Re: Content Filtering Trial

Open discussion regarding technological or telecommunication issues
mickos
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Location: NSW

Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by mickos » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:33 pm

NetworkAdmin wrote:
mickos wrote: The reason I ask what has just been deleted, is according to the maker of the whiteboxes, Christian Sjöberg, there are specific arrangements written into the licence agreement preventing using the box to block anything other than child abuse pages. When Peter Mancer recommends Australian ISP's load the ACMA blacklist, it appears to be in direct contravention of the licencing agreement on the hardware. If the forum is soliciting users to publish blocked links, it is pertinent for users to know with some surety beforehand what the likelihood is that a blocked link published on the forum will itself be prohibited content.
You should take it up directly with Mr Sjöberg and Mr Mancer if that is your concern.
Gentlemen, I am certainly not my brother's keeper in any commercial sense - and my business relationship is with Exetel in any case. Which is why I asked, if Exetel is unwilling to divulge which specific blacklist it is imposing for the duration of the trial, surely at very least it should be capable of stating whether the blacklist consists of prohibited content (in Australia), or not? If a blocked link is to prohibited content, how can one realistically expect a subscriber to publish the url in a public forum? It would be more sensible to report it directly to the AFP or the ACMA.

Orkon
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by Orkon » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:40 am

OMG OMG OMG - Quick Put on the Tin Foil Hats!

Reality of the situation is this - Labour (or more specifically Senator Conroy) are pushing Australian ISP's to filter any traffic that would reach a home/business in Australia. If the Australian Government push ahead with the proposal, ALL ISP will have 0 choice but to implement a non optional filtering system or face consequences. As to what would be banned etc - that would be up to the particular Australian Government Department.

What Exetel have done is this - Inform users that Exetel are performing a private trial of a potential filtering implementation IF/WHEN/AT ALL the Federal Government decides to force filtering on this country's data. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a test internet - so anything like this has to be tested in a live scenario. Is it ideal - no - but its reality. As they have stated - if something happens where something legitmate is blocked or you notice your service is affected go to the official thread and post. It's precisely why they are conducting the trial - to see what problems will occur

As to what lists are being used by the NZ company - why does it matter? Generally the Governments of this Era dealing with Digital Information Exchange tend to share the core of the same information. So whether it's a UK/US or a AUS list, 80% of the sites being banned would be the same. ISP's have 0/NO say in what url's get onto the banned list - its determined by government bureaucrats.

Personally I am not happy with the Labour Government pushing content filtering without choice. But Exetel potentially don't have a choice either if all this goes ahead in the future. I'd rather support Exetel now when they have the time to get it right rather than have the legislation pass and have no service for weeks while Exetel find a solution under the gun.

Beaso
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Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:36 am
Location: Brisbane

Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by Beaso » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:17 pm

One simple question...

Why didn't I get an email regarding this?

NetworkAdmin
Exetel Staff
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by NetworkAdmin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:28 pm

Beaso wrote:One simple question...

Why didn't I get an email regarding this?
You will.

NB1
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:10 pm
Location: Newcastle

Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by NB1 » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:36 pm

I posted this to Steve's blog, who suggested it may be beneficial to post this to the forums.

I'm not here to object to the filtering, legislated by government or otherwise, but purely to poke at the technical side of it. The use of BGP to essentially hijack the traffic destined for blacklisted content however is without a doubt clever, purely because of its simplicity. Specifically in that it will alleviate any of the congestion or load implemented by straight out HTTP proxying.

It does however pose a couple questions. Using Wikipedia as an example;

1. I'm reading conflicting stories. I'm presuming in the event that traffic destined for a blacklisted IP is then run through a bunch of ACL's by Watchdog's infrastructure which allows for URL based filtering. Please feel free to correct me on this

2. If a Wikipedia page is deemed to require blacklisting, does this not require Exetel to accept prefixes for all subnets maintained by Wikipedia, based on Wikipedia's use of front end proxy / load balancing - a common scenario in any large website

3. Any traffic destined for a blacklisted IP is at the mercy of capacity between Exetel and Watchdog, and Watchdog and the greater Internet is it not? Therefor a blacklisted Youtube video (Working on the above logic) would mean all Youtube traffic is suddenly served via Watchdog / capacity out of NZ. Of course this could be overcome by Exetel using Watchdog / Vendor of the week appliances locally

Comment most appreciated :)

Beaso
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Location: Brisbane

Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by Beaso » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:39 pm

NetworkAdmin wrote:
Beaso wrote:One simple question...

