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Tuesday, 22 June 2010 09:38

Daft Aussies come up with another internet idea

Written by Nick Farell
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Install security software or lose your Internet connection

Desperate to control the internet in a way that they can't manage with the economy, the Australian government has come up with another daft idea. Not content with net filters on a par with China, the Australian government now wants to cut off internet access for those people who do not have enough security on their machines.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald a government inquiry into Cyber Crime has come up with the wizard wheeze which involves switching off people who do not have enough security on their PC.

A prominent cyber-security consultant, Alastair MacGibbon, who is a former director of the AFP's Australian High Tech Crime Centre and eBay's former security chief, said that under the plan ISPs will have to monitor the security of users' machines and block them from connecting if their browsers, security and “operating system software” are not up to standard. In otherwords if you are running an unsupported OS you could be identfied as being a “threat to the internet” and cut off.

But Peter Coroneos, chief executive of the Internet Industry Association (IIA), has questioned whether such ideas are practical and says the government would not be able to enforce the content of ISPs' contractual relationships with customers.

There is some good stuff in the list of ideas. ISPs will be forced to inform users when their machines are infected and, if necessary, disconnect them from the internet until the affected machine is fixed. But some of them are a bit “nanny state”.

Users will be contractually obliged to install anti-virus software and firewalls before their internet connection is activated. They would have to keep their e-security software updated and take reasonable steps to inoculate their computers when notified of a suspected malware compromise.

Nick Farell

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