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New Zealand Introduces Internet Filtering 215

Thomas Beagle writes "The New Zealand government has been stealthily introducing a centralised internet child-pornography specific filtering system. Voluntary for ISPs but not for their users, ISPs representing over 94% of the market are already intending to join. Read the general FAQ and technical FAQ about the proposed Netclean Whitebox implementation."
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New Zealand Introduces Internet Filtering

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  • Good to hear (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @09:56AM (#28690371) Journal

    Especially as these filters are never misused [wikileaks.org] for other things than child pornography for convenience, when they're in place and all.

    How about spending the resources on busting pedophiles and exposing pedophile rings instead? Or was that too straightforward and precise?

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @09:57AM (#28690401)

    Why normal people support laws like this. I completely understand why statist politicians, apparatchiks and lobbyists do, but not ordinary people. It's so incredibly obvious that if you know that a site focuses on this trash, just coordinate with the country where the servers are based. If the country is poor, it would be easy for New Zealand police to offer their police a modest "finder's fee" for allowing NZ police to tag along on a raid to take over the server, get the logs and go after the distributors. Hell, if we started offering bounties for people like this and the Nigerian scammers, third world governments would be falling all over themselves to help the first world countries fight internet crime.

  • Since neither FAQ mentioned any mechanism for reporting sites that have illegal content, I assume that means they're relying on some dedicated law-enforcement professionals to go out looking for child porn/bestial porn.

    That's gonna make that first date "and what do you do?" conversation a little awkward.

    And hey, slowing down everyone's internet experience for only half a million dollars/year? That's quite a steal!

  • Oh god :( (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DiSKiLLeR ( 17651 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @09:58AM (#28690427) Homepage Journal

    We only just got rid of this laughably insane idea in Australia... here the ISP's refused to co-operate.

    Actually, no, sorry, a few did co-operate, just so they could show the govt how laughably infeasible it was!

    And now New Zealand introduces internet filtering, just before I plan to move there :(

  • Re:Oh god :( (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DiSKiLLeR ( 17651 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:01AM (#28690453) Homepage Journal

    Come to think of it, what we need is a Pirate Party of New Zealand to make sure this sort of crap doesn't happen; We are already well on the way to establishing the Pirate Party of Australia (http://ppau.info/).

  • by ionix5891 ( 1228718 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:10AM (#28690557)

    small bit offtopic

    but theres no mention on slashdot of the new 1984 style big brother law coming in in Ireland :(

    http://www.independent.ie/national-news/all-email-text-and-phone-records-to-be-kept-for-2-years-1820026.html [independent.ie]

  • Re:Oh god :( (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:12AM (#28690607)

    Yes I have to admit the fact in the summary that ~94% of ISPs are willing to implement this struck me as being really bizarre. I usually think of New Zealanders as our friends across the pond. That is, that despite our friendly jokes at each others' expense, we are very similar countries. But this is a night and day difference. In Australia the ISPs were basically all up in arms about the proposed filter, and it was in large part due to the Internet industry's concerns that that proposal was thankfully scrapped (or at least appears to be headed for certain defeat, at least in its current form). This was on ideological, as well as technical grounds - the ISPs know full well that any filter can be trivially circumvented through a variety of means, so it's basically useless, but yet would cost them (and thus their customers) a lot of money.

    I wonder why NZ ISPs are so different in their opinion (at least as reported by this article)?

    I sure hope the tech-savvy New Zealand public fights this in the same way we did here in Australia. These filters might start out as benign but there is massive potential for abuse there, and more to the point, I just generally don't like the idea of artificially constraining and slowing down what has been until this day a free and open network. We already pay a lot for connectivity down here due to our isolated geographical location ... don't let them make it even slower/more expensive due to this crap.

    The other reason you need to fight it is that if this gets successfully implemented there, it will be used as an example here and in other countries: "Look, NZ did it ... maybe we should?" That's a slippery slope we want to avoid if at all possible.

