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

Bevan Slattery Bevan.Slattery at staff.pipenetworks.com
Wed Jan 2 19:29:31 EST 2008

(1) ACMA will spend time and taxpayers money surfing for porn to 
identify a "bad" list which will be incomplete and really just be about 
sites that people really won't be visiting anyway on the whole

- when the industry explains that this can't be done a number of vendors
with financial interests will say 'this can be done' and the good
Senator will sing their praises and highlight how the industry has got
it wrong again.
- ultimately  when the government realize how hopeless the whole
situation is they'll resort to the position that 'we are actively trying
to look after the innocent children in Australia from accidentally
accessing pornography on the Internet', meaning they are distancing
themselves from the practical reality that other than a general porn
blacklist for http, this is impractical.  This is the same as the 1999
position when DCITA/Alston put in the BSA Amendment and excluded things
like NNTP and streaming from memory.  This list will probably be
extended to P2P, Bit-torrent and file sharing systems, or alternatively
worst case, they may force ISP's to use this also.  They will simply say
that these are 'sophisticated users' who are actively seeking
inappropriate content.

(2) We'll (ISPs) be required to filter this list for people but kids 
will still see porn because they won't be able to block google image 
search with that list.

All new signings for ISP's will come default with the 'opt out of pr0n'
check box checked.  A mass mailout to subscribers will also happen which
will provide users to opt out by a single click.  About 80% of users
will want and get an unfiltered feed, negating the impact of this

(3) No one will be happy other than a few vendors who've done a 
"monorail" job on us (see a Simpons episode).

For those that weren't around in 1999 when this was all the rage and
when a Senator from Tasmania ruled the world, you should see this
monorail, powered by 1000 chickens.


Even though we were a filtering vendor we were pushing for non-mandatory
filtering and letting users decide.  We even developed a piece of client
software that interacted with the filtering servers to select which
filter (by redirecting to the relevant proxy address) for which user at
home (mum, dad and kids).  Even I admit it was a bit crude at the time.
This was needed a proxy for every ISP.  However, version 2.0 had a light
proxy on the client which intercepted each request/connection and simply
did a lookup to our central databases and returned the relevant response
(such as nudity, but medical).  This meant that if the users profile
(currently logged in) said only allow nudity for medical then the client
would let it through.

This was much more effective (our filter lists were 100MB+ back then).

The best advocates back in 1999 were the IIA and EFA.  I don't think
much of the IIA these days, but the EFA is an effective and well
educated resource.  Dale Clapperton has a heap of experience in this
area and I think is still involved (and probably lurking on the list

My advice is be prepared.  The eventuality here is that ISP's will be
required to put in a filtering system.  That is a certainty in my books.
This is an election promise for a first time government wanting to keep
Family  First happy.  ISP's simply need to limit the damage.  HTTP pr0n
blacklist isn't a big headache one would think.  Something that can be
handled by a variety of software applications and/or appliances.  If you
can't win, you need to pick second best and give the good Senator a tick
in the box.  Of course, it's going to be cluster f*&^ even then, but at
least he can focus on FttN.  Oh dear.  What a year it's going to be.


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