Content Filtering Trial

Discussions regarding new & existing plans and other Exetel initiatives
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NetworkAdmin
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Content Filtering Trial

Post by NetworkAdmin » Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:54 am

Starting 28 April, we will be trialling a content filtering system.

The purpose of the trial is to:

1. Allow our engineers and system administrators to understand the technology
2. Allow our customers to determine first hand the impact of one of the commercial products that could be used for the proposed Labor Party filter
3. Acquire knowledge of the issues relating to the implementation and costs of such a system

An outline of what the government plans is here:

http://www.dbcde.gov.au/communications_ ... afety_plan

Details of the filter system Exetel is trialling is here:

http://www.watchdoginternational.net/

An explanation of Exetel's implementation of the filter server is here:

http://steve.blogs.exetel.com.au/index. ... ering.html

We anticipate that the implementation of this NetClean system will have no impact for any end user. However, if you suspect you have been impacted, please post your experience here and we will investigate and report back.

Any opinions or comments relating to your personal views on government filtering should be directed to your local MP along with your promise that you will not vote Labor at the next election (comments unrelated to actual technical experiences will be deleted from this thread).

We are particularly interested to hear of any sites blocked that are 'false positives' - that is, sites that are blocked but are unlikely to be blocked because of illegal content. (Any site so blocked will be removed from the filter list as soon as it is reported).

If you access a blocked site, you will be directed to a 'block page' that will inform you that the site you are trying to access has been blocked. If you end up on the block page with a url you believe should not be directed there, then you can report it to filtertrial@exetel.com.au or on this thread.
Last edited by ForumAdmin on Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Edited to highlight purpose of this thread

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CoreyPlover
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by CoreyPlover » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:23 pm

One thing I think is important for readers to realise here is that this is not Exetel participating in Labor's live trial of mandatory filtering. From Steve's blog: "should sibling Rudd mandate it, we, the people who will have to put it in place at Exetel, need to know how to do that. So, agree with it in principle or not, a trial of the technology before that happens is a sensible thing to do."

I also note for any readers, the comments at http://steve.blogs.exetel.com.au/index. ... .html#c505 which states "There is no ability opt in/out."

And finally, I also note the comment at http://steve.blogs.exetel.com.au/index. ... .html#c521 which explains that the filtering works at two levels: only those sites pertaining to certain IP addresses are considered for filtering, at which point the URL is then examined to determine blockage. Therefore, it has the ability to filter individual pages within whole websites.

Steve, what level of filtering is the Watchdog filter server equivalent to, by comparison to the current live Labor trials. As I understand it, there are two "levels" to the live trial: illegal sites and then an extension to a "clean feed".

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Gidget
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by Gidget » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:50 pm

I have just deleted the first "off-topic" post from this thread and I hope it is the last.

As Steve very clearly stated in his initial post
Network Admin wrote:Any opinions or comments relating to your personal views on government filtering should be directed to your local MP (comments unrelated to actual technical experiences will be deleted from this thread).
If you have other than comments about technical experiences, this is not the thread for them.

Gidget

[Edit] I just deleted a second off-topic post. Seriously, stop wasting your time and mine by posting off-topic comments on this thread - start a new one if you believe you have something to offer which is unrelated to the sole raison d'etre for this thread.

[Edit 2] Since people seem incapable of starting a new thread to hold their off-topic discussions in, I have started one for you
http://forum.exetel.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=288&t=31837
and moved the last two off-topic posts to that new thread. I don't want to spend all night moving posts so please use the appropriate thread to make sure any comments you make are on-topic.
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or call Exetel VOIP numbers (02) 8030 1000 or 1300 788 141 (log faults 24x7)
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karLos
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by karLos » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:09 pm

what is the end date for the trial?

NetworkAdmin
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by NetworkAdmin » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:23 pm

karLos wrote:what is the end date for the trial?
The end date will be when the goals of the trial are achieved. Since it isn't exactly known what the results will be, neither is the end date. My expectation is a few days to a week.

ill_never_tell
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by ill_never_tell » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:54 pm

Few questions:

What exactly is going to be blocked? According to Steve's blog there is a mention of 198 IP addresses so far. But what does that mean? How many webpages per IP address, how many domains or URLs?

Will the list of 198 IPs expand at any point?

Who decides what content is to be blocked? What type of content is it ("illegal material", RC?) and who made that decision (private company or government body)?

Why is there no opt out? ... or opt-in?

Why has Exetel started "it's own trial" completely separate from government mandate and then said that it's users should complain to their local MP about it?

