Expert: Smaller ISPs will feel bite of mandatory filter

NICTA researcher and USYD professor warns that small ISPs will carry the heaviest burden if 'Clean Feed' is introduced.

A leading tech expert has warned that small Internet service providers (ISPs) could face huge expenses in purchasing and maintaining a mandatory filter, as proposed by the Federal Government.

Associate professor at the University of Sydney and senior researcher for one of Australia’s leading ICT research organisations (NICTA), Bjorn Landfeldt, said while large telcos had the staff and capital required to manage a compulsory blacklist, smaller ISPs probably would not.

“Australia has got a very heavy, long tail of very small ISPs. For all those ISPs, every dollar they have to spend and every minute they have to spend on something other than their core business is potentially very damaging for their business," he said.

“I would be surprised and interested to find out whether there are any solutions available that could be integrated and managed and run by the small players without any major impact.”

Landfeldt also that the small number of customers that took part in some of the trials negated the usefulness of any data gathered during the trial.

“If you only have 15 people that opted into the trial, I don’t know what you’d get out of that,” he said. “The burden of running the filter would be absolutely negligible.”

But contrary to the opinion of many other experts, Landfeldt claims the filter can be employed at major ISPs without dramatic slowdowns.

“British Telecom has implemented [a filter] for its entire organisation and from this we have for years now known from a technical perspective you can do this without any serious performance penalties.

“I believe the trial is fairly futile because we know that it can be done,” he said.

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