Internet Filtering program to cost millions

Consumers could wind up footing the bill for the government’s scheme to censor the internet. According to reports in the Australian, funding toy install filters will only be included in the 2009-10 budgets.

Consumers could wind up footing the bill for the government’s scheme to censor the internet. According to reports in The Australian, funding to install filters will only be included in the 2009-10 budgets.

The Government has set aside $125.8 million for a range of internet security initiatives, including the filtering program, over the next four years. However $49 million of this has been allocated to law enforcement, with the rest spread amongst various projects including research and education programs leaving little for the new filter program.

The planned filter initiative will allow ISPs to block illegal websites such as those that provide child pornography. A pilot program is planned for this year.

“The pilot will enable the Government to collect evidence on the effectiveness of filtering systems in a real-world environment, and on the potential impacts on network performance and the costs to industry,” a spokesperson for Senator Conroy said.

The Howard Government had previously instigated a free national filter system at a cost to the tax payer sof $85 million dollars. The filters could be downloaded and installed on computers to shield children from dodgy internet sites. However only 110,000 copies of the program were ever downloaded.

It is feared that the new web filter program will shift the onus from government funding to that of the ISP – which when mandatory filtering laws kicked in, could cost small ISPs hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly forcing them to pass the cost onto the customer.

Source: The Australian

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