[AusNOG] Happy new year / New rules for age-restricted internetand mobile content after the 20th of january 2008

Alastair Johnson aj at sneep.net
Wed Jan 2 13:09:32 EST 2008

Bevan Slattery wrote:
> The fundamental issue here is one which Government is completely
> clueless on the problems they are creating.  It is PRACTICALLY
> impossible to guarantee a clean feed.  If you can't guarantee a clean
> feed, then you are providing parents with a false sense of security
> thinking they have.  Ultimately, parents will still have to install
> filtering software on their computers and supervise their kids.

Parents will, unfortunately, believe that the ISP is doing the job and 
will not supervise their children.

I worked at one of the first ISPs in New Zealand to actively provide a 
serious ISP-based filtering solution (based on 8e6 platforms), and the 
experience I gained there was that the content filtering led to *much 
less* supervision of children on the Internet than in a household where 
there was none.  This led to more abuse potential of children behind 
this service, in my opinion.

We had many staff hours spent on re-classifying sites from the 8e6 feed 
to whitelist or blacklist them based on customer complaints, which in 
itself causes problems (asking staff to review potentially offensive 
sites is a tricky proposition).  Some of these were not blacklisted as I 
felt the customer complaint was ridiculous - e.g. a mother asking to 
blacklist an Australian bikini sales site that her daughter had been 
looking at...

WRT the Google safe search option, I had an issue with that at another 
service provider offering some content filtering -- the schools on the 
service were all configured to use the content filter (Surf Control), 
but they could still browse at least thumbnail sized porn by using 
Google Image Search.  Placing squid in front of the Surf Control hosts 
to rewrite all Google searches to have Safe Search enabled fixed the 
issue, but it did seem to be a deficiency in the Surf Control product.

I can recommend the 8e6 boxes for http/nntp/etc content filtering - they 
did work very well.  When I last played with them (2004) they were also 
starting to get into P2P content control as well.


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