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Internet filter doomed to fail: report

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The Rudd Government’s proposed internet filter is doomed to fail, a new industry report says, despite the fact trials of the system are to start in the next few days.

The Rudd Government’s proposed internet filter is doomed to fail, a new industry report says, despite the fact trials of the system are to start in the next few days.

The news comes as the Government announced it will also attempt to block BitTorrent and peer-to-peer file sharing in the national filtering plan.

The report, commissioned by the Howard Government and prepared by the Internet Industry Association, says attempts to filter websites at the ISP level are inherently flawed.

The Rudd Government received the report in February but is yet to officially release it.

University of Sydney associate professor, Bjorn Landfeldt, who helped prepare the report, says the Government will not release the report because its findings are too critical of the filter plan.

“It’s definitely not going to be workable to get a very significant reduction in access to this [unwanted] content that is available out there – it’s fundamentally just not viable,” he told The Age.

The report also says censors will not be able to keep up with new websites, the cost is too high, while the filter will allow untargeted sites to be blocked and is easily avoided. It also argues it is unclear who would be accountable for legal sites accidentally blocked by the filter.

The report also raises concerns about the Government’s blacklist of “unwanted content”, a list of at least 10,000 sites which the Government intends to block and keep secret from the public.

Communications minister senator Stephen Conroy will not reveal why the report has not been released, and has refused to comment on why trials of the system are going ahead despite widespread opposition.

The Government also says it will attempt to block BitTorrent and peer-to-peer file sharing technologies, the principal method of pirating films and television programs.

Trials of the $44 million plan are due to begin with the next few days, but several ISPs, including Telstra, say they will not take part in the trials.

Related stories:

Proposed internet filter takes another hit
Why internet filtering is bad for business

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