ISP-level filter trial vendor happy with results

Company at the heart of 6 of 9 ISP's content filter trials expresses satisfaction with results

The vendor that provided filtering products to six of the nine ISPs participating in the Federal Government's controversial ISP-level content filtering trial says the results show the technology works.

After much delay the Federal Government yesterday released the results of Enex TestLab’s test pilot into mandatory ISP-level content filtering, finding that a technically competent user could circumvent filtering technology based on ACMA’s blacklist.

According to the report, initially all filters had issues with loading the ACMA blacklist indicating a need for routine checking to ensure the blacklist is filtered correctly with each update.

On the up side, testing also revealed that ISPs filtering only the ACMA blacklist during the trial had no noticeable performance degradation that could be attributed to the filter itself.

M86 vice-president Asia-Pacific, Jeremy Hulse, welcomed the findings and said it countered theories that Internet speeds would be affected. The vendor provided its off-the shelf 8e6 R3000 Internet Filtering product to six ISPs for the trial along with advice on implementation. However, each of the ISPs configured the product independently.

"It debunks the theory that by having any form of filtering you are actually going to slow down and increase latency – that is not the case," Hulse said about the Enex report. "From a technology perspective I think it was great it showed it was there. But the real thing for the politicians to do is the policy; how it is implemented and how it is run. The biggest thing that came out of it on that side of it was there are many ways you can put a filtering solution in. Some are going to be very effective and some not so effective."

On the back of the Enex findings that filtering only the ACMA blacklist during the trial had no noticeable performance degradation that could be attributed to the filter itself, Hulse cautioned that care needed to be taken in designing the configuration if more extensive filtering was pursued.

"One of the things for me was if they filter just the blacklist then there were a few technologies that could cope with that," he said. "If they then go and offer the extended filtering, putting in more granular controls and rules in for child protection, etc, which is probably where they want to go, the are going to have to be very careful about the technologies they choose."

On the question of technically competent users being able to circumvent the filter, Hulse was adamant the technology could be configured to prevent this.

"It is interesting the level of ability to get around the filter for people that know what they are doing. Interestingly I would say we could configure that to make it a lot lower than the actual results they got," Hulse said. "We could give 100 per cent and that's because of the techniques of the configuration. It is how it is implemented in your environment that is critical."

The full Enex Testlab report can be viewed online.

You can also see how the 8e6 R3000 Internet Filtering product works on the M86 website.

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