[Offtopic] Free government pornography filter

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sat Aug 25 16:15:11 EST 2007

Student cracks $84m porn filter

By Nick Higginbottom and Ben Packham,  August 25, 2007 12:30am

Schoolboy takes 30 minutes to bypass filter 
Leaves impression filter still working 
Cracks upgraded filter in 40 minutes 

A MELBOURNE schoolboy has cracked the Federal Government's new $84 million 
internet porn filter in minutes.

Tom Wood, 16, said it took him just over 30 minutes to bypass the 
Government's filter, released on Tuesday. 

Tom, a year 10 student at a southeast Melbourne private school, showed the 
Herald Sun how to deactivate the filter in a handful of clicks. 

Parents easily fooled

His technique ensures the software's toolbar icon is not deleted, leaving 
parents under the impression the filter is still working. 

A former cyber bullying victim, Tom feared a computer-savvy child could 
work out the bypass and put it on the Internet for others to use. 

Tom, who spoke to Communications Minister Helen Coonan about cyber safety 
during a forum in May, said the Federal Government should have developed a 
better Australian made filter. 

"It's a horrible waste of money," he said. 

"They could get a much better filter for a few million dollars made here 
rather than paying overseas companies for an ineffective one." 

Cracks replacement filter

In response to the Herald Sun's inquiries, the Government added an 
Australian designed filter, Integard, to the website yesterday, which Tom 
cracked within 40 minutes. 

Senator Coonan said the Government had anticipated children would try and 
find ways to get around the NetAlert filters, and suppliers were 
contracted to provided continuing updates. 

"The vendor is investigating the matter as a priority," Senator Coonan 

"Unfortunately, no single measure can protect children from online harm 
and ... traditional parenting skills have never been more important." 

Family First Senator Steve Fielding, a long-time campaigner for cyber 
safety, said cracking the software showed the need for compulsory 
filtering by Internet providers. 

"You need both. You need it at the ISP and at the PC level," Senator 
Fielding said. 

"The Government has not listened to common sense and it leaves kids 

The filters are designed to stop access to sites on a national blacklist, 
bar use of chat rooms, and can be tailored by parents to stop access to 

Filters 'don't address bigger issues'

Tom stressed the filters were missing the mark by a long way regardless of 
how easy they were to break. 

"Filters aren't addressing the bigger issues anyway," he said. 

"Cyber bullying, educating children on how to protect themselves and their 
privacy are the first problems I'd fix. 

"They really need to develop a youth-involved forum to discuss some of 
these problems and ideas for fixing them." 

The $189 million NetAlert scheme includes $84.4 million for the National 
Filter Scheme, plus funding for online policing, a help line, and 
education programs. 

The Government will also offer the option of filtering by internet service 

Under its filter program, households can download the filter from 
netalert.gov.au or have it sent out on to them. 

Cheers, people
Stephen Loosley
Victoria, Australia

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