Filtering software fails: experts

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Australia’s version of the “Great Firewall of China” has been dealt with a blow; with the software, CleanFeed, being announced that it was easily hackable.

Richard Clayton from the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory said that the British Telecom developed software can be circumvented by many ways.

“At first sight, it’s an effective and precise method of blocking unacceptable content,” Mr Clayton said, The Australian is reporting.

“But there are a number of issues to address as soon as one assumes that content providers or consumers might make serious attempts to get around it.”

This comes after the newly-elected Rudd government plans to take control of what you see on the Internet. However; you can opt-out of it, that’s what the government is saying.

The previous communications minister, Helen Coonan, insisted that ISPs offer should not implement filtering; after a 2006 NetAlert showed that filtering software was expensive, difficult to set up and also decreases performance of the connection itself.

Six different filter systems were tested; with the best resulted an 18% reduction of speed and the worst showed a 78% reduction of speed.

“The better-performing filters can process data at between 30-80Mbps, which would still provide sufficient performance for a small ISP,” The report said.

“However, for larger ISPs with faster upstream connections, the use of such filters would severely reduce their performance levels.”

Coonan, however, opted to provide free copies of the Government filter program. However, it was cracked by a teenager (Tom Wood) in a couple of hours after it was released.

With the results showing that filtering software causes a reduction on speed; this contradicts Labor’s new plan on upgrading the current infrastructure of the broadband network.

However, the ISPs and the Internet Industry Association has said that there are technical difficulties with the service; with Telstra saying that filtering is “in the hands of a responsible parent.”

Meanwhile, a survey conducted at public libraries concerning internet filtering found that the filters were unreliable and inaccurate, often blocking legitimate sites and letting through pornographic material.

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