facing boycott over porn sites, by Frank Walker -
5th December 2004
The Sun Herald)
Family groups are calling for a nationwide boycott
of Optus after it was revealed that the communications
giant makes up to $100 million a year from international
sex lines and internet pornography.
is refusing to give up the trade even though its rival
Telstra bowed to public pressure last year and dropped
access to computer porn and phone-sex lines.
extent of Optus's involvement in the porn trade was
exposed in an internal memo produced in an obscure
court case. The memo, from the Optus accounts department,
said such services earned $100 million for the company.
court case revealed Optus was acting as middleman
in the lucrative global porn trade.
was taken to court three years ago by Gibraltar-based
porn merchant Gilsan, which claimed the carrier had
not passed on up to $40 million owed to it from the
against Optus, NSW Supreme Court judge Robert McDougall
said Optus made a profit of $1 million a month from
revelation sparked calls for a boycott, led by the
Australian Family Association whose NSW spokesman,
Damien Tudehope, encouraged the community to "avoid
using Optus until they don't run this stuff".
will be organising our members and working with other
groups to encourage an Optus boycott until it stops,"
Mr Tudehope said.
said big corporate involvement in the porn industry
encouraged the loss of respect in the community. "We
are feeding our kids a diet of this stuff, and as
parents we are struggling to instil values in our
kids," he said.
Media Australia president Jane Roberts said Optus
should use its huge profits from the porn trade to
make sure children could not access such sites. "Optus
does have a corporate responsibility to ensure their
services are not promoting harm in the community,"
ethics consultant, Jane Walton, said Optus bore responsibility
for what was carried on its services.
should not be involved in spreading pornography,"
bear responsibility for what they are making money
out of. They can't just say they supply the phone
line and wash their hands for what people put on it."
plans to launch an adults-only porn and gambling mobile
phone service called Optus Zoo Adult.
Optus spokesman, Paul Fletcher, said the company had
complied with all the regulations in Australia regarding
internet content although he admitted that it did
not check on what was carried on its international
is not for us to make social judgements about the
kind of material that should be carried," he
said. "Those judgements are made by the regulators
in each country, and we comply with those in Australia."
services were only a tiny proportion of Optus business,
takes its obligations as a provider of services to
the Australian community very seriously. We comply
scrupulously with regulations [of] internet services.
None of this traffic [involving Gilsan] is related
to the provision of services to Australian consumers."