Internet NZ has released a position paper (PDF) that rejects the governments's planned internet filtering scheme. Jordan Carter, InternetNZ Policy Director:
InternetNZ supports a safe environment for people online, and absolutely deplores the availability and use of child abuse material, However, a government filtering system, centrally operated, is not the answer.
The report says that the proposed filtering system:
- Will make the New Zealand internet less robust by introducing a single point of failure - whether it fails by accident or by being attacked.
- Is open to unwanted scope creep where more and more types of material are added to the filter.
- Will be ineffective at stopping the distribution of child pornography, as admitted by the Department of Internal Affairs (due to most of it being distributed by peer to peer file sharing, that the filter is ineffective against).
- Is not subject to the same checks and balances that apply to all other parts of New Zealand's censorship regime.
From the report:
Such filtering disrupts the end-to-end Internet; puts in place a technology that can be used for purposes that are incompatible with a free and democratic society; and creates a risk that, even if introduced as a voluntary system, the filter may well end up covering all Internet users in New Zealand and/or be mandated. In general, InternetNZ prefers that citizens are educated about the availability and quality of filtering services and offered these services by their service providers.
Tech Liberty is pleased to see that Internet NZ has rejected the filter on both technical and philosophical grounds, and agrees that the best filtering approach is for concerned people to implement their own.
We call upon the government to take these concerns seriously and reconsider its plans to introduce internet filtering in New Zealand.
Disclosure: Thomas Beagle was part of the Policy Advisory Group that worked on developing Internet NZ's position on internet filtering.