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Thursday, 11th March 2010

New Zealand: Government Internet Filter Now Being Used by Two ISP's

This is not happy news.

According to a story at Computerworld New Zealand, the government managed Internet filter is now being used by two ISP's, Maxnet and Watchdog.

Actually, the filter has been running since February 1st but was just announced by by the Department of Internal Affairs

Thomas Beagle, spokesperson for online freedom lobby Tech Liberty says he's "very disappointed that the filter is now running, it’s a sad day for the New Zealand internet”.,.Beagle says he's disappointed the launch was conducted in such a "stealthy mode".

The Department of Internal Affairs' Censorship Compliance Unit [quite a 1984-like name] feels differently. Steve O'Brien, manager of the unit, says that trials have been going on for two years and the media has been notified "for quite some time."

"The Independent Reference Group has met and the filter system processes were demonstrated as set out in the code of practice, that is that the website filtering system prevents access to known websites containing images of child sexual abuse," says O'Brien.

The article goes on to say that according to Tech Liberty several ISP's will use the filter while others will not.

[Snip]

O'Brien says there is no compulsion for ISPs to tell their customers their internet service is being filtered.

"It's a voluntary system and there's no legislation," he says, adding he understands the ISPs currently on the system have informed their customers.

[Snip]

Tech Liberty says it is also concerned about the expansion of government powers represented by the filter.

"It establishes the principle that the government can choose to arbitrarily set up a new censorship scheme and choose which material to block, with no reference to existing law," the group claims.

[Snip]

We anticipate all major ISPs will embrace this development as they have the many other filters they employ on the internet for a range of purpose, according to O'Brien.

Access the Complete Article

See Also: Much More About the NZ Filter at TechLiberty.org.nz Including a Twitter Feed of Comments

Sources: ComputerWorld NZ, Tech Liberty

See Also: Yesterday, on ResourceShelf We Posted an Item About a Proposal to Merge the National Library of New Zealand with the National Archives of New Zealand. Both organizations would become part of the Department of Internal Affairs. Yes, it's the same government department mentioned above since they run the Internet filtering program.


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