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Bob Bain

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New Government, new year, new promises (CRN for Channel Business Leaders) [Feb. 7th, 2008|03:43 pm]
Bob Bain
This article appeared in the 4 February 2008 ssue of CRN magazine....

Seen as a laughable initiative by discerning and law-abiding adults, the Labor Government nonetheless views the initiative as a necessity to protect our hapless children who (if we are to believe the Government) are daily subjected to the unsolicited filth that waits ready to pounce from the Internet’s dark corners.


Of primary concern is the current ACMA blacklist and the Government’s plans to greatly expand it from its current 2000 sites so it can include everything the Rudd Government deems “questionable”. In the child porn stakes alone, various international groups have estimated there are likely to be millions of active sites. And with plans to also include cyber-terrorism related sites, X-rated pornography and gambling sites on the blacklist, the total number is likely to run into the tens of millions.

This expansion is likely to have a considerable affect on ISPs that adopt the ACMA blacklist. The Internet industry has long held concerns that such a move would clog Internet services at a time when the market demands faster broadband. This point can’t be underestimated. ISPs want nothing more than the pipe between themselves and their customer to be as fat as possible without interruptions. But with the Government mandating a filter device at the ISP level, Australians’ want and need for uninterruptable broadband might be at risk.

Even if the Government was to achieve its desired filtering system, it would in no way act as a foolproof measure to ensure banished content stays that way. We haven’t even waded into the ever mercurial force of peer-to-peer networking and torrents, something that the music and movie industries are actively moving towards shutting down.

Plans for a national ISP filtering service all seems a bit half-baked at the moment. We’re still left wondering what exactly this inevitable filter will encompass and what it will mean for our lives on the Internet. What is the real purpose of this filter – to filter out child pornography, or to filter out anything the Government deems “inappropriate?” Until Conroy holds his first major address to the industry at the Internet Industry Association general meeting on February 21, these questions will remain.

By Mitchell Bingemann
6 February 2008 04:53PM