Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was shown how to circumvent his mandatory internet service provider level internet filter in a one-hour demonstration.
"The minister has been shown a demonstration of a number of circumvention techniques of the filter products used in the [internet service provider] filtering pilot," the minister's office said in answer to a question on notice asked by Greens Communications spokesperson Scott Ludlam.
"This demonstration took place on Friday, 5 June 2009, at the Enex TestLab at RMIT in Bundoora, Vic," the office said. "The demonstration was of one-hour duration, and a number of circumvention techniques were demonstrated including VPN and Tor."
Tor is free software that, according to its website, helps defend "against a form of network surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security known as traffic analysis".
Virtual private networks (VPN) allow users to connect to another computer in the world securely. An Australian could use such software to connect to a computer that had unfiltered access to the internet.
Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) spokesperson Colin Jacobs said that it was interesting to know that the minister had been shown a "proper demo" of how to circumvent the filter.
"He is clearly well informed of the flimsiness of the filter, yet must not feel this diminishes the policy — that is, political — usefulness of the plan," Jacobs said on the EFA blog.