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Innovation in Information Security

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In the lead up to last year's national election in Australia there were a range of promises made by the incumbent government, under the name NetAlert, which was reported to be for a range of projects including Internet blocking software at the user end, tracking down online predators, and filtering of traffic on the network.

It seems that the new government has now taken the proposals one step further, moving to enforce the legislation that they pushed through at the start of this year. At the time of the NetAlert announcements, the opposition (now the government) were seen to be tacitly approving of the initial presentation and the Labor party had previously been ridiculed over their approaches to, and ideas of, online censorship.

Although the Federal Government has promised to listen to "the best advice", it seems that they are only listening to the advice that validates and otherwise affirms their approach to online censorship.

There have been accusations that the sudden rapid movement that has taken place is a result of appeasement of minor parties, particularly Family First, whose senator is key to the government being able to pass their bills through parliament smoothly and who had slammed the prior government's $89 million filtering program as being inadequate.

There is also reporting that the government is pressuring the silencing of dissenting voices. With increasing reporting on this proposal, the chorus of dissenting voices grows louder by the day.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, the technology being tested has demonstrated significant slowdowns for available network speed. The more that they try to filter, the greater the slowdown for end user, which could be up to 86% with one unnamed system.

There can be no other way to put it other than to suggest that these efforts are being pushed through out of an ignorance of the structure and nature of the Internet, even when accurate information is readily available.

It could be that those making the decisions can't differentiate between the arguments that the opposing sides are making (after all, both sides are talking about something the decision maker doesn't really understand) and so back the one that they feel is right (or best for their political ends).

28 October 2008

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