Aust filtering trial disrupts users' broadband

Dylan Bushell-Embling
23 Oct 2009

A discussion paper posted, and then quickly removed, from the website of the company behind Australia's controversial ISP-level filtering trial suggests the pilot is not going smoothly.

The paper pre-empts the official report into the federal government's filtering trial, which is being conducted in co-operation with several ISPs using filtering technology from Watchdog International.

Watchdog's white paper, which has been captured and re-published by Wikileaks, discloses that customers from multiple ISPs participating in the pilot had services disrupted by malfunctions of the filtering technology.

The filter, for example, was initially unable to block any URL to the right of a “?” character. This had the temporary effect of blocking all YouTube URLs for every network user participating in the trial.

In a separate problem, blocking an individual YouTube video would seriously affect the performance of some of the hybrid BGP filtering systems tested during the trial.

“These systems route all of the traffic from the target ISP network that is destined for the IP addresses of these sites through the filter, which it is not designed to do,” the paper reads.

The system tested was also unable to parse URLs longer than 200 characters, and any URL larger than that would cause an error.

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