One of the big questions about the implementation of internet filtering in New Zealand has been … when? We’ve made a number of Official Information Act requests to the Department of Internal Affairs and the answer has always been “in the next couple of months”.
In a letter written on January the 20th, the DIA told us that they will be making an announcement regarding the implementation of the filter “in the near future”. Well over a month later there has been no announcement.
Continue reading New Zealand’s government internet filter is already running
We are opposed to the Government implementing Internet filtering in New Zealand.
Continue reading Why we oppose internet filtering
[This post was prompted by contact from a person who had a laptop seized. Since original publication they have asked for their comments to be removed.]
We recently asked Customs whether they were able to do this and they replied that they could under the Customs and Excise Act (1996).
Looking for information
We’d like to find out more about what Customs are doing in this area. In particular we’d like to know what they’re looking for, whether they’re targeting anyone in particular, and what they do with the systems and data they seize.
Please contact us if this has happened to you or anyone you know. Please include as much detail as possible. We promise to respect your anonymity.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com and ask to be added to the internet filtering mail list.
When the internet filter was announced, one of our primary objections was that it was a secret censorship scheme. The list of banned sites was kept secret and there was no oversight of the entries on the list. As the experience of Australia and the UK has shown, this tends to lead to abuse as sites are blocked for no good reason. It also conflicts with the general thrust of the rest of NZ’s censorship regime in which all decisions must be published.
Being believers in open and accountable government, we made a request under the Official Information Act for a copy of the filtering list and the inspector’s reports that were used to justify adding sites to the list.
The Department of Internal Affairs refused our request for a copy of the list:
Continue reading Internet filter list to be kept secret
Why is Tech Liberty opposed to an Internet filter that is claimed to block access to child pornography?
We have been asked this question from time to time, with the unspoken implication that by opposing the filter we are unwilling for something to be done about it, or that we are monsters who support such material. We do not support the production or distribution of such material. While we believe that free speech is an important value that should not be lightly overridden, we also accept the right of societies to choose to censor.
The production and distribution of child pornography are serious crimes that should be eradicated but that does not mean that any solution should be immediately deployed without question. In this post we attempt to debunk some of the popular myths about Internet filtering.
Continue reading Internet Filtering Myths
The next round of ACTA negotiations starts on Tuesday in Guadalajara, Mexico. Representatives from each participating country, including New Zealand, will be talking further about what the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement treaty should include.
The New Zealand position
What will the New Zealand representatives be saying? Will they be supporting the inclusion of the new internet-related policies submitted by the USA at Seoul or will they be suggesting that the treaty should stick to the “counterfeiting” in its name and leave copyright for a more appropriate forum such as the World Intellectual Property Organisation?
Continue reading ACTA secrecy corrodes democracy
The Department of Internal Affairs have released a new version of the Code of Practice (PDF) for their proposed Internet filtering system, as well as the initial membership of the Independent Reference Group (PDF).
Independent Reference Group (IRG)
The initial members of the Independent Reference Group are:
Continue reading DIA revamps Internet filter Code of Practice
We’ve already discussed why disconnecting the Internet to punish someone is an inappropriate response. We don’t cut off people’s power or water if they commit a crime using them, and the Internet is becoming as important as those infrastructural services. We need the Internet to communicate with family, to perform our jobs, to deal with the government, for education and for entertainment. The Internet is becoming increasingly vital to participating in modern society.
But, ignoring this important point for now, there are also a number of practical reasons why Internet disconnection doesn’t work as a punishment for downloading unauthorised material.
Continue reading Internet disconnection is impractical
Even so! Look! We live in a computerized world. I can’t do a thing anywhere – I can’t get information – I can’t be fed – I can’t amuse myself – I can’t pay for anything, or check on anything, or just plain do anything – without using a computer.
– A Perfect Fit, Isaac Asimov, 1981
Why are we so interested in civil liberties? Surely they’re a luxury that we can’t afford in these economically depressed times, with war and terrorism on the international horizon?
Continue reading Internet disconnection is not an option