02:17PM Friday Nov 14 2008 by Karl Bode
Over the last few years, Australian lawmakers have been enamored with the idea of Internet filters, spending almost a hundred million on filtering technology that a teenager was able to circumnavigate in just a few minutes. When Internet filters were voluntary and made available for download, the numbers showed that nobody used them. Undeterred, the Australian government is going forward with mandatory filters nobody can opt-out of. Michael Malone, boss of Australia’s largest ISP iiNet, says the carrier will be signing up for trials of Australia’s new mandatory Internet filtering system, though even Malone thinks it’s a bad idea:
Malone’s main purpose was to provide the Government with ‘hard numbers’ demonstrating ‘how stupid it is’ – specifically that the filtering system would not work, would be patently simple to bypass, would not filter peer-to-peer traffic and would significantly degrade network speeds. ‘They’re not listening to the experts, they’re not listening to the industry, they’re not listening to consumers, so perhaps some hard numbers will actually help,’ he said. ‘Every time a kid manages to get through this filter, we’ll be publicising it and every time it blocks legitimate content, we’ll be publicising it.’
Malone goes on to opine that Australia’s Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, ‘is the worst Communications Minister we’ve had in the 15 years since the [internet] industry has existed.’
So far similar efforts here in the States have either been simply too stupid to work or ruled unconstitutional. But as we mentioned last month, with child porn used as a rallying cry, there’s a growing push in the States to use Deep Packet Inspection to monitor each and every packet you send and receive for legality.