ISPs: Blocking Web access not best way
31st May 2005 (The Star)

PETALING JAYA: Blocking access to pornographic websites may not be the most effective way of dealing with the problem of easy access to such websites, say local Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

TM Net Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Baharum Salleh said access could be blocked by various filtering technologies but "this is not a perfect solution."

"No solution is 100% effective as tech-savvy Internet users with the know-how will be able to get around filtering mechanisms," he said yesterday.

Baharum also said that while ISPs could use filtering technology to block access, the cost and effort incurred to implement such a system would be "significant."

TIME dotCom Bhd, which operates TIMENet, said ISPs could divert all Internet traffic initiated by users to a dedicated filtering system before it hit the World Wide Web.

"An ISP can then check where the traffic is headed and compare it with a list of restricted websites," said TIME dotCom broadband services head Tan Eng Suan.

"Should a user try to visit a website that is on the list, he will be denied access," he said.

However, Tan noted, the method was not foolproof, as it would only successfully prevent access to such websites if the list was maintained regularly and up-to-date.

He said TIMENet favoured educating the public about the Internet, as opposed to regulating the flow of information.

"To require ISPs to filter the Internet may lead to an enforced regulation of the information environment in the country, which is contrary to what the Multimedia Super Corridor stands for," he said.

It was reported recently that there were 1.5 million pornographic websites that could be easily accessed by Internet users, and the authorities were mulling over the possibility of introducing censorship mechanisms to block access to these websites.