[LINK] Exetel trial records 20,000 hits on filtered URLs

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Mon May 4 16:34:53 AEST 2009

Exetel trial records 20,000 hits on filtered URLs
By   Ry Crozier
4 May 2009 03:57PM

Mandatory ISP filtering would cost internet users about $6 a year to 
implement, according to the results of a five-day trial of the 
technology by ISP Exetel.

Exetel reported in a forum post yesterday that it had completed its 
trial of a content-filtering system from New Zealand's clean-feed 
service provider, Watchdog. 

An Exetel spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Watchdog is contributing hosted technology to the first round of the 
Federal Government's filtering trials through its partnership with 
Adelaide clean-feed ISP Webshield. 

Watchdog's website listed it is testing Marshall 8e6, NetClean and its 
own s tunnelling technologies.

The Exetel trial, which is separate from the Government's, looked only 
at Netclean WhiteBox technology.

Exetel reported about 20,000 hits against a filter list of 198 website 
addresses, known in internet parlance as uniform resource locators or URLs.

They are "allegedly part of an IP range that do contain child 
pornography", Exetel chief executive officer John Linton said in a blog 

"The figure of 20,000 doesn't represent that there were 20,000 hits on 
the actual child-pornography IP [addresses in that range]," Linton said.

"If you consider that Exetel has only around 1 percent of internet users 
in Australia then you might, as I was, be more than a little surprised 
at how many paedophiles that implies there are in Australia - not 20,000 
... but perhaps 100-plus."

He said that blocking ranges was a flawed policy because of the "ease of 
which it can be got round".

In its forums, Exetel said there was "no measurable impact on any Exetel 
router" or on the speed of internet access to sites that weren't blocked.

But it didn't stop 56 Exetel customers from reporting problems that they 
attributed to the filters. Exetel said they were not related to the trial.

Exetel said that by early Wednesday, four customers reported that the 
filter had resulted in slow internet connections but the technology had 
not been turned on at that stage.

A further 11 reports of poor or degraded performance were received in 
the first day of the trial.

"All the reports were for sites not in the filter list or reports of 
general degradation of performance that could not be related to the 
filter trial," Exetel said.

Exetel disengaged the filter at 11pm on Wednesday and did not bring it 
back up until 9.45am the next day.

"Over that time, seven more reports of degraded service attributed to 
the filter trial were retrieved," the ISP said.

Three customers said they would cancel their Exetel services because of 
the trial, Exetel said.

One of those is Melbourne search engine optimisation business, Stewart 
Media. Its founder and chief executive officer, Jim Stewart, indicated 
his intention to shift his customers away from Exetel. 

"I've got a fundamental opposition to the Government's filter plan," 
said Stewart, an anti-filtering advocate who recently appeared on ABC's 
Q&A episode on the issue.

"I'm not going to sit back and spend money with a company that's putting 
something in place I don't agree with."

Exetel concluded the trial by revealing the cost to implement a 
mandatory, non-optional filter system "would be in the order of $6 per 
year, per user".

It flagged the possibility to offer content filtering to users for an 
additional $5 charge, which would see Exetel follow the lead of 
participants in the Government's trials.

iPrimus revealed it may pre-empt the Government by subscribing 
businesses to a monthly product. 

Participants such as OMNIconnect  indicated this could be a commercial 
path they would follow. 


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

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