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URL mix-up sends Oz Idol fans to gay porn site

Telstra internet service provider BigPond has turned self-appointed content cop after accidentally steering millions of unwitting...

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Telstra internet service provider BigPond has turned self-appointed content cop after accidentally steering millions...

of unwitting Australian teenagers to the tribute site of a gay porn star.

According to BigPond, "human error" substituted the URL for the website of the winner of Australian Idol, Casey Donovan (www.caseydonovan.com.au) with the URL of identically named dead gay porn icon Casey Donovan (www.caseydonovan.com).

The incorrect URL was advertised in Sydney's Daily Telegraph and Melbourne's Herald Sun newspapers.

Mr Donovan's site, which has been running for a number of years, features a naked full frontal picture of the former star. A government source investigating the matter described an aspect of the picture as "frighteningly large" and added that "heads will roll" over the incident.

Having alerted every second teenager in Australia to the errant link, BigPond set about redirecting requests back to the site of Australia's latest pop sensation.

BigPond spokesman Craig Middleton said the emergency redirection of BigPond subscribers had been done to protect young teenage minds from "inappropriate or potentially offensive material".

"We are a family-friendly company," he said, adding that adult BigPond subscribers could still access the adult site after being redirected.

BigPond also took the unusual step of formally complaining to the Australian Broadcasting Authority about the mess. An ABA spokesman confirmed BigPond had lodged a formal complaint on the basis that the adult site might contain X-rated material.

The ABA spokesman said the site was still being assessed, but warned that issuing a take-down notice could prove difficult as BigPond was not actually a broadcaster - quite apart from the fact that it was BigPond that erroneously provided the link to the site.

Middleton said the ISP had made the complaint to the ABA so as to "leave no stone unturned" in a bid to protect the interests of Australian teenagers.

No BigPond staff were sacked over the incident.

Julian Bajkowski writes for Computerworld

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