ISP Filtering To Go Ahead Despite Industry Reservations

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The Government is set on delivering an internet filtering system, despite the IT industry questioning its feasibility.In August last year the Systems Guild of Australia (SAGE-AU) President Donna Ashelford said that, “Aside from the commercial and technical impact such legislation will have on a variety of sectors within the IT Industry in Australia, technical band-aids are invariably ineffective in addressing the root causes of social problems.”

Yet that hasn’t stopped The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy announcing yesterday that the first phase of the Government’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) Filtering Live Pilot will begin with an initial six ISPs.

“The Government is committed to take an evidence-based approach to implementing its cyber-safety policy and these trials will provide valuable information to inform our approach,” Senator Conroy said. “Arrangements for the first phase of the live pilot have been finalised with six ISPs while consultations continue with a number of other ISPs that have applied to take part.”
The initial round of ISPs are Primus Telecommunications, Tech 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1.

“The government is well-aware of technical concerns about ISP filtering and that is why we are conducting a pilot, to put these claims to the test,” he said. “The live pilot will provide evidence on the real-world impacts of ISP content filtering, including for providers and internet users. It will provide evidence to assist the Government in the implementation of its policy.”

Testing with each ISP will take place for a minimum six weeks once filtering equipment has been obtained and installed. It will look at the efficiency and effectiveness of a range of technical solutions, as well as other issues such as the ease of circumvention, impact on internet speeds and user experience.

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