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Aussie gov anti-porn filter 'useless', says teen

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The anti-pornography filtering software dished out by the Australian government at a cost of AUS$84m has been broken in minutes by a teenager, according to reports.

"I downloaded it on Tuesday to see how good it was, because for 84 million dollars, I would have expected a pretty unbreakable filter," 16-year-old Melbourne teenager Tom Wood told the ABC after showing his local rag how to down the filter in a few clicks.

"Tried a few things, it took about half an hour and [it] was completely useless," he explained.

The AUS$189m NetAlert programme aims to provide all families with a free content filter as part of the conservative government's broader campaign against web filth. Prime minister John Howard launched the scheme earlier this month.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan said: "Sadly, just as a seatbelt will never prevent every fatal car crash, as the government has always maintained, no filter is foolproof." True, if rather crass, Minister.

The vendor responsible for the software is investigating Wood's "hack", she added. News.com.au has a picture of the swift-fingered youth here. It also reports that child safety campaigners are using the news to insist that ISPs do compulsory content filtering. ®

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