Should You Participate In Net Filter Trials?

Now that Optus has joined the government’s controversial mandatory Web filtering trial , a lot more people are potentially going to be included than with the original list of small ISPs. But with Optus offering an opt-out option, the question arises: should you say yes or no if you get asked to participate?

Nick at our sibling site Gizmodo is unequivocally in the no camp:

Despite Optus stating that they want to play a proactive role in the trial to measure the impact of filtering technologies, the truth is that filtering trials have already been done before and told us that these technologies DO have a negative impact on performance. Not to mention the simple fact that, as any real anti-virus software company will tell you, filtering through a blacklist isn’t an effective way to stop access to internet nasties.

There’s not a word in there I disagree with, but the fact remains: if the government had taken notice of those prior studies, there wouldn’t be a trial running right now. As such, it might make more sense to ensure that the testing is on as large a volume of users as possible, in order to show just how nasty the whole thing gets as it attempts to scale up.

Bottom line: it’s not a clear-cut decision, even though the concept it’s testing is manifestly stupid. What do you think? Share your views in the comments.


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