[LINK] Filter to cause World Wide Wait
brd at iimetro.com.au
Thu Oct 30 14:22:13 EST 2008
Filter to cause World Wide Wait
October 30, 2008
INTERNET speeds could slow by 30 per cent under the Government's
proposed web filtering scheme, even though it will do little to block
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.
brd at iimetro.com.au
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