Aussie Filter Software Tests to Exclude Major ISPs

SYDNEY, Australia -- As the Australian government continues its plan to launch an Internet filter designed to weed out porn, two of the nation's major Internet service providers have been excluded from tests. 

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Thursday six ISPs will take part in the trial while large companies Optus and iiNet were left out.

The Herald suggested the smaller firms were chosen because they are more sympathetic to the government's censorship agenda.

Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy named Primus Telecommunications, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1 as the companies taking part in the six-week trial, and added that more may sign on as well.

Opponents have questioned the value of the trials without the involvement of major ISPs, while other critics have attacked the agenda as the start of a China-like purge.

Activist group Get Up has severely criticized the trials and the entire censorship filter campaign.

"We are still waiting for the government to show us how this controversial system of censorship will work in the real world, when experts are telling us it will be unworkable," said Get Up National Director Simon Sheikh.

Opposition party Communications Spokesman Nick Minchin called the Australian Labor Party's Internet filtering plan "deeply unpopular."

Some of the Aussie ISPs taking part in the trials already offer Internet filtering options to customers