Feeds

Oz net censorship apparatus to target BitTorrent

Peer to government filter, and then possibly to peer

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.