  • Safe Harbour (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:16AM (#28690641)

    The way this is usually done is by offering ISPs a safe harbour whereby they are not responsible for their users traffic if they follow the 'rules'.

    My question is, why is this not available to ordinary people?

    ie: if you run govt selected filtering software on your computer, you should be immune to prosecution for content accessed from that computer - much the same way as the ISPs are.

    In NZ I believe posession of child pornography is automatically an offense with no defense (ie: even if you did not know it was present due to someone else accessing it) - so such an arrangement would have the advantage of protecting individuals who chose to opt in.

    Of course this wont happen as its only the corps that get the 'get out of jail free' option, but it seems like a fair idea, no?

  • Re:Good to hear (Score:3, Interesting)

    by emocomputerjock ( 1099941 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:20AM (#28690713)
    There aren't enough resources available for doing that, only for the filtering. If you want to have the authorities actually investigate crimes against children you're going to have to have a 15 cent tax for that [slashdot.org].
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:22AM (#28690735)

    Actually, I think the ISPs that want to sign up highly computer-savvy, low support-calls creating people would probably stand up against the law and 'fight' it as good as they can.

    Anyone who spent 6 months on the internet knows that such a tool is doomed to fail. Either the implementation sucks. Or the list gets out (pretty much creating a "pedo menu" of sorts, along with a lot of fallout should any site on the list not belong there). And many are just pissed off at the mere concept of government thinking it may decide what's good for me to know.

    So if you're an ISP and if you want to put some stress off your supporter's backs and if you want people who will pay their ISP bills before considering gas or water...

  • by sakdoctor ( 1087155 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:27AM (#28690777) Homepage

    Hate to point out the obvious, but they have to be thinking first in order to stop.

    The two minute hate, and choosing between various advertised products doesn't count.

  • by QCompson ( 675963 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:30AM (#28690833)
    From the FAQ:

    What type of material is censored? The trial scheme was used to filter child pornography including video, photos, stories and drawings. Other illegal material (as defined by New Zealand law) is not filtered.

    Stories and drawings. Because icky thoughts must be banned.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @10:56AM (#28691179)
    From the technical details article:

    Does it support the next version of IP, v6?


    What if the website uses HTTPS (secure HTTP)?

    If the website uses https (e.g. as used for internet banking or online shopping), the filter server can't examine the request to see what website it is going to on the target internet address.
    This means the the filter server must block all https websites on a filtered internet address. This will interrupt service to any website that needs to use a secure connection.

    Whoops part 2.

    Is it possible to circumvent the filtering?

    It is relatively easy for a motivated user to circumvent the filtering. This is done by routing the requests to a proxy service in another country that does not filter the required site.
    There are also a number of free services that exist to allow people to escape from government monitoring of their internet usage. These services include: Tor, Freenet and WASTE.

    Major whoops. Not only do they admit it's easy to get around it, they helpfully give you the name of three services to use.

    Don't get me wrong, I find the idea of child porn abhorrent and sickening. It's just that I don't understand why governments continue to push filtering as the answer when it's never going to work. If they want to get rid of the problem, all they have to do is target offending porno sites with a massive DDOS attack. They could slave every idle govt PC in the country to the task, and there are an awful lot of idle govt PCs.
  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 @06:16PM (#28697211) Journal

    I think you've missed the point. Regardless of the feasibility of overthrowing a modern government by force of arms the GP quoted text that said "democracy is being taken over by people who despise liberty and fundamentally are terrified of the average citizen." If you aren't terrified of the average citizen than what argument can you come up with for disarming him?

    I would also say that the fact that the government has nuclear weapons is largely irrelevant. If the shit ever hit the fan to the point that an actual rebellion was underway it's a reasonably safe assumption that a large portion of the armed forces would side with the citizenry and not the government trying to oppress them. I can't speak for other countries but in the US our armed forces swear an oath to uphold the Constitution. They don't swear an oath to one person or one office.

    You think you can find someone in the US armed forces willing to drop an h-bomb on an American city? Good luck with that.

At work, the authority of a person is inversely proportional to the number of pens that person is carrying.