Report ticks filtered Internet

ISP content filters to go live “soon”.

The government's clean feed Internet scheme has been buoyed by glowing results from tests into the effectiveness of Internet Service Provider (ISP) content filters.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority's (ACMA) Internet content filtering report, the latest of a series that was first commissioned in 1993, claims the technology has undergone massive improvements since 2005 when that year's trial returned abysmal results.

ISP content filtering is part of the government's $125.8 million Plan for Cyber Safety which will split funds between law enforcement, technology and education to reduce the proliferation of child porn and inappropriate content.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the government will soon trial blocking prohibited and "additional" material in a live pilot with ISPs using the filters.

"The next step is to test filter technologies in a real world environment with a number of ISPs and internet users," Conroy said.

"Filtering specifically against a black-list of illegal content as well as the ability to filter additional material will be one part of the upcoming pilot trial.

"This will enable the implementation of ISP filtering in Australia to be undertaken in an informed and effective way."

The ACMA test of six Internet content filters showed the worst performer allowed through 12 percent of a set list of banned material, while the best blocked more than 94 percent.

Fewer than one percent returned false positives, and five of the six consumed less than one percent of network resources when attached but not filtering.

When actively filtering, one product chewed up to 75 percent of network resources, three used between 22 to 30 percent and one tool used less than one percent.

None of the products could identify banned material via Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing networks, although one product was able to identify blocked material in "media streaming".

"Despite the general nature of advances in ISP level filtering technology between the current trial and the previous trial, most filters are not presently able to identify illegal content, and content that may be regarded as inappropriate that is carried via the majority of non-Web protocols," the report stated.

Results for the 2005 test were so bad that the search for ISP-level filters was abandoned and replaced with enterprise-level solutions. The average network resource consumption returned in the test was between 75 to 98 percent.

The ACMA test was conducted on an isolated analogous Tier 3 ISP network in Telstra's broadband e-Lab by vendor Enex TestLab. Only six from an initial 26 solutions passed the three phases of criteria; however the names of the products were kept confidential.

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3 Comments

Anonymous

1

Filtered Internet??

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Benjamin Franklin

This is the thin end of the wedge, what next, shall we censor newspapers, radio and TV?

Andrew

qazwsx

2

I Love The Onion

*chuckle*

Man, The Onion does have some hilarious news stories. Just imagine if this actually happened. Oh, those jokers.

...........wait, WHAT!?

Anonymous

3

Completely useless

These filters will not be able to block illegal traffic.
-Popular internet proxies with SSL encryption make web requests undetectable and unenforceable without compromised hosts or timing attacks. This is probably illegal, but is also completely impractical, as there are literally thousands of such proxies in abundance. This also makes it difficult to set up honeypots.
-Much dangerous, organised crime / terrorism-related activities (as well as a number of diplomats, spies, etc) utilise the TOR network,which provides onion routing (look it up). This routes web requests through a number of hops, encrypting it along the way, such that the client remains anonymous. This is widely in use in China to bypass the Great Firewall. Even China isn't able to block this -- we don't stand a chance.

Long story short, the content filtering is only useful for making sure Joe Public can't visit a subset of pornographic websites, or sites with dangerous political ideas. And as usual, the real criminals who trade in illegal pornography, plan terrorist attacks, hack into websites, import vast quantities of drugs, etc go completely unhindered and unpunished.

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