Questions are being asked what lobby organisation InternetNZ’s stance really is on the new internet filtering system that the Department of Internal Affairs will make available on a voluntary basis to ISPs within a few months. Internal Affairs deputy secretary Keith Manch said that the DIA “understands that InternetNZ is happy with our plans,” in its announcement yesterday. The filtering system will screen out child sex abuse images only, according to the DIA, and has been trialled by ISPs TelstraClear, Maxnet and Watchdog. However, concerns are being raised that the filtering system could be used to remove other types of internet content, as has happened in Australia and the United Kingdom. Now questions are being raised as to what InternetNZ’s position on the issue is. InternetNZ says it works to keep the internet open and uncaptureable. However, blogger Thomas Beagle asked if InternetNZ has an official position or against internet censorship by the government, and received an emailed reply from the lobby organisation that quotes its acting CEO, Richard Currey, as saying: “Governments have the right to determine what is and what is not objectionable, and to take action against that. InternetNZ's view is that only objectionable material, as defined in the Act, could be a legitimate case for censorship.” Beagle says the quote has also made the rounds on the InternetNZ mailing list, with no rebuttal from Currey. Asked by Computerworld to clarify whether the quote is correct, Currey says it is not. Currey says he has met with the DIA once, and asked for more information. The information would be used to draft a position paper, Currey says, that would be take to InternetNZ’s membership for discussion. Even so, Currey adds that “the implementation of any filtering system that could change the "Open and Uncapturable" nature of the internet is something that strikes at the heart of InternetNZ's philosophy and objectives, so needs to be clearly understood and debated." DIA late yesterday issued a reevised media release, saying: "Note: This release amends para 9 of the earlier release referring to Internet NZ ie: “Internet NZ has requested further information which the department will provide. The society will be able to review the hardware setup to ensure it complies with industry best practice."
the first version read:
“We understand that Internet NZ is happy with our plans but the society will be able to review the hardware setup to ensure it complies with industry best practice."