Technologist predicts cleaner internet

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 11:16 01/02/2012
Kevin Bermeister
Fairfax
FUTURAMA: Australian technologist Kevin Bermeister.

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The internet could be on the verge of a revolution as internet providers use new technology to filter out pirated material, child pornography and malware and buddy up with copyright owners to bolster their own revenues, an Australian technologist has forecast.

Kevin Bermeister, one of the original financial backers of Skype, said in a blog that technology sold by the likes of network equipment giants Cisco, Juniper and Huawei had developed to the point where it would be possible for internet providers to offer a "global file registry filter" that would reduce piracy and net nasties "to a very small problem".

Bermeister forecast internet providers might be willing to invest in the technology to filter the net if they could redirect customers' requests for pirated content to legitimate websites and earn a cut of music and movie sales.

That prospect might be shocking to some, he said. "However, the open internet was never much for loyalty, and internet providers, together with the world's largest copyright owners and media partners, may just have sufficient reason to be excited by the new world order in which the wild west days of the internet's early beginnings are nearing their end."

Cisco New Zealand managing director and former Microsoft New Zealand boss Geoff Lawrie said Bermeister's vision was technically feasible. "There is firewall software now that can look at the nature of internet traffic and you could write a filter program that made decisions based on that."

But he believed it was a novel theory, rather than the likely direction of the internet. Internet providers in New Zealand, at least, had always been "fervently hands-off", he said.

"They are absolutely, passionately committed to avoiding putting themselves in a position of liability, and that is what would be implied by them stepping up to a filter."

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- The Dominion Post

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