New Zealand to get country wide filtered internet

It looks like New Zealand is set to be the next country to get country-wide internet filtering, according to a blog post on Geekzone. The New Zealand department of internal affairs has released a draft proposal that outlines the filtering system.

According to the document, the filtering system is for cases where "A person who views a website containing chid sexual abuse images is in possession of those images, if only for the period they appear on the screen. The Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System therefore will help prevent inadvertent exposure to these images and will also help prevent New Zealanders from committing crimes."

It will also instate a special group to govern which sites are and are not blocked, as pointed out in the document; "The Department will institute an Independent Reference Group (IRG) to maintain oversight of the operation of the Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System to ensure it is operated with integrity and adheres to the principles set down in this Code of Practice."

An example picture is also shown in the document that gives a rough idea of what the filtering system would present if it detected such content. It's good to know that if a page is inadvertently blocked that you are able to notify the team right away - but here's hoping they get some better web design.

The only thing of concern is how much information is gathered from a user to "troubleshoot the system":

"7. Data
7.1 What data is collected?
7.1.1 During the course of the filtering process the Department logs the following information regarding a request for a blocked website:
· Connection Number - relates to the number allocated to an ISP when it is included on the system and the type of connection eg. GIF2.
· Local IP – represents the IP address of the user – this is anonymised to protect the identity of the requester.
· Request - encompasses 2 fields: the Originating Site and the Requested Site.
· Remote IP - relates to the address of the remote site, this uses random numbers to ensure the Department cannot track it back.

7.2 What is the data used for
7.2.1 The collection of this data is necessary so that the system is able to be reviewed to ensure 24-hour 365-day uptime and no loss of business due to a technical glitch or fault, for ISPs who join the system.

7.2.2 The logs are used to troubleshoot the connections between the Department's system and the ISP. As we are providing a service to a commercial organisation, it is our responsibility to ensure that the Department is able to offer the same level of service expected of any commercial enterprise.

7.2.3 As no identifiable information is stored about the user requesting a website, this data cannot be used in support of any investigation or enforcement activity undertaken by the Department. However, the data will be used for statistical and reporting purposes, for example to inform the Department of the level of demand in New Zealand for child sexual abuse images."

The draft also points out what most tech-headed people already know: the filter will be easy to get around if you know how, and is only really intended to stop every day users for accidentally browsing to a page. The filtering system, will begin with filtering only child abuse pages, but may in the future expand to filter further illegal and explicit pages. The system is due to be implemented in late 2009/2010 by ISPs across New Zealand.

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I cannot believe how many of you actually think this is a bad thing. Who the hell cares if it is censorship when all they're stopping people from looking at is child pornography? You're all completely and utterly ridiculous.

Hardcore Til I Die said,
I cannot believe how many of you actually think this is a bad thing. Who the hell cares if it is censorship when all they're stopping people from looking at is child pornography? You're all completely and utterly ridiculous.

There is a growing "age verification" problem on the Internet. If someone were to happen to be looking for free pornography on the Internet, it is relatively easy to stumble upon the content someone is looking for. But there usually isn't much assurance on these sites that the images are of adults and not children under the age of 18.

My guess is that it would be easy for someone to accidentally break the law by looking at pictures of someone who is under age unknowingly. The question I have: is this filter truly setup to stop this or to prosecute people who had no intent in looking at the images in the first place?

Hardcore Til I Die said,
I cannot believe how many of you actually think this is a bad thing. Who the hell cares if it is censorship when all they're stopping people from looking at is child pornography? You're all completely and utterly ridiculous.

So is the entire premise then that they already know which sites to censor?

If that's the case, then they really ought to go after those sites instead. Do you disagree with that?

It is not about child pornography but about to control the Internet, more specifically, to do the RIAA dirty job.

Why C_Guy? He's right, government is in bed with big business; they (the government) have to protect their interest, i.e, money flow.

"and will also help prevent New Zealanders from committing crimes"

How jolly thoughtful of the gubberment (perhaps they should remove gas pedals from cars and alcohol from bars, while they are at it). Personally I'd like to see the Internic booting graphic offensive contents onto a separate domain, so ISP's can offer customers this type of content on request.

Pornography, and even worse snuff movies should be made available by (ISP) on request (only). Child pornography (abuse) should be traced, and site owners / hosting companies pursued and heavily prosecuted. This agenda is more about shutting down free speech and extremist sites, under the (indefensible) excuse of chasing down supposed child porn - which in my experience is not at all prevalent.

It's just the government trying to have more control over us, just the what they did in America when they said they can now listen into phone calls and such because of terrorists.

Plus is child porn really that big? I dunno? but I didn't think it was that huge of a thing, and even if it is this isn't going to stop anything.

If they spent as much money trying to catch the cnuts who PRODUCE paedo-porn, as they do trying to catch the losers who look at it, the problem might start to go away.

I wonder how many people on that project have someone in the government ,since later on everyone will know how to bypass the system , and not just the tech savvy , so its just a waste of money and resources

Wow, first Australia, now New Zealand.....

Well I'd really like to know how this is going to help stop child pornography, regardless of that I'd also love to know the number of people that accidentally visit a page with child pornography. I can imagine that this number would be rather low and the filter will do very little (considering everyone that wants to look at banned web sites will be operating out of a proxy) except slow down the internet and give a make a few groups happy.

It won't help at all and it's only the beginning, just look at China both Australia and New Zealand are heading towards that (heavily government censored internet)....the thing is this stops nothing, the internet is just a single means of attaining that "material" they'll be other ways and people will just shift to them to continue to get their (sick) fix.

Agreed; they could use the internet as a communication medium to arrange to meet with the 'people' in possession of the material that they desire.

So true, slowing down the internet just to stop a few crooks who'll just go for child porn printed on paper. Amazing how the government can justify this as their are an extremely small number of pedophiles compared to normal citizens. Who knows what governments can do with all the information they pick up through filtering the internet. Very soon they will start blocking access to smoking and alcohol companies to "protect" our health. Great to see where out tax dollars are being spent.

omnicoder said,
When will governments learn that censorship isn't the way to go...

Never. Its infinite struggle because it is in human nature to seek power. People in government wants as much power as people who elected them. And in democracy government is just reflection of majority so people must change first in order for government to change.

There is nothing new. It is usual for state "evil" to be done with "good" intentions/pretext or by government which doesn't respect its its citizens and thinks about them as stupid red-necks who are unable to control themselves.

i live here and i can tell you now this will fly about as good as a dodo as most ISP's will just stick their middle finger in the air and yell loudly SOD OFF