a farce.

If my ISP volunteers to start filtering my connection without giving me a choice, I'll be leaving them. I refuse to give up my right to obey the law by not looking at this material AND have a connection unfettered by a censorship system which, when put in place, can be ratcheted up a few notches without my permission (or even notice).

Filter systems are chokepoints. Our 10 Mbit work connection passes through a fairly good Marshal filter and generally you get 4-10 seconds latency on most pages depending on how heavily utilised the internet connection is (ie. the filter is choking the entire connection speed). Unfiltered, access is almost instant... The more high speed connections you pass through it, the more power you need to process quickly (ooh look, 100 Mbit to 90% of the population incoming...). The more power you need, the more expense ISP's absorb, the higher your internet bills get...

Anyone dumb enough to vote for Labor is going to get exactly what they deserve, Conroy claiming he has a mandate. Vote Lib or Greens or Independant and avoid preferencing them. Even if we can't stop them at the election we can structure our senators (our sole voice in policy) to block this madness...



I wonder what would happen if the Privacy Commissioner received thousands of complaints against Conroy for his part in this plan which has not even gone before the Senate!?! (Where's my Interobang key?!?)
Becasue really when you think about it, isn't a mandatory, secret filter the same as what Google was doing and investigated for? Actually worse becasue it is 100% intentional.



"Telstra, Optus and iPrimus has agreed to voluntarily block child abuse URLs"

Exactly who's definition of child abuse URL's are they blocking here? The type that end up on the RC list which can include anything down to fully clothed, child model sites or actual illegal child porn?
If its the real illegal child porn, then you don't filter that you idiots, you report it too the AFP and get it shut down, which will happen way faster then any filter system will end up blocking it.
If on the other hand it's the RC definition, then this just sounds like Conroy's filter is slowly being introduced one step at a time. Especially when Telstra say that while the industry can choose, you'll then get it weather you like it or not.
All in all, this actually sounds like a bad day.



The internet was our last democratic portal...
Death to freedom by a thousand million cuts
Well, better get with the new powerbase and go to church, wear a suit and sport an insipid smile
Conroy=State control by the Church.
Churches are generally good for society, but not mixed with politics, as our government is for ALL Australians.
When am I going to be protected from viruses, phishing, scammers and such. If they filter the net, then they would be liable for any damage the net causes. Never been hurt by Google BTW
We got rid of our Chinese speaking chairman, now lets rid ourselves of his censor. This idiotic filter legitimises China's filter.
Sorry about that America, it was only friendly fire that hurt you
Listen Barney-you lost all credibility today. Get home and watch your little varmits yourself if you don't trust them
Any filter should be set by an independent body, that can appealed to and made to justify its decision. conroyfilt cannot be appealed (is that unconstitutional?) and can only be changed by protests.
Parents, get a geek kid somewhere to set up your router to use openDNS as your DNS server (lost u already eh).
-it's free (ad supported but only suggests sites when a misspell or a 404)
-it has a comprehensive list of check boxes that you can choose to filter and THAT YOU CAN CHOOSE TO CHANGE.
-It's likely to be faster that the DNS server offered by you internet service provider. Your internet service provider wont know your surfing habits as they now do
Make your Google home page https://encrypted.google.com/
This will prevent your Google searches being monitored.
Will the internet filter be set for kids of 15 years 11 months or for 3 years old. If set to a child of say 14, then a 3 year old should not be allowed to see that stuff. oh dear, how confusing
Oh and how about kids who are disabled.
Kids go to school, talk amongst themselves and will learn to bypass the filter of they want to. Done in China all the time
The best defense is the family that cares. Including single parent, same sex or any other caring environment.

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