Australia to Pilot Internet Censoring Plan

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The Australian government is planning to block access to up to 10,000 websites that it says (without irony) offer â''unwanted contentâ'' during a six week pilot test that is scheduled to begin just before Christmas. The government has said it has already identified 1,300 sites it wants blocked.

The filtering of Internet content was a campaign promise of the Rudd government which is now being fulfilled as part of its A$125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety.

Only one Australian ISP has heeded the call from the government to volunteer to participate in the pilot so far.

Critics of the plan argue that, â''â'¿ the filtering system would not work, would be patently simple to bypass, would not filter peer to peer traffic and would significantly degrade network speeds.â'' In an earlier trial this year, ISP and government tests showed that the web-filtering software slowed Internet access by up to 86%.

Critics are also unhappy that the government wants to make Internet filtering mandatory for all Australians, rather than being optional, as it claimed previously.

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