Internal Affairs to Continue Netfiltering Trial

In the Internal Affairs Statement of Intent for 2009-2012 we find that they identify three outcomes where they “wish to make an impact as a department”. These are:

  1. Strong, sustainable communities/hapu/iwi
  2. New Zealand’s approach to identity is trusted and well led
  3. Safer communities which is further split into three including “People are protected from spam and objectionable material”

This is then extended on and added to in a number of places throughout the document. Some excerpts:

The Government has a strong focus on crime and making communities safe. Criminals are increasingly using the internet to engage in activities that put individuals and business at risk. The Department is focused on making communities safer by creating an environment in which people are protected from spam and objectionable material. The Department will continue to work in partnership with other agencies and use technology to detect and prosecute offenders.

As New Zealanders have one of the highest rates of computer usage in the world, we experience relatively high availability of, and exposure to, objectionable material. Increasing speed of access (eg, through broadband) also increases potential exposure to harmful material. Rapid development of technology creates risks and opportunities in the censorship area and underlines the need for us to maintain strong international networks. Offenders take advantage of the relative anonymity and security the Internet and new technology offer. The most recent significant development in Internet offending is the ability to share large numbers of publications through peer-to-peer applications. This creates challenges due to the volume of material and the fact that the identities of the users are not readily detectable.

Then we finally see what they intend to do:

Some of our key initiatives for 2009–12 are to:

  • review the New Zealand child pornography risk profile to enable more targeted investigations
  • continue to develop software applications to ensure investigation and enforcement in the censorship area remains effective against offenders’ ever-evolving methods of evading detection.
  • continue to trial website filtering to assist in preventing New Zealanders from gaining access to websites containing objectionable material. This will restrict website hits and consequently diminish revenue to criminals.

So, in summary, there are no major changes in approach signaled by the budget, although there is that extra $611,000 of funding that will be used in this area.

Update – see article confirming that they have moved past a trial and are now actually paying for the system.