[LINK] Filter to cause World Wide Wait

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Thu Oct 30 14:22:13 EST 2008

Filter to cause World Wide Wait
Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
October 30, 2008
The Australian

INTERNET speeds could slow by 30 per cent under the Government's 
proposed web filtering scheme, even though it will do little to block 
illegal content.

That's the warning from technical experts, who also say the plan could 
expose users' financial details during online banking sessions and see 
popular websites including Facebook and YouTube banned.

The warnings came after Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy 
Minister Stephen Conroy confirmed the Federal Government planned to 
introduce a mandatory internet filter, shelving plans to allow 
Australians to opt out of the scheme.

Internet service providers, who would administer the filter, have been 
asked to conduct live trials of the filter before the end of the year.

But System Administrators Guild of Australia president Donna Ashelford 
said the plan was deeply flawed and would slow internet access down by 
about 30 per cent according to the Government's own laboratory trials.

Despite this, the national web filter would only censor web content, Ms 
Ashelford said, and could not deal with the remaining 60 per cent of 
internet traffic, much of which occurred over peer-to-peer networks such 
as BitTorrent and LimeWire.

"The bulk of internet traffic is over peer-to-peer networks and the bulk 
of illegal content is trafficked is over peer-to-peer networks," she 
said. "There is no choke point at which they can block that material. I 
do not believe this is an issue that has a technical solution."

Electronic Frontiers Australia board member Colin Jacobs warned the web 
filter could also unwittingly make the internet unsafe for financial 
transactions by breaking the secure encryption used by banks online.

Five of the six web filters tested by the Australian Media and 
Communications Authority this year were able to filter websites using 
the secure protocol HTTPS, which would leave financial details exposed 
to the internet service provider in charge of operating the filter.

"If they sit in the middle and get between your web browser and the 
bank's server it really breaks open the security and leaves the details 
open to attack," he said.

"Once the chain of encryption is broken you can't say it is secure any 

Mr Jacobs said the web filter plan would also face significant 
challenges trying to block illegal or inappropriate material on social 
networking sites such as YouTube and Facebook where "one video or one 
dodgy Facebook profile" could see the entire website blocked from view.

The national filter would also fail to block material in online chat 
rooms, Mr Jacobs said, and could give parents "a false sense of 
security" when monitoring their child's online access.


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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