[AusNOG] Web filter a runaway success: Exetel

Mark Newton newton at internode.com.au
Tue May 5 21:26:25 EST 2009

On 05/05/2009, at 6:51 PM, Kai wrote:

> Mmmm, so the article doesn't tell the full story, figures, but what's
> the bet that certain people in certain places will use this one  
> article
> to basically say "Hey, see, the filter aint ALL bad..." :S

The problem is that Peter Mancer from Watchdog has already admitted that
it can't satisfy even the most watered-down of the Government's  
because it can't cope with URLs hosted on high-traffic sites occupying
the blacklist.

Remember:  Since last year, Conroy has claimed that he wants the ACMA
prohibited list to be blocked.  When the ACMA prohibited list was leaked
that position became politically hilarious, so he changed his tune to
"almost exclusively RC" (SBS Insight 31 March 2009), then "We've
never stated that we were going to do anything other than Refused
Classification" (Triple J Hack, 7 April 2009)

The problem is that the Classification Board has Refused Classification
to several YouTube videos, which means the ultimate "high traffic site"
is on the blacklist even after Conroy has changed all the definitions.

And Mancer has said that high-traffic sites will blow his system's  
out.  Indeed, the failure mode is exactly the same (and for exactly the
same reason) as the IWF Wikipedia failure in the UK in early December.

Mancer's proposed solution is to whitelist high-traffic sites, so they  
be blocked even if the Government insists that they must be.

So Exetel has had a "runaway success" in testing a system which cannot
satisfy the Government's requirements.

Can Exetel deploy Mancer's censorbox without a Government mandate to
deploy a voluntary filtering service in response to demand from their
customers?  By all means, and more power to them.  Hope it works out
for them.

But will that meet the dictates of the Government's stated policy?
Nope.  They'll need another, untested censorbox to do that.

   - mark

Mark Newton                               Email:  newton at internode.com.au 
Network Engineer                          Email:   
newton at atdot.dotat.org  (H)
Internode Pty Ltd                         Desk:   +61-8-82282999
"Network Man" - Anagram of "Mark Newton"  Mobile: +61-416-202-223

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