NetAlert filters not given a chance: Webroot

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NetAlert filters not given a chance: Webroot

The Rudd government has served an injustice on Internet users by prematurely cutting the previous government’s NetAlert family-side filter program and replacing it with an ‘unworkable’ plan for ISP-level net filters, according to security company Webroot.

The firm’s managing director for its Asia Pacific operations, Charles Heunemann, accused the Federal government of being ‘so hell-bent on discrediting the previous government’s scheme that it overlooked the portions of the scheme that may have worked’.

“The [previous] government had almost got it right with respect to supplying family-side filters,” said Heunemann.

“I think the mistake they made was waiting so long to put it together. They did it right at the end of their final term in office, and because one person was able to breach one of the filters on the list the whole scheme was tossed out the window before it was given a chance to work.
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“That was a real injustice, and now the current government is imposing a terrible injustice on the Australian public by pushing ISP-side net filters,” Heunemann said.

Heunemann said that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and his Department were proposing an ‘impossible’ and ‘unworkable’ scheme that would not afford the level of child protection that has been claimed.

He also argued that while some technical filtering is needed, the onus is on parents to effectively monitor their children’s use of the Internet – and filters can’t replace that.

“Conroy’s net filters are assuming the responsibility for child supervision. That’s really the parent’s responsibility,” said Heunemann.

He also said that the limitations of what could be filtered under the current government’s scheme would water down its effectiveness in tackling growing issues like cyber-bullying.

“A lot of cyber-bullying happens via things like instant messenger, which can’t be blocked by the filters,” said Heunemann.

“Having parental controls on the desktop is part of the answer, but I don’t believe blocking URLs at the ISP level will have any effect on limiting cyber bullying activity.”
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