Child abuse content blocking is for 'curious individuals': IIA

IIA chief, Peter Coroneos, said the project is not attempting to address hardened offenders but is taking the first step in reducing the availability of such content online

The voluntary blocking of online child abuse material being implemented by ISPs Telstra and Optus is not attempting to address hardened offenders but instead looking to limit the availability of material to “curious individuals”, according to the Internet Industry Association (IIA).

IIA chief executive, Peter Coroneos, told Computerworld Australia the move to block child pornography sites, based on a blocklist compiled by Interpol, is more about aligning Australia with European countries including Denmark, France, Sweden and Norway, and taking the first step toward reducing the availability of such content online.

“A large part of the thinking is that if we can work with the ISPs to limit the availability of this material on the public internet, which is about as much as we can do it at the moment,” Coroneos said. “It’s a step in the direction of diminishing the exposure of perhaps curious individuals that may not yet be paedophiles that don’t have the resources that hardened offenders do.”

“If you’re part of a hardened paedophile network you’re probably not going to be using the open internet to access content. You’re going to be using much more difficult-to-track means, so we’re not really attempting at this stage to address that.”

He stresses the project is not censorship or filtering, but rather the blocking of illegal images as notified by Interpol.

“We’re not talking about all forms of offensive content on the net which can vary according to culture and values — we’re talking about a very specific subset of content that again most countries in the world have already passed laws to criminalise.”

A Telstra spokesperson told Computerworld Australia the blocking would occur across its entire network and is implemented by programming the telco’s domain name servers to redirect internet users to a ‘stop page’ should they request a restricted site.

“Other than blocking access to these specific sites, the technology does not inspect data traffic or filter the content of browsers sessions in any way,” the spokesperson said.

“We believe the telecommunications industry has a responsibility to limit the distribution of content containing child sexual abuse material.”

With Optus and Telstra committed to the initiative, and the latter implementing the Interpol list from 30 June, Coroneos is optimistic that once the code of conduct is released, smaller ISPs will join the fold.

“I can’t think of why not if it’s not an expensive exercise for the ISPs — if it’s clear that it’s just child pornography and something that the user base will support. I can’t imagine that ISPs could really mount much of a credible argument as to why they shouldn’t do it.”

According to Coroneos, traditional concerns for smaller ISPs, including who makes the determination around the blocked content and the cost, should not apply as it can be done with existing infrastructure and it is clear that Interpol is supplying the list, which encompasses a narrow range of serious content.

“It’s been constructed in such a way that we are not dictating the form in which the technical blocking occurs and in most cases we believe it can be done using existing equipment,” he said.

“It’s more a question of Interpol providing them with the relevant list of sites to be blocked and then they would implement that as part of their normal routing.”

Exetel chief executive, John Linton, said the ISP would have no reason not to participate in the scheme and would do so if requested but does not have the means to do so alone.

“We don’t have the resources to determine what sites should be banned so we would do nothing via our own initiative,” he said. “Like any right thinking people we abhor the whole concept of child abuse.”

Commenting on the initiative, Internode managing director, Simon Hackett, said the ISP would not be participating in the program but would be watching the outcome “with interest”.

Follow Chloe Herrick on Twitter: @chloe_CW

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet Industry Association (IIA)

More about etworkIIAInternet Industry AssociationInternodeInterpolOptusTelstra Corporation

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Chloe Herrick

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 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

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place