Telstra to retry Next G web filter service

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Telstra to retry Next G web filter service

First iteration bombed on mobile tracking concerns.

Telstra is preparing another shot at introducing a web filtering product for smartphones after being forced to kill an earlier iteration over user tracking concerns.

The carrier was revealed in June to be monitoring users' browsing activity and sending the data offshore.

The data was compiled in a database to be used as the foundation of a web filtering product for the Next G network, called 'Smart Controls'.

Users weren't given an option to opt into or out of the monitoring of their activities, leading to questions over whether privacy legislation had been breached — and ultimately resulting in Telstra icing the tracking operation.

The carrier today said it now hoped to bring the Smart Controls product online "in late November", and that it wanted to restart the collection of browsing data, but only for customers that specifically agreed to it.

"We have now re-designed Smart Controls so that it operates as an entirely opt-in product," Telstra stated.

"Customers must opt in and the mobile websites being classified are only from subscribers who opt in or subscribe to the service."

Although the carrier said customers thought Smart Controls was a good idea in principle, it acknowledged that customers hadn't been appreciative of the execution.

"Many ... customers told us that they did not want the network practices used to categorise websites for such a product applied to their mobile service if they had not opted in to the Smart Controls service," Telstra noted.

"We got the design of this component wrong and in the process we disappointed our customers."

Telstra hoped to gather user feedback on its blog before attempting a relaunch of the feature.

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