New Zealand company, Watchdog, says that filtering out child pornography at ISP level in Australia is possible, but admits that the Australian Government’s attempts to rate websites for violent content and other objectionable material will be extremely difficult. Watchdog currently provides a filtered ISP service to NZ and Australian customers, claiming to block harmful and inappropriate material before it can reach the user’s computer.

NZ ICT business news site, M-Net, reports that Watchdog is just one of several companies in talks with the Rudd-led government over its ISP filtering plans.

Director of Watchdog, Peter Mancer, told M-Net that “Trying to create a family safe filtering service is more difficult and could be expensive. Details are still scant, but it looks like the government wants to establish a ratings system a little like film classifications, such as the R ratings for violence and sexual content.”

“The opt out clause is also a potential problem because you will have to provision the maximum service from day one, which will then reduce over time as people opt out. With the opt in option, you can provision the service in line with growing demand.”

However, education sector manager for New Zealand’s Internet safety group Netsafe, Richard Beach, said his organisation sees education as the best way to protect children from objectionable material on the internet.

With such a costly introduction, one has to wonder it’s worth when it’s undeniable that the ACMA, or whomever it contracts, will not be able to keep up with the amount of content it would consider harmful.

– Mike