Thursday

Filtering the Internet, it's for your Own Good New Zealand !

Watch out in New Zealand, it looks like the latest country to implement a content filtering device to protect it's citizens. Following on from Australia who seem hell bent on some pretty heavy duty filtering, the authorities in NZ have finished testing a filtering system based on Netclean Whitebox (again same as Australia). They are expected to announce it's implementation any day soon.

When it's implemented anybody trying to access a website with content deemed illegal will receive a message similar to this.

Your IP address will then be recorded and logged.  To what end I'm not sure, but remember your IP address can very simply be traced back to your computer and address.

Well, so what you might think, don't we want to stop paedophiles visiting such web sites and distributing such content?  Of course the answer has to be - yes, but  this is not the solution and I'll give you a few reasons why in my opinion.

Firstly it simply doesn't work, sure it will block the people who take no countermeasures but lets face it that will include mainly just innocent surfers who happen to get redirected to one of these sites.  The system chosen by New Zealand will filter requests based on urls in a black list created by the authorities.  Any traffic which is suspected of going to one of these websites, will get check and filtered - this of course will have an impact on the performance of your web browsing.   You will be subject to this filtering on any perfectly legitimate web site that may happen to be on the same server or VPS as a blacklisted site.

Of course anybody using a privacy protection system like Identity Cloaker won't get blocked or filtered anyway, and anyone using similar solutions such as VPNs, free or private proxies will also bypass these checks.  So anyone who actively tries to protect their privacy will not be filtered - which beggars the question why bother spending money and slowing down web performance for all  the innocent users when it can easily be bypassed.


Quite beside the point that it starts down the slippery slope of extensive censorship of the internet by a government, remember that little black list has to be decided on, maintained and updated by someone.  It also completely misses the point in my opinion - if there are web sites run by criminals and paedophiles, our governments should not be wasting resources trying to block people who don't want to view these sites anyway.  They should be working together to taking these web sites down and bring the people responsible to justice.

If the technical solution did actually work and there were no simple routes around it, would it still be a great result if a paedophile in New Zealand had to travel outside his country to visit these sites, or get them mailed or transferred electronically instead???   I think at most it has achieved inconvenience, but at the cost of censoring, spying and messing with ordinary web users.

If internet filtering worked then use it, but it simply doesn't !

So I hope that the citizens of New Zealand are not the next ones who are subject to this pointless and costly  invasion of privacy by their governments.  Watch this space, I'll update this post with the announcement if it appears and then I suggest you take a look at Identity Cloaker or other security program !!  The people at Tech Liberty have many more details on the New Zealand Internet filtering.

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