Networking integrator, Minopher, will host its own Internet filtering hacking classes for the public.
This move comes after Clear Computers owner, David Campbell, held filter ‘hacking master classes’ for the elderly at various events run by euthanasia advocacy group, Exit International.
It is a direct act of defiance against the Federal Government’s proposed Internet filter which is said to block out refused classification (RC) and illegal material such as child pornography. But the scope of refused classification remains vague and the clean-feed has been criticised as a tool for censorship.
Minopher is based in Victoria and has provided Internet services since 1996.
“A number of our customers have an interest in what the Government is trying to do and how to get around it,” said Minopher director, Chris Hurley, who contacted Campbell for information on his lessons.
The integrator has run introductory networking classes for its clients in the past. They touched on methods to bypass the filter. The plan is to flesh out that component and turn it into a fully-fledged course.
IT consultant and Minopher sub-contractor, Jason Leggo, is working with Hurley on the project. The pair have decided to structure it as a networking and Internet course with a strong focus on circumventing Internet filtering rather than just a straight ‘hacking’ class.
Minopher will trial classes on corporate clients in two weeks. Public lessons are expected to begin mid-next month at the City of Casey council offices, south-east of Melbourne.
Depending on the popularity of the classes, the integrator is considering taking the course nationwide.
While Minopher is charging $346 per head for corporate clients, it hopes to cut a deal with local councils to use their premises without cost so the company can host free lessons for the public.
“The corporate course will be more in-depth and technical,” Leggo said. “The public one will be more of technical layout of what Internet filtering actually does, how it does it, and a brief rundown of the policy. It will teach people ways to get around it.
“We want to show the futility of it all but won’t be pushing the idea. We will present the facts and let people make their own decisions about it.”
The lessons are not entirely philanthropic and Minopher expects to conduct some business along the way.
“We might even get some new clients through this as well and double our client base in the next 12 months,” Leggo said.
While Leggo had fears his would be vilified over his anti-filter initiative, he is determined to see it through.
“Initially, when the subject came up and [Minister for Broadband, Stephen] Conroy painted anybody opposing the filter as child porn supporters, I did get a shudder in my soul,” he said. “But to be honest, it is too big a subject to back off from.”
Leggo said there were a lot of misconceptions about the filter even amongst his peers in the IT industry. He hoped the pending course would educate people as well as offer ways to circumvent the proposed filter.
“Everybody has their own idea on how the filter is going to work. It’s really horrifying me at the moment,” he said. “It’s shocking we’re spending all this money and the Government is going its way without the general public, or a certain percentage of it, not knowing what is going on.”