Why didn't I get an email regarding this?
It is not a service impacting event.
Unless it does, which is what the trial is for, yes?

Personally I applaude Exetel on being proactive regarding the governments possible incursion on our liberties, by trialling filtering software before it is (possibly) made compulsory by the government. But surely an email advising customers would be in order, if nothing else to explain Exetel's methodology, reasoning and position regarding internet filtering/censorship.

edit: that was a quick edit Network Admin, first you say we don't need an email, now you changed to we will get one soon.

NetworkAdmin
Exetel Staff
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by NetworkAdmin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:54 pm

NB1 wrote:I posted this to Steve's blog, who suggested it may be beneficial to post this to the forums.
Thank you for reposting.
I'm not here to object to the filtering, legislated by government or otherwise, but purely to poke at the technical side of it. The use of BGP to essentially hijack the traffic destined for blacklisted content however is without a doubt clever, purely because of its simplicity. Specifically in that it will alleviate any of the congestion or load implemented by straight out HTTP proxying.

It does however pose a couple questions. Using Wikipedia as an example;

1. I'm reading conflicting stories. I'm presuming in the event that traffic destined for a blacklisted IP is then run through a bunch of ACL's by Watchdog's infrastructure which allows for URL based filtering. Please feel free to correct me on this
Yes, that's it in a nutshell as I understand it too.
2. If a Wikipedia page is deemed to require blacklisting, does this not require Exetel to accept prefixes for all subnets maintained by Wikipedia, based on Wikipedia's use of front end proxy / load balancing - a common scenario in any large website
I would think so. If round-robin DNS was used tor the same content on a number of server IP's, each /32 host address would need to be announced.
3. Any traffic destined for a blacklisted IP is at the mercy of capacity between Exetel and Watchdog, and Watchdog and the greater Internet is it not? Therefor a blacklisted Youtube video (Working on the above logic) would mean all Youtube traffic is suddenly served via Watchdog / capacity out of NZ. Of course this could be overcome by Exetel using Watchdog / Vendor of the week appliances locally
Yes, for the trial, or a small ISP that will be fine. In a production implementation however, I think the filter server(s) would be hosted directly by the ISP, who would dimension the server capacity and bandwidth to match expected/measured traffic.

NetworkAdmin
Exetel Staff
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by NetworkAdmin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:03 pm

Beaso wrote:
NetworkAdmin wrote: It is not a service impacting event.
Unless it does, which is what the trial is for, yes?
In that case it would be an unplanned event, and treated as a network fault. Sure, something unexpected can never be ruled out, but it is hard to see how 180 odd host addresses out of the billion or so that make up the Internet is going to have any sort of impact on the network overall.

Dozens of routine, non service impacting operations are done every day on any network of any size. It would be tedious in the extreme to send notices about all of them.

Posting notice on the forum in this case is not because we think there may be any problem, rather, end user feedback (particularly false positives) is an important part of the trial.

Anyway, a notice is being sent now that the passive part of the trial is about to end and we expect to turn the filter to active later this afternoon. Should, against all expectation, there be any service impact, it can be turned off within a minute.

kondro
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 10:31 am

Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by kondro » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:11 pm

And who will be paying for this bandwidth to the Government filter? If Telstra prices are anything to go by, I can just see bandwidth pricing being $2,000/Mbps for data transferred from the filter.

And what happens when the blacklist starts to include content from sites like YouTube, Blogspot, LiveJournal & Photobucket? Now, any caching mechanisms that have been put in place by the ISP for content like this will no longer be used. Relying on the proxy to utilise similar caching techniques.

And let us not forget the fact that IP addresses are constantly changing based on the requirements on underlying network infrastructure (especially for sites using some type of CDN like Akamai).

