[LINK] Filtering works, Enex trial shows

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Thu Oct 1 16:36:34 AEST 2009

Filtering works, Enex trial shows
Fran Foo
October 01, 2009
The Australian

Results of a federal government trial show that live ISP-level content 
filtering does not have a negative impact on network performance and can 
work in a real-time environment.

However, a highly anticipated report based on the pilot is still weeks 
away and the federal Opposition says the government can not be trusted 
to deliver on the $43 billion national broadband network when the 
goalpost keeps shifting for a mere $300,000 filtering trial.

"The trial shows that filtering does work and that the gear stops 
identified IP addresses without major degradation to network speed," 
sources close to the trial said. "We can stop individual URLs, IP 
addresses, but we can't stop peer-to-peer nor virtual private 
network-type traffic."

Unwired, Optus, Primus, Highway 1, Nelson Bay Online, Netforce, 
OMNIconnect, TECH 2U and Webshield participated in the trial, conducted 
by Enex TestLab.

The tests involved thousands of internet users, mostly on an opt-in 
basis. Australia's largest ISP, Telstra BigPond, chose not to participate.

Trials concluded last month and Enex has submitted the test results to 
the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

Enex declined to comment on the results, citing a confidentiality 
agreement with the department.

It is still unclear when exactly Communications Minister Stephen Conroy 
expects to take receipt of the report that is being compiled by the 
department. It will contain recommendations to government on the ISP 
filtering framework.

There have been several missed deadlines due to the various ISPs’ 
different start dates for testing.

A spokesman for Senator Conroy could not provide a likely timetable, but 
said the report would be provided to the Minister once it was finalised.

Opposition communications spokesman Nick Minchin slammed the government 
for the delay and said it had produced "nothing" since the filtering 
policy was first announced in the run up to the 2007 federal election.

"This procrastination is unbelievable," Senator Minchin said. “They 
should release the report now. There seems to be a systemic problem with 
Senator Conroy and deadlines," he said. "Until today, we still don't 
even know what the criteria for the trials are."

"Senator Conroy doesn't seem to be able to handle a small trial. How on 
earth can we expect him to handle a $43bn broadband project?

"This incompetence doesn't bode well for taxpayers," Senator Minchin said.

The government is assessing the technical feasibility of ISP-level 
content filtering, which means a "clean feed" will be provided to homes. 
This approach is starkly different to PC-based filters that are 
installed on computers to help identify and stop children from accessing 
undesirable websites.

Originally the government wanted to bar every web page listed on a 
secret blacklist managed by the Australian Communications and Media 
Authority (ACMA). The list contains a wide array of URLs that contain 
both illegal and prohibited content.

The government has since changed tack, saying it would only seek to 
block "refused classification" material on the blacklist. RC includes 
child sexual abuse imagery, bestiality, sexual violence, detailed 
instruction in crime, violence or drug use and/or material that 
advocates terrorist acts.

For the trial, ISPs were invited to test filter the entire ACMA 
blacklist of prohibited URLs. There was the option to do additional 
testing of content filtering solutions to test for non-web based 
applications such as peer-to-peer networks.

Senator Conroy has always stated that ISP filtering is no silver bullet 
and was not the only answer in tackling child pornography. He has 
pledged to make the report public in "due course".

The filtering scheme can be introduced via legislation or as a mandatory 
code registered with ACMA.

Senator Minchin said the Coalition did not support mandatory internet 
filtering, but if legislation was the chosen route, it would study it 
carefully before making a decision.

The controversial filtering plan has been slammed by several quarters 
including privacy advocates, child protection groups and advocacy 
organisation GetUp.

Their main concern is the mandatory nature of the program which forces 
ISPs to play ball. Most argue that a voluntary approach by industry is 
the way to go.

GetUp’s petition against the proposal has garnered more than 115,000 
signatures. It has raised over $100,000 in contributions that have been 
geared towards online, television and print advertising, including a 
parody TV advertisement dubbed Censordyne.



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

More information about the Link mailing list