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Opposition to Government Web monitoring grows

Opposition to Government Web monitoring grows

ISPs and political players express dislike of universal web browser monitoring

ISPs and political players have criticised the concept of forcing service providers to track every Australian Web user’s browsing history.

A Telstra spokesperson said the company was aware of the Government’s considerations.

“While Government policy is a matter for the Government, our customers' privacy is a priority for us, and we'll be making that clear,” the spokesperson said.

iiNet’s chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, said while the move was simple to execute it would require lots of storage and money. He claimed the current system worked well.

“Recording the URLs by themselves would not be sufficient. You’d need to record the identity and contact details of the individuals as well,” he said. “[It would need] a change in the legislation to make it possible because I don’t believe it would be legal today.

“I don’t think anybody would be receptive to having their private activity monitored or recorded.”

A director of one ISP, who wished to remain anonymous, said it was concerned by the news and that the infrastructure requirements would be “mind-boggling”.

“I can’t imagine how it would impact on the bigger players like Telstra or Optus. I don’t think a policy like this will ever get there – I hope common sense will prevail,” the director said.

Communications spokesperson for the Australian Greens, Senator Scott Ludlam, said he held grave concerns about the idea and would speak with his colleagues.

“It’s going to need a huge amount of work and it’s tiring that this is the best they can come up with,” he said. “It’s also annoying to find out about this sideways because they’ve been having quiet talks with the industry.

“It doesn’t make a good first impression… it’d be prohibitive if you were having to record everywhere that everybody goes and hang on to it. There’s going to be big costs.”

A spokesperson for Internode confirmed it had held talks with the Government on the issue, but said no further could be provided due to a non-disclosure agreement.


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