Govt internet filter going live is sad day for NZ Internet
The Department of Internal Affairs has admitted that the internet filter is now operational and is already being used by ISPs Maxnet and Watchdog. It appears that Maxnet have not told their customers that they are diverting some of their internet traffic to the government system to be filtered.
Thomas Beagle, spokesperson for Tech Liberty, “We’re very disappointed that the filter is now running, it’s a sad day for the New Zealand internet.”
The DIA refuses to say which other ISPs will be joining the filter, claiming the right to negotiate in secret. Tech Liberty understands that Telstra Clear, Telecom and Vodafone have said they will implement the filter, with Orcon, Slingshot and Natcom saying that they won’t.
David Zanetti, technical spokesperson for Tech Liberty, “We fear that the filter will reduce the stability of the internet in New Zealand. It is a single point of failure, introduces a new and very tempting target for hackers, and by diverting traffic will cause issues with modern internet applications.”
Tech Liberty is concerned about the expansion of government powers represented by the filter. It establishes the principle that the government can choose to arbitrarily set up a new censorship scheme and choose which material to block, with no reference to existing law. Even worse, the list of what is filtered is kept secret, in direct contrast to the rest of New Zealand’s censorship regime where the Chief Censor must publish decisions banning offensive material.
The US government has recently spoken out against government filtering of the internet, with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton saying that “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.” She then said that the US is committed to helping people to circumvent government internet filtering.
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