[LINK] Senate Standing Committee: NetAlert/Mandatory filtering updates

Stephen Wilson swilson at lockstep.com.au
Tue Feb 19 12:49:34 EST 2008

Can someone rewind please?

While there has been loose talk from the government about blocking 
"inappropriate" content, AFAIK the only black-and-white commitment they 
have made is to block (or have blocked) the expressly banned URLs, 
listed by ACMA, of which there are on the order of 1000.

This always struck me as leaving wriggle room, so they might have a 
baseline that was technically achievable, and leave open to 
interpretation just how inappropriate "inappropriate" would be (i.e. 
they could fall all the way back to that which is expressly banned).

[In a similar vein, I had the distinct impression at the time that the 
government mentioned the blocking of child pornography sites, but that 
media reports shifted the language to the fantastically broader realm of 
sites containing material deemed inappropriate for children.]

But I might be wrong.  Can someone clarify if the government has really 
ever declared itself to be up for the open ended caper of tracking and 
blocking "inappropriate" content generally?


Stephen Wilson.

Stilgherrian wrote:
> On 19/2/08 11:32 AM, "Glen Turner" <gdt at gdt.id.au> wrote:
>> On Mon, 2008-02-18 at 20:42 +1000, Michael Meloni wrote:
>>> Senate Standing Committee update 2: 8:48PM ACMA says they are looking to
>>> expand black list. Liaising with International groups.Current sites
>>> listed on the trial will only need to block the current ACMA blacklist -
>>> just 800 URLs. Expected final black list numbers unable to be answered.
>> That's URLs, not IP addresses. So the implication is that ISPs will
>> need to place a firewall in the core of their network.  Firewalls
>> are not reliable devices, so this isn't a good engineering outcome.
>> Obviously a ISP can't filter IP addresses if the list is of URLs,
>> that would lead to customer contract issues.
>> I'd really like to see some details of the ISP trial in Tasmania.
>> *Tasmania*!  Think about that, how little traffic can we be talking
>> about when you struggle to get 155Mbps onto the island?  There's
>> also one exit point from the island, so a logical place to do
>> filtering exists.
>> In comparison, AARNet pulls that from a single small university and
>> has a multitude of exit points (to prevent failures).  In short,
>> the trial is rigged to produce the best result.
> The specific term used last night was "URLs", by the ACMA staffer who
> presumably knows what she's referring to.
> There didn't seem to be any comprehension that 800 or 1500 URLs is still the
> same kind of problem -- and vastly different from what would presumably me
> hundreds of thousands or even millions of URLs if any "inappropriate"
> content is to be filtered.
> There was also some mention of "technbical means to assess material", which
> I assume is content-level filtering rather than URL-level or IP-level
> filtering.
> One. Big. Can. Of. Worms.
> Stil

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