Only days after hundreds of Australian businesses are still trying to untangle themselves from the so-called UPS parcel virus, Federal Communications Senator Stephen Conroy has welcomed news “advances in filtering technology”.
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“The internet is a wonderful tool that is delivering benefits to increasing numbers of Australian families but the Government wants to find ways to make it safer, particularly for children. This report will assist the Government to deliver on its election commitment to create a safer online environment,” Senator Conroy said.
ISP filtering is one element of the Government’s $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, which also includes education, international cooperation, research and law enforcement.
“The next step is to test filter technologies in a real world environment with a number of ISPs and internet users,” Senator Conroy said.
Senator Conroy’s statements come just days after anti-virus vendor McAfee identified the UPS virus as a variant of Generic Downloader.ab and reported that it was also circulating in a message claiming to include nude pictures of Angelina Jolie. Symantec Security Response also catalogued it as Downloader.Diliv and Panda Security calls the Trojan virus Agent.JEN and notes that it has been in circulation since 2005. The resultant fall-out has been a crippling of a number of businesses both here as well as overseas.
Tests undertaken during the ACMA investigation found that the quality of ISP-level filtering technology has significantly improved compared with the technology used in a previous trial conducted in 2005.
“It is very encouraging to see that the industry has made significant progress with ISP filtering products and we are heartened that many of the products tested are commercially available, with many of them already deployed overseas,” a somewhat relieved Senator Conroy said.
The results in the ACMA trial were based on illegal and inappropriate content. The tests included filtering over and above simple black-list filtering, and the trial did not specifically test the impact of black-list filtering on its own.
“Filtering specifically against a black-list of illegal content as well as the ability to filter additional material will be one part of the upcoming pilot trial,” Senator Conroy said.
“We are interested to see the results of filtering in real-world conditions and I encourage ISPs to participate. This will enable the implementation of ISP filtering in Australia to be undertaken in an informed and effective way.”