Internet filter ISPs reveal clean-filter technologies

Several Internet filter scheme participants confirm what appliance they are using for the government trial

Six of the nine Internet service providers participating in the Government’s content filter trial are using a Marshal8e6 solution.

Despite several delays and hiccups along the way, the Federal Government’s Internet filter trial has progressed at a steady pace. Last month, several participating ISPs reported that they were well underway while one had yet to implement the filtering equipment.

A Netforce spokesperson revealed it is using Marshal8e6 but could not specify the product. Tech2U, OMNIConnect, Webshield and Nelson Bay Online have also confirmed with ARN that they have taken on a Marshal8e6 R3000 series Web monitoring, filtering and reporting package.

A spokesperson for Primus Communication said it was also using the same set-up but later retracted the statement due to uncertainty over information sensitivity.

The appliance-based product is used by corporate networks and ISPs. It touts a pass-by technology that, the vendor claims, does not inhibit the original data stream to prevent impact on performance. Through signature-blocking, the product is capable of filtering peer-to-peer (P2P), instant messaging, anonymous proxies and online gaming.

In the US, the R3000 set-up is most popular with educational institutions. Local Marshal8e6 vice-president, Jeremy Hulse, cited strong Australian interest from the same sector.

Webshield was already a filtered service provider before the content filter scheme. Managing director, Anthony Pillion, said the company is using a combination of clean-feed technologies for a circumspect result.

“Different technologies are best-of-breed at online filtering,” he said. “8e6 is good at Web content alone while others are good at Internet traffic. Web filtering is more granular and flexible than just blocking a black list and we haven’t stopped at Web content level.

“We can deal with P2P as well as chat protocols and circumvention technologies. All of those things require slightly varied technology that will bring the best result to what we are trying to achieve for our customers.”

Highway1 was the only ISP to confirm it is committed to another Web filtering technology.

“For diversity, we decided to do something different,” general manager, Nicholas Power, said. “When we were doing our research, we knew some people were using the 8e6 pack but I would prefer there were as many diverse solutions as possible.”

Optus and Unwired declined to comment on what tools they have implemented for the filter trial.

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