The retail sales future of Internet filtering software has been put in doubt as the industry rails against confusion being created by the Government's Online Services Act which concerns Web censorship. With the Bill passed last week, pressure is mounting to decide the retail fate of Net filtering software.
Many retailers claim the Act, placing the responsibility of Web site content filtering with ISPs, will adversely affect retail sales of popular filtering programs.
"If content is effectively filtered as a result of this Bill, it will negate the need for filtering software," said Tony Gilchrist, software product manager of Queensland retailer Concorde Computers, prior to the Bill's passage through Parliament.
This view, affirmed by one Melbourne-based retailer who asked not to be named, claims the Bill will definitely affect retail sales as public consensus will dictate that any additional filtering software "won't be needed".
Despite 12 months of growing filtering software sales, Ian Mackay, managing director of software distributor Manaccom, claims the perception that parents "don't need" further filtering devices "must slow" future sales.
Anah Cameron, marketing communications manager at another software distributor, Dataflow, said it is a little early to tell what the real impact will be.
However, she is confident there will always be a need for filtering software regardless of the Bill.
Adequate blocking of unwanted content will remain a combination of ISP and end-user filtering, Cameron said.
As more and more ISPs already offer Net filtering as part of their service, Raszyd Szpalinski, manager of distributor Internet Junction, claims the heightened awareness created by the Bill will have a positive effect on retail sales.
As more consumers become aware that there is also software available that can block this kind of unwanted content, demand will increase, he said.