Simon Miller Team : Web Development Tags : Common Sense

They Giveth and they Taketh Away

Simon Miller Team : Web Development Tags : Common Sense

The Federal Government has decided it will go ahead with establishing mandatory ISP-level filtering on what the public can access on their own, paid Internet connections.  

"The Government will introduce legislative amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act to require all ISPs to block RC-rated material hosted on overseas servers", said Senator Conroy's announcement. The Senator also goes on to say "The report into the pilot trial of ISP-level filtering demonstrates that blocking RC-rated material can be done with 100% accuracy and negligible impact on internet speed".

Whilst it may seem at first a good idea to block certain websites - those that promote child pornography, bestiality and the like - in actual fact they are blocking nothing. Those that are interested in such filth do not go to the web to obtain it. They go to underground IRC channels, FTP drop sites and P2P technologies, all of which will remain unblocked by the mandatory filter. The report itself states that during the test phase the filters over-blocked 3.4% of sites. Doesn't that make the filter 96.6% accurate and not 100%? How much will this filter cost the tax paying public? How much will it cost IT businesses? From the report; "To support peaks in traffic, vendors recommend allowing additional network capacity of approximately four times the estimated traffic at the filter." Network capacity is not free.

It would also be completely possible to bypass any ISP filter by simply using a proxy server or SSL VPN tunnel. All this filter will achieve is a slowdown of Australian Internet connections - however slight - and to make this country appear a joke to others.

Australian ISP iiNet did not agree with the filter Child safety group "Save the Children" does not agree with the filter Campaign website GetUp! have almost hit their target of 125,000 signatures against the filter. So who is this filter for? It would seem it is only for Senator Conroy.

However, there was some positive news today. Only days after the latest,,26452633-2,00.html in a long string of video games banned in Australia because we do not yet have an R18+ classification for the medium, the Federal Attorney-General's department has opened the floor for the public to make comment on the proposed introduction of a new rating that will allow 'high impact' games to be made available This is a welcome move from the government as it shows they are willing to give in to public opinion.

Even if you are not a gamer I would urge you to make your opinion known. The average age of gamers in Australia is approaching 30 Video games are not solely the domain of children, just as films and DVDs are not. And as with movies it should be up to the parents, armed with an accurate rating system, to determine if little Johnny should play Left for Dead 2 or just stick to Mario Kart.