Enex have just presented the results of their analysis of the ISP-filtering trials; the Government’s test on Internet censorship. Here is my selective summary of the Executive Summary:
There were two parts to the test; ‘protecting’ people against the sites the Government blacklists and filtering out sites that are not on the blacklist (if you don’t do that, you may as well not bother, as new sites are cropping up every miinute, I mean second).
As you’d expect, the systems all blocked the blacklist sites. If you know a URL, it’s easily blocked. As you’d also expect, trying to dynamically block sites is just not going to work. Enex claim that 80% of undesirable sites were blocked with the dynamic filtering. Leaving 20% of sites getting through the net. Not exactly a success. Improving the accuracy of this filtering, say Enex, will degrade Internet performance. This we knew.
Only 2/3 of customers said they would ‘probably or definitely’ continue to use such filtering. Given that these people volunteered to use the technology and are obviously in favour of filtering, it’s a very poor result.
Telstra did not even test the filtering option, saying it can be circumvented and it is not effective in blocking IM conversations/file transfers or Peer-to-Peer programs. This we already knew and Enex confirmed these conclusions.
It was always a ‘look at me’ government initiative designed to win votes from the family sector. It was also never going to work, as every informed tech-commentator said when it was floated. Incredibly, instead of the government acknowledging the idiocy of this initiative and pulling the pin on it, they are imposing mandatory filtering on ISPs. Incredible.