Last week, Telstra representatives stated that the suspicious activity reported by numerous customers of the Whirlpool forum was nothing more than normal network operation. However, now they have come forward to admit that the firm does record web addresses as part of a new web filtering service.
SC Magazine reports
that the web filtering solution compares the addresses visited by users to a blacklist of malicious websites owned by Netsweeper, a company that specializes in such services.
As it turns out, the customer who first reported the fact that an IP from the US accessed all the sites he was visiting was right, since the blacklists are stored in Australia and the United States.
However, Telstra spokesman James Howe told SC Magazine that the data was “completely anonymised” before it was sent to the Netsweeper’s systems. Furthermore, the filtering is applied only to customers who use the Next G network.
The Australian telecoms company has also updated its documentation to explain that users who opt in to the service have to pay a monthly fee of $2.95 (2.3 EUR) for which they would gain the ability to restrict Internet access based on content categories and specific URLs.
In the meantime, some customers, including the user trademark -
the one who discovered the suspicious activity -, are still displeased with the decision.
“When it comes to quality of service, by all means, capture signal data and tower locations. If I’m being used for research to develop a filter I don’t even want, that’s the line. The issue is they are tracking information that we are requesting to scan for legality or age appropriateness from what I can gather so far from Telstra’s statements,” he wrote
While some say that there shouldn’t be any problem as long as the data is “anonymised,” others are even considering filing a complaint with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).