Thursday, 6 September 2007

NetAlert making the internet safe for Australian families.. sort of.

It took $84 million for the Australian government to create a free internet filter for families across the country and it apparently took Tom Woods, a 16 yearold less than 30mins to hack it.

Trying to protect children from the evil side of the internet is an uphill battle, I for one would not like to be handed that task. That said spending a total of $189 million on "NetAlert – Protecting Australian Families Online" I get the impression that the money could have been better spent. There are 2 main reasons why this was always going to fail:-

1. For anyone that has children or has been a child themselves at some stage (thats pretty much all of us by my calculations) telling a kid they CAN'T do something, just makes them work harder to prove the grownups wrong.

2. Parents by and large are less computer savvy than their children. This being the case it makes perfect sense that the first thing a kid is going to do when they find out their parents have installed NetAlert is Google "how to bypass NetAlert".

By my reckoning, if the Australian government had have launched a competition at DefCon offering an $84mil prize for the best software filter they would have received thousands of entries all of which would have been far more secure than the current offering. They may have even forced the 16 yearold to spend 5 maybe 6 hours finding the work around.

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