[LINK] Exetel trial records 20,000 hits on filtered URLs

Danny Yee danny at anatomy.usyd.edu.au
Mon May 4 20:55:09 EST 2009


Rick Welykochy writes:
> AFAICT, Exetel is shoring up its
> systems in case they are forced to go to filtering by future
> legislation.

They could have done a technical test without actually censoring
their users -- and without effectively endorsing the Internet Watch
Foundation and Watchdog.

> You may wish to cry foul that Exetel unilaterally used its entire
> customer base for a five day trial. So what? Were you impacted in any
> way?

I don't like the precedent that says its ok for an ISP to censor its
users without any government or legal requirement to do so.  If it's ok
for Exetel to do this for five days and 200 web sites, why not fifty
days and the full IWF list?  And since it had no noticeable effect,
why shouldn't they just keep it running...

My concern here is that this is a first step towards the situation
in the UK, where most ISPs voluntarily use the IWF blacklist even
though there's no legal requirement for them to.

The way Exetel did this - giving less than 24 hours notice to users,
and aggressively attacking anyone who criticised them - was also
perturbing.  Previously I've thought it was good that the people
running Exetel were technical cowboys - I figured it was better
having engineering types than suits run things - but I've come
around to thinking that it's worth paying a bit extra for a company
that cares about the civil liberties of its users and is prepared to
fight lawsuits if necessary.  (Exetel's stance on vigilante copyright
enforcement is also a major concern.)

I was one of the original Swiftel users who shifted over and I've been
a happy Exetel customer since, through several changes of address.
But I'm moving on.

Danny.



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