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Filtering scheme unworkable, says IIA report

18 January, 2009
By Allison Orr

According to an article in The Age, a report commissioned by the Howard Government and prepared by the Internet Industry Association has found that filtering schemes to block Internet content are fundamentally flawed and will significantly slow Internet speeds, by up to 87 per cent.

The report was apparently handed to the Government in February last year, but has been kept secret.  One of the authors of the report, University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt, believes that it was not released because the conclusions were too damaging.

Some of the problems with the Government’s filtering scheme raised in the report include the easy ability of users to circumvent filters; the problem of keeping the blacklist of blocked sites up-to-date; the high possibility that entire user-generated sites such as YouTube and Wikipedia will be blocked due to a single video or article; and of course, the slowing of network speeds.  In addition, the problem remains that so many young people primarily use peer-to-peer networks such as chat rooms, and filtering does not make these areas safer.

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