Feeds

Australia's de-facto Internet filter may block 250k sites

Baldrick's cunning plan turns into live grenade

Boost IT visibility and business value

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), has told a hearing of the Australian Parliament's Senate Estimates committee that its attempt to block access to the IP address of one investment scam site could have blocked 250,000 sites in total.

The Commission told Estimates yesterday that it first conceived of the idea of using “section 313 notices” to attack investment scammers in 2012. By the kind of thundering coincidence that would destroy any detective novel, that was also about the time that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) started using the same regime to get Australia's largest ISPs to filter out content on the Interpol “worst of the worst” list. The AFP did so after Australia backed away from a policy to build a national internet filter.

However, ASIC said the AFP's actions had nothing to do with its decision, and that it had been considering ways to block investment cold-call scams for some time. The problem ASIC is trying to deal with is mass-calling campaigns launched by scammers who then direct victims to Websites, at which they register and hand over their money.

In its opening statement to the committee (Crikey has a copy here), ASIC said that in addition to the blocking of an IP address that took out 1,200 sites hosted at the same address, a similar request in March blocked 250,000 sites. In its defence, the commission said most of the URLs hosted at the target IP “appear to contain no substantive content” and that fewer than 1,000 “active” sites had been affected (El Reg presumes that the remaining 249,000 were parked domains).

The agency told Estimates its use of requests under Section 313 of the Telecommunications Act to have sites taken down was, in part, conceived because domain registries often responded slowly to its requests to pull scammers' registrations.

Here's some of the action from the hearing.

Watch Video

The Estimates session also proved conclusively that fax is not yet dead in Australia: the Section 313 request is in the form of a letter “faxed out to the telecommunications carriers”. ASIC focuses on the largest carriers only, on the basis that any retailers using their wholesale services will also be unable to serve blocked sites. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
Yes, Australia's government SHOULD store comms metadata
Not because it's a good idea but because it already operates the infrastructure and processes to do it well
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.