Feeds

Oz net censorship apparatus to target BitTorrent

Peer to government filter, and then possibly to peer

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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?
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.