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Industry baffled over clean-feed internet pilot

Industry baffled over clean-feed internet pilot

Filtering the net akin to boiling the ocean: Telstra

Internet access by default will be filtered by the clean-feed blacklist and reigning users will be placed on a watered-down opt-out list.

Optus government and corporate affairs director Maha Krishnapillai said the scheme, if mandated, must be consistent and have support from industry.

“We are committed to working with the government and understanding what exactly needs to happen to meet the objectives whether done through this filtering or another,” Krishnapillai said.

The government will terminate support for the $85 million client-based NetAlert content filter, established under the Howard Government mid last year.

Telstra networks and services group managing director Michael Rocca said the scheme will drag down the speed of the government's $10 to $15 billion National Broadband Network (NBN).

“There are so many implications on speeds and the operations of the NBN,” Rocca said. . “It won't happen — it just can't happen.”

Pilot set for Christmas

The pilot will run for about six weeks from December 24 and is designed in accordance with consultation from Internet Industry Association (IIA), the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) and industry.

A spokesperson for Conroy's office said the trials will test ability of different filters to resist and detect circumvention methods.

The Department of Broadband Communications and the Digital Economy stated on its Web site that the “government has no plans to expand the parameters of the ACMA blacklist”.

“[The clean-feed blacklist] will be a closed network test and will not involve actual customers. A list of 10 000 sites will be developed by the department's technical advisor who has access to URL lists of this size,” the Web site states.

Shadow communications minister Nick Minchin said in a written statement the government should abandon mandatory content filtering for a voluntary client-based filter.

“Mandatory filtering is no silver bullet and when it comes to tackling this behaviour head-on there is simply no substitute for effective and well-resourced law enforcement,” Minchin said, referring to a recent federal police sting headed by Brazilian security forces that netted an international children pornography ring.

Australian Federal Police acting assistant commissioner Neil Gaughan told ABC some 15,000 videos and 50,000 images of child porn were circulated on peer-to-peer networks, which bypass Internet content filters.

“It allows the Internet user to share files without actually assessing a central network server. So it makes it more difficult for the content to be monitored by the ISP filters and shutting out those not involved in the network is able to be done by the users of the application,” Gaughan said.

Protests against the content filtering scheme will be held in all capital cities tomorrow including Sydney's Town Hall, Brisbane Square, Melbourne's State Library, Adelaide Parliament House, Perth's Stirling Gardens and at Tasmania's Parliament Lawns.

Sign Computerworld's petition against content filtering.

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Tags internet content filteringACMA

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