While Internet filtering went live for some New Zealand web surfers in February, the enactment was only recently announced to the general public.
The filtering technology is currently in use by two New Zealand ISPs, Maxnet and Watchdog reports ComputerWorld. Tech Liberty, a New Zealand-based digital rights group expects that the ISPs Telstra Clear, Telecom and Vodafone will also add the filter in the future, while Orcon, Slingshot and Natcom have expressed no desire to add the Internet sieve.
The filter went live on February 1, but an announcement was delayed until the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) held a meeting with its own Independent Reference Group (IRC), which maintains the master filter list. Banned websites must be approved by a trio of “warranted inspectors of publications.” 7,000 banned URLs featured on the list are related to child sexual abuse.
Maxnet CEO John Hanna said his company has been involved in a filtering trial for two years, adding that, “to my knowledge we’ve never had a complaint.”
Thomas Beagle of Tech Liberty called the induction of the filter, “a sad day for New Zealand Internet.” The group also used the words of U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to back their anti-filter stance, quoting Clinton as saying, “Those who disrupt the free flow of information in our society, or any other, pose a threat to our economy, our government and our civil society.”