Australia's Great Web Filtering Experiment Begins in March

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The Australian is reporting that after months of delay Australia's government is finally set to begin its grand experiment in filtering the Internet, or â''boil the ocean,â'' as Telstra's chief operating officer Greg Winn describes it.

Of the 16 Internet providers agreeing to participate in the filtering trials, six (Primus Telecommunications, TECH 2U, Webshield, OMNIconnect, Netforce and Highway 1) have been chosen for the first pilot; however, none of the three largest Australian Internet providers (Telstra, Opus and iiNet) will be taking part. Telstra, Australia's largest Internet provider, refused to take part.

The six participating providers will begin their pilots in staggered fashion beginning in March and running into May, with each pilot lasting about six weeks. Another pilot using the other providers is expected to be run after this initial test phase.

According to The Australian,

â''The Government plans to introduce two levels of filtering: mandatory blocking according to the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) blacklist and an opt-in 'clean feed' that would automatically censor content, mostly adult material.â''

There are at least 1090 ACMA blacklisted URL's that will be included in the first filtering trials.

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