Feeds

Oz net censorship apparatus to target BitTorrent

Peer to government filter, and then possibly to peer

Boost IT visibility and business value

The national web censorship apparatus being built by the Australian government will also include technology to restrict peer-to-peer traffic, according to the minister responsible for the plan.

Until today it had been thought that what opponents have called the "great Aussie firewall" - in a nod to Chinese internet censorship - would target only data transmitted over HTTP or HTTPS.

In response to suggestions by commenters on his blog that censoring web content would drive more peer-to-peer traffic, broadband minister Stephen Conroy wrote: "The Government understands that ISP-level filtering is not a 'silver bullet'. We have always viewed ISP-level filtering as one part of a broader government initiative for protecting our children online.

"Technology is improving all the time. Technology that filters peer-to-peer and BitTorrent traffic does exist and it is anticipated that the effectiveness of this will be tested in the live pilot trial."

Conroy didn't offer any further detail on how BitTorrent traffic will be "filtered" during the trials, which are set to run during the first half of 2009 with volunteer ISPs. They will filter websites against a blacklist for a minimum of six weeks.

In the UK ISPs use a blacklist of "child porn" websites maintained by the Internet Watch Foundation, an industry-backed group rather than government organisation. The recent climbdown over its censoring of a Scorpions album cover on Wikipedia demonstrated the pitfalls of even a self-regulatory approach. The Australian plan proposes much more government influence.

Prime minister Kevin Rudd's Australian Labor government has committed AUS$125.8m over four years to what it calls "cyber-safety measures". The great Aussie firewall is the centrepiece of the initiative, and has provoked strong opposition.

Hundreds of protestors gathered in major Australian cities last week, and some in the country's internet industry have derided the plans too. In November, Michael Malone, boss of ISP iiNet, told the Sydney Morning Herald: "They're not listening to the experts, they're not listening to the industry, they're not listening to consumers, so perhaps some hard numbers will actually help." He pledged to take part in the pilot to help demonstrate that the system would be ineffective.

Conroy's offhand announcement today that peer-to-peer traffic will be filtered is likely to add criticism of the Australian government from the filesharing community to that being voiced by free speech campaigners and the internet industry. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices
Screw copper phone lines, we're UNIQUE, bleats telco
NBN Co claims 96 mbps download speeds for FTTN trial
Umina trial also delivers 30 mbps uploads, but exact rig used not revealed
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
EE: STILL Blighty's best mobe network, says 'Frappucino' Moore
Fresh round of network stats fisticuffs possibly on the cards here
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
ROAD TRIP! An FCC road trip – Leahy demands net neutrality debate across US
You crashed watchdog's site, now time to crash its ears
Google's so smart it's discovered SHARKS HAVE TEETH
Congratulations, world media, for rediscovering submarine cable armour
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?