Calls for Conroy to release Internet censorship trial results

Opposition spokesperson, Nick Minchin, says the results of the Government's mandatory Internet censorship trial are overdue and has renewed calls for the Government to scrap its plans

Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy

Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy

Opposition spokesperson Nick Minchin has bought the Government’s proposed Internet content filtering scheme back to the political forefront, criticising the Government over its lack of transparency regarding the trials.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy originally scheduled results of the Internet filtering trial to be released earlier this year. Minchin says the results are overdue and has renewed calls for the Government to scrap its plans and return to the coalition’s Netalert program.

“Almost two years after coming to office with a plan to censor the Internet, Senator Conroy has not even managed to release results for long overdue filtering trials,” he said.

The Government’s plan for content filtering will require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to offer a clean feed Internet service to all homes, schools and public Internet access points.

Under the proposed scheme, there will be one blacklist blocking access to illegal material like child pornography; and another blocking a list of material deemed unsuitable for children.

Minchin told ABC Radio he doubts the controversial scheme will ever go ahead and accused the Government of wasting missions of dollars.

"All [Conroy has] done is cancel the Coalition's Netalert program, put nothing in its place [and is] wasting time, money and effort on his attempts to censor the internet."

Minchin accused the trial of being unable to produce meaningful results, given that most ISPs participating in the trial are small in size.

Telstra, the nation’s largest ISP, refused to participate in the trial, but has offered the results of an internal ISP filtering trial for consideration.

“It is time for Senator Conroy to end this farce and produce his long overdue trial results for independent assessment,” he said.

The Government’s plans to censor the Internet have endured widespread criticism from industries across Australia and the world since they were announced last year.

Security experts have argued that blacklists are the wrong approach to Internet filtering.

Scholars from the world’s top universities have called the plan frightening, while others have pointed out that young people will be able to quickly spread circumvention methods across social networks.

More recently, Children’s rights group, Save the Children, appealed to the Government to drop its plans saying the scheme does not effectively teach children how to protect themselves from online danger.

The scheme has also been criticised by the Web security industry.

"If the Government is going to run the filter, it has to proactively look at internet sites for malware and provide a very high level of service," Websense president, John McCormack, told Computerworld.

"It's a futile attempt - unless you have an active content understanding of the system, it's not practical to filter at that volume. I think they would do better by focussing on other issues.

"I'd encourage them to talk to industry experts to understanding the realities of making that sort of system work."

Conroy’s office has confirmed the trial is expected to be completed this month with a report to be provided to the Minister following its conclusion.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ISP filter trialsinternet content filteringStephen Conroymandatory internet fiteringnick minchingovernment

More about ABC NetworksABC NetworksTelstra CorporationWebsense

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Kathryn Edwards

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts