Tech Liberty NZ Defending civil liberties in the digital age

Join us in opposing the internet filter

Posted on February 26, 2010

By now you've probably heard about the government's plans to filter the internet in New Zealand. It's coming soon to an internet connection near you.

At Tech Liberty we believe that:

  • the filtering won't work to stop the production and distribution of offensive material.
  • that it poses a risk to the security and stability of the New Zealand internet.
  • that filtering is the wrong approach and will inevitably be misused in the future.

We want the filter stopped.

We're looking for other people who feel the same way to join us in forming a coalition to oppose the implementation of the filter.

Join the coalition

If you want to be part of the it, please contact us at stopthefilter@techliberty.org.nz and tell us how you'd like to get involved and what you can do. We're going to need all the help we can get.

Sign up in support

If you want to register your support and be on the mailing list, send us an email at antifilter@techliberty.org.nz and ask to be added to the internet filtering mail list.

Posted by Thomas Beagle

Comments (14) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Please sign me up to your mailing list. I can make a small donation, if you’re collecting funds. I appreciate the work you have done to expose what DIA are up to and to try to get more scrutiny of this issue.

  2. I un-support net filtering and support efforts to be filter free.

    I’m a resident voter at 36 Clyde Rd, chch 8041

  3. C’mon guys you have to stop saying it will effect the security and stability of the internet. That is not true, you are effectively grandstanding or telling what if tales. And in any event you have shown you do not understand the technical side of the problem.

    You cant say it wont stop the production of or distribution as you do not have those numbers or facts, again you are effectively grandstanding or telling half truths.

    Saying it will be inevitably misused is just irresponsible, give the people who are charged with running this some credit. it is like saying all government officials are or will be eventually corrupt, you have no proof or examples of this but in the past you have seen government officials being corrupt. From everything I have read posted by thomas and on this site and in the blogs etc they have been above board on everything. You are looking for something that is not there.

    present fact not fiction.

  4. It certainly will not be able to contain the production or distribution of “objectionable” material. Any filtering can be gotten around with hardly any inconvenience.

    Even China, the country of the great firewall, can’t stop political dissidents and freedom fighters from getting access to outside information or from sharing the information they have.

  5. Joseph – I think we’ve got the idea that you don’t agree with us by now.

    It’s not a case of fact vs fiction – it’s a case of opinion vs opinion.

  6. Thomas

    it shouldn’t be only opinion, there has to be some basis to your claim it shouldn’t be there. Yes we obviously dont agree but you can not print fiction.

  7. Joseph,

    When in the history of Mankind has power ever been used responsibly? Power and the abuse of power are roughly indistinguishable.

    There’s a military axiom that derives from game theory: when evaluating an enemy, you don’t guess what his intentions will be; you go by his capabilities.

    The safe bet is that this *will* be abused, one way or another, and it will serve no legitimate purpose whatsoever. The burden of proof is on authority to justify its actions, not on the victims of authority to justify their rights.

  8. So you believe the government is your enemy worthy of disassembled tsun tsu quotes.

    I understand your point regarding burden of proof and to a degree agree with it, however you have to establish a timeframe for the justification. This has not been done. If we look at parallel justifications a quick google on the unit tasked with operating and maintaining the system have an established track record with this sort of material and are recognized internationally for there efforts.

    That to me lends to the justification argument. They (the unit tasked with the job) have done nothing to discourage this justification (If we are concentrating on track record). I think you are getting politicians confused with government. The 2 are not mutually exclusive.

    also treating this as a military exercise lends itself I believe to be misrepresented. You could quote american politicians here as well talking about libertys and whatnot but the system as presented right now does not take away your libertys albeit it does take your liberty to view or access child porn.

    we could turn the military axiom around and start stating the old adage if your are against the filtering of child abuse sites you are for the continued abuse of children via websites or online galleries. or even you are opposed at having peoples ability to access child pornography being taken away from them but alas that kind of talk gets us no where.

  9. A discussion of unqualified “liberty” is not what I’m discussing.

    Within the confines of simple utilitarianism, we can define “harm”, and in that context we can define a balance between individual liberties and the greater needs of society.

    Murder (or any other violent crime) is a prime example – I lose the “liberty” to commit violence against another citizen because that’s to society’s greater benefit.

    Can you draw the same causal connection to Internet filtering? I know you can’t, but I’m interested in the cognitive gymnastics that will ensue.

    It’s inevitable that this power will be abused. Not if, when. And there is no quantifiable benefit to such a power, because it can be easily circumvented by any teenager with a modicum of technical know-how.

    So there’s an immense net harm to civil liberties without a commensurate gain to society as a whole.

  10. Are you sure you know what you are protesting about here Matt.

    You seem to confuse yourself or at least that is how your statements are coming through. I don’t think you can draw comparisons between totalitarianism and the ethos of filtering.

    And you can go on to talk murder and what not but it will eventually lead back to the same argument.

    however we could add to the argument to do nothing because we don’t know how is irresponsible to do nothing because it is to difficult is reckless.

    I am sure you will come back with wonderful quotes that some other famous person has said and you are just parroting such as prohibition does not work or we need a bigger boat but at the end of the day are you just wanting to play who can type the biggest word with out a spell check or offer something viable to the argument

  11. So basically you have no argument, or at least nothing of substance to bring to the table.

    I figured as much.

    I’ve been exceptionally clear in articulating why I’m against this proposal, as has everyone else. You just don’t seem to “get it”, for whatever reason – and have certainly been unable to articulate a clear position for yourself, besides the equivalent of “lol ur wrong”, which is far from compelling.

    If that’s all you can bring to the discourse, you’ll have to forgive me (and everyone else) for not taking your opposition seriously.

  12. classic.

    I believe you do not comprehend the definition of substance, my argument has been spelt out. you have tried your best to talk your way around the fact you do not know what you are talking about. For that I commend you because it looks like you are very proficient at sounding intelligent without having to have the follow through.

  13. Your argument is that filtering is good because you say so.

    Why should I care?

  14. When Australia implemented the ban, it did NOT work! Harmless companies like a landscaper and plumber ended up on the secret blocked blacklist.

    Found this interesting article re the subject too:

    Australia To End
    Internet Freedom
    By Rev. Ted Pike
    11-12-8

    Australia will now join China in blocking free access to the internet. Responding to decades of pressure from the Anti-Defamation League, the Australian government has announced it will ban all “illegal” internet content produced in or entering Australia. Under ADL-orchestrated Australian hate laws, it has already been unlawful to hold up homosexuals, Jews and Muslims to “humiliation or intimidation” in the public forum, including the internet. Incoming material on the internet, however, has remained largely unregulated.

    The government, projecting a comprehensive internet filter, originally assured internet users that they could legally receive banned content by contacting their providers and circumventing such restrictions. Now the government says they can’t. All illegal content, which should include everything from pornography to political and religious speech violating Australia’s hate laws, will be forbidden. It will be illegal to create or receive communication which the government disapproves.

    Actually, according to Colin Jacobs of Electronic Frontiers Australia, the National Internet Filter would have little effect on such illegal internet content as child pornography since it would not cover file-sharing networks. We may conclude that politically incorrect speech would probably bear the brunt of censorship. (See, “Australia to implement mandatory internet censorship”)

    Meanwhile, ADL and its European arm INACH, the International Network Against Cyber Hate, tirelessly work to find legal resources and technology capable of ending criticism of homosexuality, Jews and Israel on the internet. ADL admits this is difficult through conventional legal or technological means.

    But it’s not difficult when ADL can persuade governments to ban “hate speech” outright!

    Is America Next?

    How could America, ostensibly protected by the First Amendment, also lose free speech on the internet?

    For starters, Congress could pass ADL’s federal hate crimes bill, the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, this winter. In 1971, Canada enacted ADL’s very similar federal hate law. Soon, it was extended to criminalize “hate speech” originating on Canadian websites. Sec. 13.1 of Canada’s human rights statute outlaws even such internet speech as is “likely” to cause embarrassment to federally protected groups.

    If the Obama/ADL hate bill is passed, internet “homophobic hate speech” in evangelical media, as well as in pulpits, will become illegal. 1 The hate bill is ostensibly directed only against violent hate crimes in the States. However, a federal hate bill will quickly overflow such limits, as prosecutors and judges broaden it to protection of the “hurt feelings” of sodomites.

    Hate crime laws, whether state, federal, or international, are already showing an alarming tendency to overreach existing legal definitions and restraints. Hate gestapos indict, letting the tedious court system catch up with them, perhaps years later. The main objective of current hate law strategy is to press the limits, seeing how much can be gotten away with. Prosecutors hope to shape public opinion, frighten opponents and set legal precedents that will provide steppingstones to even greater assaults on freedom.

    Free Speech Casualty in Canada

    One evangelical casualty of Canada’s hate law is Rev. Stephen Boissoin. Canada’s Free Speech Monitor: “For writing a letter critical of homosexuality to the Red Deer Advocate, he had been ordered by the Alberta Human Rights commission to pay a $7,000 fine, apologize for criticizing one of Canada’s privileged minorities (homosexuals) and never again, in any venue, criticize homosexuals. He has thus been asked to renounce a key tenet of the Christian faith. In times past, men and women have died rather than knuckle under to political correctness and renounce their faith. Rev. Boissoin is defiant and has vowed no apology and is appealing the outrageous decision. In a decision reminiscent of Red China executing dissidents and then sending a bill for the bullet to the victims’ families, Rev. Boissoin was ordered to compensate his persecutor to the tune of $5,000 for the time and effort he had spent trying to gag the pastor.”

    Quoting from LifeSite News (June 9, 2008):

    “On Friday [June 6], the Alberta Human Rights Commission ordered Alberta pastor Steven Boissoin to desist from expressing his views on homosexuality in any sort of public forum. He was also commanded to pay damages equivalent to $7,000 as a result of the tribunal’s November decision to side with complainant and homosexual activist Dr. Darren Lund. The tribunal has also called for Boissoin to personally apologize to Lund via a public statement to the local newspaper

    Lund made his complaint after Boissoin published a letter to the editor in the Red Deer Advocate in which he denounced homosexuality as immoral and dangerous, and called into question new gay rights curricula permeating the province’s educational system. “Children as young as five and six years of age are being subjected to psychologically and physiologically damaging pro-homosexual literature and guidance in the public school system; all under the fraudulent guise of equal rights,” wrote Boissoin in the letter. In an interview, Boissoin told LifeSite News.com that he’s under attack not only for his letter but, more significantly, for his beliefs. ‘The point I am trying to make here is what’s being attacked at the core is what I believe, according to my personal beliefs and my religious beliefs.’ Most disturbingly, says Boissoin, is that the ruling calls for him to ‘cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on the radio, with public speeches, or on the internet, in the future, disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.’ Boissoin wondered to what extent the right to freedom of expression in Canada will be deteriorated, stating, ‘I am not allowed to hold onto my views.’ ‘Absurd beyond absurd-I will never make a public apology; I stand by what I said.'”

    Worse Could Come

    Christians/conservatives, this and much worse are what you can expect in the years ahead if ADL’s federal hate bill is passed this winter. Though discouraged by the Obama/Democrat victory, you must rouse yourselves to protest!

    Two years ago, when ADL reintroduced their federal hate crimes bill into the House in the first week of January, the religious right did virtually nothing to warn their constituents. Only after I alerted WorldNetDaily’s Bob Unruh of the crisis in mid-February and his crucial WND article went out to millions did massive protest to Congress begin. (See, Killer Instinct Needed to Defeat Hate Bill)

    Free speech will not survive if Christian/conservative America repeats such delay. From the moment the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act is reintroduced, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, American Family Association, WorldNetDaily, and many evangelical leadership groups must initiate a flood of protest to the House, particularly members of the House Judiciary Committee. We must respond as if our freedom depends on it, or we will probably never get another chance to save liberty. As in China, Canada, and now Australia, free speech will become a memory, perhaps never to be grasped again.

    Endnote:

    1. The original 1968 federal hate law, upon which present federal hate bills greatly expand, criminalizes speech. It says that if anyone’s public speech encourages another to an act of hate-motivated violence, the original speaker can be tried as a federal hate criminal along with the active offender whom he has influenced.
    Title 18, U.S.C., Sec. 2a says:
    (a) Whoever commits an offense against the United States or aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures its commission, is punishable as a principal.


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