An IT reseller is launching a cloud-based proxy server provisioning service to fight the Federal Government’s proposed Internet filter.
ProxyMate.net founder, Chris Bell, said his website will kick-off this month with the help of fellow Web developers. He has been in the IT industry for 18 years and works full-time as a systems administrator. Proxy services are nothing new and have been used to overcome filters in countries such as China and Dubai.
Bell claimed the filter will give Australian parents a false sense of security as it will do little to protect children against ‘inappropriate’ material. His website will use the Amazon Web Service (AWS) to provision a dedicated proxy server for each user to bypass Internet filters anonymously. The server will then ‘self-destruct’ after the user has finished.
ProxyMate.net will charge users $0.20 per hour depending on download usage. The concept had been on the backburner for several months but Bell kicked things into high gear as discussions on the proposed ISP-level clean-feed started to heat up.
“It is a cloud service that can be charged per hour and per MB,” he said.
ProxyMate.net is currently a bare-bone site but Bell intended to get the service up and running soon. An application programming interface (API) is ready to be deployed but a billing service has yet to be implemented.
While there was initially some commercial motivation behind ProxyMate.net, it has since shifted focus. Bell said he had no intentions to get rich from ProxyMate.net and was only doing this to prove a point.
“There is probably a business opportunity in there but I’ll leave it for somebody with more time to put into it than I do,” he said.
Instead, Bell wanted the website to be a hub for filtering information and his proxy service to be a tool to educate customers on how “easily, cheaply and securely circumventing a filter can be done without actually creating anything”.
“I have a real job so I’m not interested in a high-maintenance website,” Bell said. “The idea is anybody can use it and all the billing infrastructure and systems are handed off to third-parties.
“All the tools are already out there to bypass the filter.”
Bell hoped to develop a completely self-serviced website where billing and provisioning would be automated through a one-page online application form. ProxyMate will have an emphasis on providing a secure proxy service for users.
“People need to realise there are security risks involved with using proxies, but we offer something more secure,” Bell said. Also on the cards is a proxy service, which locks computers into a clean-feed as a tool for parents to control content access by their children.
Bell’s anti-filter stance complements The Pirate Party member and Newcastle-based reseller, David Campbell, who have begun offering classes on how to bypass Internet filters. Systems integrator, Minopher, is also looking to host its own filter circumvention classes.
If the mandatory filtering bill is passed, a clean-feed will be imposed onto Australia which will block refused classification (RC) material. So far, the Government has yet to ratify the standards for labelling RC content.
The filter plan was recently criticised by a University of Sydney academic for being short-sighted.