Compulsory ISP Filtering on Aussie Net –

You may or may not have heard, but an election promise of our current government was the introduction of compulsory internet filtering at the ISP level for the protection of the Australian populace, and our children from ‘illegal’ material.  The Previous Government had already introduced a free downloadable filter for familys to download to protect children.  Yes it was hacked/circumnavigated within a very short time but for the most It was a great iniative, a unique step in the right direction, and  come on,  even Iphone was hacked. Nothing is sacred anymore.  

I believe filtering at the ISP level is wrong just from the affect its going to have on our internet speeds, but also because its not solving the causes of the problem, its hiding it. ( and not even that reliably)  arguably you could say it should theoretically reduce demand for the illegal material ( for our country only ) because no one will be able to easily access it through a pubically available service, the net.  Its hard to be completely against  the governments stance on this issue. They are doing it for the right reasons,  but the wrong way.  We all want to protect our children from harm.  Try and make sure that nothing takes the shine of innocence from their eyes. 

I will be blogging in further detail about these issues, if anything so I can go on record  of opinion, somwhere before the ISP filter gets implemented.

I’ve said in the past to my friends, that I don’t have a cause that i feel marching down the street for is going to change the result of, there are so many sad things in the world, and a feeling of helplessness sometimes arises because my voice is not strong or important enough to change anything, but the issue of the lack of 18 + rating in games in Oz, as well as the Compulsory ISP filtering have made me want to act. I am feeling the itch -and the need to want  take this cause and put my name to it.

Not because i disagree with the principles behind it, that people also are feeling helpless at the prospect that there are now so many more things that they need to protect their children from, and that this filter could be seen as a quick fix, my concern of this is the affect it is going to have on our already substandard internet.

The Worlds technology is evolving.  More and more bandwidth is being taken up with Auto Virus checker updates,  operating system updates,  downloads for legal music, and videos are popular,  students use the net to access education resources,  online lectures.  We can speak to any country in the world on Voip,  and so much of these experiences and advances require a stable connection to the world – and this filter is going to make that connection worse. Third World countries have better internet.   ( I don’t even need to mention gaming at this point.)

You can find the Closed Environment Testing of ISP- Level Internet content filtering report at the Australian Communications and Media Authority

or a direct link –   Warning its a 89 Page PDF 

Intial tests indicate that there is a garanteed reduction of service. The least of all was %2 but it was a big difference to the remainder as the next least option that impacted on performances was a %21 reduction.  Maybe these will improve, but it was a given that there would be some degradation,

We can’t accept that.  We would be crippling our countries access to the rest of the world.

5 Responses to “Compulsory ISP Filtering on Aussie Net –”

  1. 1 Captain The First October 24, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    As an IT consultant with a fair number of years of experience I don’t even know where to begin in indicating that this not only will not solve the underlying issues it will only affect internet usage in general.

    P2P packet filtering to check for signatures of copy protected content will be circumvented the day it goes life. Initially by simple encryption methodologies (hell even zipping it up will do initially) and later on by more complex encryption as well as chopping up the data in smaller packets and transmitting them asynchronously.

    In order to achieve this level of filtering the load on the servers will increase significantly, hinder existing internet traffic and will not result in anything except a regular loss of service.

    Assuming that you should hold an ISP responsible for the traffic that is generated via their servers is ridiculous at best. That’s akin to making Ford responsible for the deaths caused by people driving Ford’s.

    The irony in all this is that P2P filtering will in the end result a reduction of available ‘legal’ services such as unix distributions via bittorrents or even your beloved wow patches that are distributed in a similar fashion.

    The real criminals that are distributing the material will not be hindered in their operation. If worst come to worst they will go back to using private/public FTP’s to distribute data or rely more heavily on newsgroups.

    In the end this will result in illegal material being easier to access and more user friendly than legal material due to an overload of copyright protection.

    Not to mention the overhead cost for ISP’s who will have to upscale their infrastructure significantly. Then add a requirement to store information for a year and you can kiss most of the smaller ISP’s goodbye because they won’t be able to afford running their services anymore.

    Less ISPs = less competition = higher consumer prices.

    The only people who will suffer through these kind of laws are innocent people and not the people who are distributing illegal materials.

    It’s a sad day this goes into effect… it shows a significant amount of ignorance and lack of technical understanding from the side of the law.

    Maybe they should ask a networking specialist about what would happen if they have to filter their entire network traffic of hundreds of thousands of users in real-time… I am sure he’ll have a minor heart-attack before he immediately starts looking for the job before he actually has to implement this ‘simple filter’.

  2. 2 Shastarian October 24, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    I’ve been following this on a few different sites, and I’ve been against it from day one. It just seems waaaaay too ridiculous to me.
    Akin to:
    Making book authors monitor the people who read their works to ensure they don’t use the cellulite from the book’s cover to make a bomb.
    Car manufacturers needing to make sure that the people who buy their cars don’t speed.

    Punishing everyone to ‘stop’ a few. ‘Yay! Lets go kill every animal that isn’t a human in the entire country because one wild cat got in and killed my chickens!’

    WTB Real Life Realm transfer

  3. 3 Angelspyt October 25, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Simply won’t happen on a technical, not to mention legal implementation front.

    The OP knows my IT background. To those who don’t, I have a buttload of experience in government telecommunications from a law enforcement standpoint. The sheer legislation is like a weapon of tedium. Then there are the testing protocols and standards to be adhered to. A project can take years from the initial sales meeting to the day the cheque is handed over and the big switch is thrown to turn it on, by which time, the telco is in negotiations with the govt again for version 2 because the first 1 is out of date now.

    If it’s handled anything like interception, the onus is on the carrier to provide the capability, and if they fail to meet it to the exact standards, the carrier license can be pulled and the telco is taken of the air.

    That’s before we have even gone over the technical impracticalities. Nor have we discussed political ramifications. There are just too many nay’s and not enough yay’s to make this happen.

    And even if it does, I give it less than a month before it is mothballed due to a class action of either the telcos, or consumers / citizen’s groups against the Dept of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

    Lastly – I’d like to say a big fat “Well done” to all the Australians who allowed it to get this far by wasting their vote on a party with a dumb agenda. Next time examine what exactly you are supporting. Be informed.

    (BTW: on the topic of being informed, I find the Greens policy on Science and Technology to be *really* vague, but atleast their network neutrality policy [F1:24] would abolish this, but so would Malcolm Turnbull, Winston Churchill, or even Denny Crane [midget porn and guns would be blocked]).

  4. 4 Angelspyt October 25, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    The Onion Router is a method of sending your data around the world through random paths. Some layers are encrypted, thus preventing filtering, and even monitoring.

    Some US govt depts even use it to take information from spies wanting to send out traffic with minimal suspicion.

    By setting up TOR nodes you are helping it all grow. By joining TOR you will be easily bypassing the filter.


  5. 5 pugnaciouspriest October 26, 2008 at 1:51 am

    I hope Captain and Angel are both right, and that it doesn’t get implemented, It will be a dark day for the internet in Oz if it does happen.

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