My brother has a joke where he narrates in detail how to install software into your computer.

At the end of a long complicated explanation, he adds: If you are unable to correctly install software, try plan B:

Give software disc to twelve year old

Say: Dear Twelve year old, Please install this for me.

This is pretty well true in our house, where my network was installed by my 13 year old grandson.

Most adults can’t program a VCR, or set the “parental controls” on their cable television or their computer, and many teens are able to disable these things easily.

So an Australian government sponsored web filter, meant to protect underaged children from finding pornography on line, was disabled in a few minutes by a Melbourne teenager.

Sixteen-year-old Melbourne teenager Tom Wood said it took him less than 30 minutes to override the cyber barrier technology …
“I downloaded it on Tuesday to see how good it was, because for 84 million dollars (69 million US), I would have expected a pretty unbreakable filter…took about half an hour and (it) was completely useless,” he said, having effectively disabled the software.

The embarassed Australian government insisted that the filter wasn’t foolproof, but did protect most children.

But given the price of the program, one wonders if the Australian government had been ripped off. One local newspaper (The Herald) quoted the boy claiming a locally produced filter would be cheaper and more effective.

So, in response the government added a locally produced Australian designed web filter.

And the Herald was right. It was more effective: It took Tom all of 40 minutes to crack the code.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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