Internet Filters Essay

1122 words - 4 pages

The invention of the internet has been one of the major advances of the modern world. It has allowed people from all over the globe to communicate with each other and ideas to be shared. In addition to this it is a free platform. Unlike television and radio it doesn’t cost anything to put your idea on the internet, making it a base of personal expression. This freedom coupled with the global access attracts around a billion users worldwide. Unfortunately, just as easily as the information is produced it is abused. The internet, although mostly used appropriately does harbour all manner of illegal activities. These range from phishing scams, trying to steal someone’s personal details, viruses, malicious code that attacks a person’s computer and websites that are morally questionable or illegal under Australian law. To combat this, the Rudd government has started action to impose an internet service provider level internet filter. An internet service provider is any company that provides internet services to its customers. Most notable of these is Telstra which is one of the top internet service providers in Australia. This filter will prevent a list of websites, the blacklist, from being accessed in Australia. In theory this is an excellent plan, but in reality, once implemented it will have little effect on preventing the illegal activity which occurs on the internet. The major arguments against the proposed filter are, cost of the filter, the ineffectiveness of the filter to stop illegal activity and the possibility of the blacklist expanding to block anti-government websites.
A major flaw of the proposed filter is the futility to prevent crime. The internet is a massive network of computers and web pages are just one use of this. There are many other forms of communication that exist on the internet. For example, peer to peer file sharing, more commonly referred to as P2P, is a method of sharing files over the internet and a possible avenue of illegal activity . However, the proposed internet filter does nothing to prevent the sharing of illegal files, including, child pornography, copyrighted films, music and many other things that are not only illegal under Australian law, but international law as well. Another method of communication is a VPN , virtual private network. This is where two or more computers are connected together as though they were a part of a local network. Each computer has direct access to the other regardless of the location. This means files can be shared with every computer on the network. Not only is file sharing easy but this network is extremely secure. Due to this VPNs are used by many businesses including banks, the government and universities. Under the proposed filter these also won’t have any restrictions placed on them , thus allowing another haven for illegal activity. Lastly, an extension to the website protocol HTTP is HTTPS . This is a secure connection between a user and a website often used for internet...

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