Government internet filters are 'stone age'

Coffs Coast It consultant Daniel Myles says government internet filtering plans are a disaster waiting to happen.
Coffs Coast It consultant Daniel Myles says government internet filtering plans are a disaster waiting to happen.

INTERNET filtering will be catastrophic for local business and send broadband back to the Stone Age, according to one Coffs Coast IT consultant.

Daniel Myles, who has worked as an IT consultant in New Zealand and has since started his own business back in Coffs Harbour, said the Federal Government’s proposed mandatory internet filtering service is a disaster waiting to happen.

"It just won’t work. People hear ‘blocking child pornography’ and of course they think it’s a good thing – but the technology just isn’t there. This service will slow broadband down by up to 87 per cent, " he claimed.

The service, aimed at quashing internet child pornography, will see a blanket mandatory national filter placed on the internet, blocking ACMA blacklisted sites completely, as well as other "unwanted material."

Expressions of interest for participation in a field trial of the service have been called.

But Mr Myles said while the logic behind the filters was a great, there simply isn’t the technology to support it.

"No one is arguing with their motives – we’re all in support of stopping child pornography, but this isn’t the way to do it. This is actually going to make child pornographers harder to catch, becuase they’ll go further underground," he said.

"You don’t even need to use the freedom of speech argument – there are so many technological reasons that this won’t work.

"If this goes through, it will be a disaster for anyone who uses the internet; local businesses, government departments, anyone who relies on high speed broadband. Basically, people will be paying more for less – we’ll be back to dial-up speeds."

"Senator (Stephen Conroy, Communications Minister) has said the system is similar to those in the UK and Sweden – that’s a flat out lie. If the government puts in place a mandatory filtering system, it will be in line with countries like China, Sudan and Iran."

Senator Conroy said yesterday the Government was aware of concerns about the impact on broadband, which was why they would be running a field trial.

"The upcoming field pilot of ISP filtering technology will look at a range of filtering solutions, and technical issues, including effectiveness, ease of circumvention, the impact on internet access speeds and cost," he said.

"This is not an argument about free speech...we have laws about the sort of material that is acceptable across all mediums and the internet is no different. Currently, some material is banned and we are simply seeking to use technology to ensure those bans are working."

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