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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