Internet filtering rebels hit Australia’s streets

Participants have created Facebook groups and a YouTube video to rally support and direct activists to the events

Opponents to the Australian government’s internet content filtering scheme are taking to the streets in a series of protests planned in state capitals.

The protests, organised by members from activist group the Digital Liberty Coalition, will be held at Sydney’s Town Hall, Brisbane Square, Melbourne’s State Library, Adelaide Parliament House, Perth’s Stirling Gardens and at Tasmania’s Parliament Lawns.

Participants have created Facebook groups and a YouTube video to rally support and direct activists to the events. Opposition and Greens senators have expressed interest in attending.

The government initiative, funded as part of the government’s A$125.8 million (NZ$153 million) cyber safety plan, will impose mandatory ISP-level internet content filtering nationwide, and will block web pages detailed in two blacklists operated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Prescribed filtering technology, short-listed following a July trial, will be tested again by ISPs over the Christmas period.

A spokesperson from one of the country’s largest ISPs, who requested anonymity, told Computerworld Australia he expects the filters to fail because the prescribed filtering technology is unsuitable for most networks.

Sources privy to the pilot’s EOI documents say the trial will be restricted to 12Mbit/s — a small fraction of ISP network connections — which they say will undermine the final test results.

Critics say even the most accurate filter, which returned a 94% accuracy rating, would incorrectly block up to 10,000 web pages out of every million.

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