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Australia Rolling Out ISP-Based Internet Filters

After China, Australia seems likely to bring upon a stringent legislation to filter the internet, banning access to a slew of websites allegedly containing criminal content, from sometime in the middle of the next year, it has been revealed.

The Australian federal government is going ahead with its ambitious China-style internet filtering plans despite widespread criticisms for such a harsh move.

An independent classification authority will be set up to decide upon the websites to be banned on the basis of complaints from public, according to the Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

In addition, he further noted about the required amendments in the Broadcasting Services Act of the country, which from 2011 would reportedly necessitate ISPs to apply filters to block "refused – classification-rated" content on their servers.

The move has drawn flaks from various internet user groups and the online pornography industry, with the antagonists claiming that any such move would eventually end up in blocking the access to some of the legitimate websites as well as slowing down the internet speeds considerably.

But Mr Conroy slammed these concerns by claiming that a seven-day trial of such a filtering technology has shown 100 percent success rate and negligible impact over the connection speeds.

Announcing the move, Mr Conroy said: “Through a combination of additional resources for education and awareness, mandatory internet filtering of RC -rated content, and optional ISP-level filtering, we have a package that balances safety for families and the benefits of the digital revolution”.

Our Comments

The problem with these filters is that it will never be 100 percent effective as hackers worldwide will be willing to work full-time in order to circumvent it. Furthermore, an independent classification board will have a hard time to track ALL the websites that appear to be controversial.

Related Links

Australia moves toward mandatory ISP filtering (opens in new tab)

(CNet)

Australia introduces web filters (opens in new tab)

(BBC)

Australia to filter web and stop access to criminal sites (opens in new tab)

(Tech Radar)

Aussie content filters "work" (not counting IM, P2P, FTP...) (opens in new tab)

(Ars Technica)

Australia announces controversial Internet filter (opens in new tab)

(AFP)

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.