This whole concept seems like a really bad idea. Not just from a censorship point of view, but also from a blocking point of view. Can the Government really expect us to believe that all the illegal content on the world is hosted from 198 - 1000 IP addresses worldwide?

doylep
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Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 4:43 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by doylep » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:35 pm

Exetel,
Please note that the Australian Labor Party is not actually the same thing as the Australian Government. So when referring to the decision makers behind the potential filtering requirements please don't call them Labor (even though of course that is their political affiliation).
I am not a political party member, just a pedant.
I do actually object to the filtering proposals.
PJD

gong_guy
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by gong_guy » Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:43 pm

I have to say personally I am not in favour of this whole thing. The no opt out is disturbing.

But to stay on technical issues, according to Whirlpool the Exetel solution is not compatible with the Govts preferred method.

IF that is correct then what is the point of this trial?

ForumAdmin
Exetel Staff
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by ForumAdmin » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:23 pm

gong_guy wrote:I have to say personally I am not in favour of this whole thing. The no opt out is disturbing.

But to stay on technical issues, according to Whirlpool the Exetel solution is not compatible with the Govts preferred method.

IF that is correct then what is the point of this trial?
We have stated the point of this trial.

generalUser
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:12 am
Location: gold coast

Internet filtering

Post by generalUser » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:43 am

This note on filtering of the internet,
I feel that this should be done by parents and those with less exsperience (programs could be made available to help in this respect, free of course)and dont want the annoyance of sex explicit popping up in front of them or their children, by geezeees learn a bit or just watch your kids, it's a bit damn lazy not to and then cause the whole damn thing to be thrust on all the rest, and there would be more of them/us to be sure. I have been on the net for a number of years and have always found a way around and I mean avoiding what you do not want. Get it together and do it yourself.
The real reason which you are allowing to happen due to this is that they (gov etc) are doing what they want to do and that is to stop or decrease the flow of data and information which those who control the world (bilderberger's etc) do not want passed around which could hamper the way in which they want to control us. Dont play the game for them, learn something for christ sake.
This annoys the heck out'a me.

James D

Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by James D » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:27 am

It is important to note that the below comment reflects my thoughts and not those of Exetel.

I have been involved with internet/IT/Hosting for the best part of the last 8 years. Now I agree that filtering should be done at home, but with that being said I know alot of people who have children that are in the "computer" generation and the parents know just enough about computer to do their work and nothing much beyond that. Children these days (and anyone that is computer smart will be able to get around any filter that the government might want to put in place, with very little trouble.

I think that as a nation it is a waste of money and time to set up filtering on every ISP, when 1/2 of the money could be used if they wanted to push ahead with the pissing away of money and make the major IP bandwidth providers do it. One IP bandwidth provider could service over 20 ISP's so the filtering could be handled once and not 20 times?

From a technical side I think that Exetel is seeing what will happen "if" they had to turn it on tomorrow and to see the "real" effects of such a move on the network and customers. While there are some that are complaining about having their "rights" taken away from them without agreeing to it, and that Exetel should be testing in a lab setting should sit back and relax for a minute to understand the differences between a lab and a live network.

At the end of the day a lab will never deliver the same results as a live network, for the simple fact that a live network will change every minute of every day and in a lab they would be controlled and they do not produce the best results. While the filter will only be on for a few days it will be interesting to see if there is any impact on a live network and it will be even more interesting to see if it will cause any issues for customers.

Now on the extreme hand I agree with a lot of people in saying that the filter is not required and that it is a waste of money, BUT, if we have to have it then I think there should be an independent body that looks after what is on the list, a department that is not controlled by the government and that will have the authority to add and remove sites / addresses from the list. Now I think that one of the most important things is that sites can be removed, as we have all herd about the dentist that was on the blacklist from the government, and why? Because the site was hacked at some stage with pornographic material inserted onto the pages. How that has since been fixed but the site is still on the list. There needs to be a review process for the whole thing and it needs to be done separately from the government.

I will also make this note, the government if they go through with the filtering, I could almost bet anything that there will be no opt-out, it will be an all on all the time.

Those are my thoughts.

WhitePhoenix
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Location: Chelsea

Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by WhitePhoenix » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:23 pm

Personally feel disgusted that this trial is being carried out without users being given the option to opt out. I oppose the internet filter for ethical reasons more than technical ones. When I move house in the next few months, Exetel's participation in the trial will weigh heavily on my decision as to whether or not I change service provider.

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