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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by ForumAdmin » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:24 pm

ill_never_tell wrote:
1) Will the list of 198 IPs expand at any point?

2) Who decides what content is to be blocked? What type of content is it ("illegal material", RC?) and who made that decision (private company or government body)?

3) Why is there no opt out? ... or opt-in?

4) Why has Exetel started "it's own trial" completely separate from government mandate and then said that it's users should complain to their local MP about it?
1) No.

2) It's a technical trial so it really doesn't matter. If ever a law is passed that requires Exetel to to use a list of sites then the Australian Federal Governent would be the only issuing authority.

3) Because an opt out/in system remains technically infeasible - only a 100% of connected users could, possibly, work.

4) Technical curiosity to check that our previous view that "nothing can work" is or is not correct. There is no point in holding a view that other reasonable people believe is incorrect.

4a) I wouldn't have thought that anyone could have read that statement to mean that we are recommending a customer to complain about Exetel trialling a new piece of hardware to their MP - however.......I will ask for it to be re-worded.

Our 'educated' guess is that NO Exetel user would notice anything at all in terms of speed degradation and that not one user will have a site blocked during this, time limited trial. Our interest is to see whether that is or is not the case.

ThatGuy
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by ThatGuy » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:48 pm

Is Exetel going to give us anything in return for being forced into a trial?
I ask mainly because I am going to be paying for something I, plain and simply, didn't sign up for.

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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by ForumAdmin » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:57 pm

ThatGuy wrote:Is Exetel going to give us anything in return for being forced into a trial?
I ask mainly because I am going to be paying for something I, plain and simply, didn't sign up for.
As above:

Our 'educated' guess is that NO Exetel user would notice anything at all in terms of speed degradation and that not one user will have a site blocked during this, time limited trial.

What you signed up for was an intenet service that operates at the fastest possible speeds at all times. This trial is simply part of the ongoing program that allows Exetel to deliver that - along with the myriad other initatives we have taken over the past 5 plus years.

ThatGuy
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by ThatGuy » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:29 pm

ForumAdmin wrote:
ThatGuy wrote:Is Exetel going to give us anything in return for being forced into a trial?
I ask mainly because I am going to be paying for something I, plain and simply, didn't sign up for.
As above:

Our 'educated' guess is that NO Exetel user would notice anything at all in terms of speed degradation and that not one user will have a site blocked during this, time limited trial.
I know your Educated guesses say that it won't do anything, so "in theory" nothing will happen. But "in theory" communism works, and we all know how that usually works out.
So IF it does, what are the contingency plans if it really messes up our connections or slows the internet down to a crawl

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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by ForumAdmin » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:31 pm

ill_never_tell wrote:Who decides what content is to be blocked?
It is immaterial - it's a trial of a concept not a trial of censorship. If you get a site blocked then let us know - in the mean time stop posting in this thread and get on with things that are useful to you. You, many tens of thousands of other Exetel users will not be inconvenienced in any way and we will learn, hopefuly, something useful.

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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by ForumAdmin » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:34 pm

ThatGuy wrote:
I know your Educated guesses say that it won't do anything, so "in theory" nothing will happen. But "in theory" communism works, and we all know how that usually works out.
So IF it does, what are the contingency plans if it really messes up our connections or slows the internet down to a crawl
We'll end the trial concluding that yet another filtering system doesn't work like all the rest we've looked at.

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vk3xem
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by vk3xem » Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:12 am

jokiin wrote:
ForumAdmin wrote: 3) Because an opt out/in system remains technically infeasible - only a 100% of connected users could, possibly, work.
it's a shame, would be nice to see it split and one half on a placebo filter and see who claims to be suffering speed issues :wink:
Who know's that possibly the case, but again we do not need to know all the details of the trial. Exetel could have easily chose to run this trial without notice and nobody would be the wiser, but as always we are given the heads up. At the end of the trial I also expect Exetel to release it's findings with what ever details are necessary for us all to see.

Thanks Exetel for the heads up, it will be interesting to see the results at the end of the trial. :D
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G-Box
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by G-Box » Tue Apr 28, 2009 8:42 am

Hello : - ) Has the filtering been activated as of this morning?
If no, could you please update the thread when the filtering system is operational?

Thanks

AlexErko
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Re: Content Filtering Trial

Post by AlexErko » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:40 am

I have not noticed any mention of what individual user records, if any, may be collected by or available to Exetel and / or its NZ filtering contractor, and / or what individual user records may be passed on to others in relation to this trial. More specifically, I have not noticed any mention of privacy in this trial announcement.

Would someone from Exetel urgently clarify this for us.

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