New MP calls for ISPs to filter porn

ISPs should be required to filter content for pornography says new United Future MP Paul Adams, who raised the issue in parliament this week.

ISPs should be required to filter content for pornography says new United Future MP Paul Adams, who raised the issue in parliament this week.

Adams raised the spectre of former National Party MP Trevor Rogers' ill-fated Technology and Crime Reform Bill when he asked the House if ISPs should be required to filter content.

Because Adams was asking a supplemental question during a discussion on the chief censor's office the speaker ruled his question out of order, however Adams says he will use his time in parliament to continue to raise the issue.

"No, I don't have any plans for a [private members] bill but this is an issue I will continue to raise at every opportunity," says Adams, who believes ISPs should be more accountable for the traffic that passes across their networks.

"I think they should be filtering out certain things that are objectionable or are illegal."

Adams says that isn't simply limited to pornography and would include violence as well.

"This young killer that's just been convicted, clearly he's seen an image somewhere of someone being hit with a baseball bat and bouncing straight back up. It can be hard on younger children to make the connection sometimes."

Adams also refers to a "double standard" in society.

"Take this young boy in Cambridge writing about erections. He got into trouble for that but if you listen to the music young people listen to that's where he got that from. It's a double standard to allow them access to it on one hand and tell them off for it on the other."

Adams concedes there may be some difficulty in filtering traffic for these items but it's an area he wants investigated.

Rick Shera, an Auckland-based lawyer who is also on the council of InternetNZ, says the issue of filtering is a tricky one.

"Filtering should be viewed with a lot of care because you can place a lot of confidence in filtering that can be misplaced. It doesn't necessarily catch the things you want it to catch and that it catches things you don't want it to."

Shera says the emphasis instead should be placed on education.

"Our view is that the better approach is education and that especially children understand some of the issues and dangers involved in the internet."

Shera says the government also needs to play more of a role in co-ordinating efforts around the internet.

"At the moment we have legislation all over the place. We have crimes act changes, we have censorship, we have copyright, we have customs, privacy, all sorts of legislation."

Shera would like to see a more "holistic approach" to the internet.

"There is the potential for great inconsistencies coming through because of that approach. I think it really behoves everyone to look at this in a much more rounded fashion."

Internet Safety Group spokeswoman Liz Butterfield agrees education is the key.

"Our survey showed that 43% of kids access the internet from somewhere other than the home, which says if they're determined enough it doesn't matter what your set-up at home is like really. It's better to focus on education because that way it doesn't matter where they are, they know the issues and they know how to deal with the situation."

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