Australian Web and BitTorrent Filtering Scheme Delayed

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The proposed Australian Internet filter is causing controversy before it even gets off the ground. The trial, which is to include attempted BitTorrent blocking, was due to start two days ago but generating further embarrassment for the government and surprising no-one, it failed to launch.

Trials for the ‘great firewall of Australia’ were due to start a couple of days ago but adding to other concerns, the testing has been delayed. Developed ostensibly for the protection of minors, there is widespread concern that not only will it fail in its stated primary aim, but will affect regular net users from going about their business by slowing everything down. The government even plans to attempt the blocking of BitTorrent traffic.

According to a report, the Federal Opposition says it is “not surprised” that the government’s filtering scheme has been delayed. The latest update is that the trial will commence mid-January 2009, with the ISPs involved being announced at the same point.

iiNet, one of Australia’s largest ISPs, has been most vocal about the minimal chances of success for the filtering scheme, even going as far as to say that it was only participating in the trials to show that it will fail. iiNet chief Michael Malone even labeled the architect of the plan, Broadband Minister Stephen Conroy, as “the worst Communications Minister we’ve had in the 15 years since the [Internet] industry has existed.”

An Australian Senate member since July 1993 and previously the Shadow Minister for Defense, Nick Minchin is the Shadow Minister for Broadband and he believes that the filtering system would drastically slow down the Internet.

He told ABC, “The laboratory trial that the Government conducted this year showed potential effect on speed of up to 87 per cent slowdown in the speed of the internet, he said, adding “And this is from the Government that wants to install a National Broadband Network so we can all have high speed broadband.”

“I think that’s a major flaw in the scheme but there are many, many others.”

So, three weeks from now the trial is supposed to start. It won’t take a fourth week to realize that it is doomed to fail.

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