Amazon Web Services (AWS) has scored a whole-of-government agreement, through the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), to help New Zealand Government agencies accelerate the adoption of public cloud services.
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A new website making it easier for government in New Zealand to deliver information and services was designed and developed in-house by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), using the Common Web Platform. The templates are written in PHP, which DIA runs on the Silverstripe CMS.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) expects that most government agencies will have moved off Microsoft XP by April 8 and says that of those which haven’t, most should have moved within three months.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and New Zealand Post have spent $5.5 million so far this financial year on further development and operating costs for the RealMe digital log-in service.
Candace Kinser, CEO of NZ Technology Industry Association (NZTech), chats with ComputerWorld NZ on the important issues facing the country’s ICT sector and how the association is working with both the government and the industry to enable faster, stronger growth in the future.
NZ Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have progressed their own joint plan for cloud-based high-definition video networking, at the instigation of provider Asnet Technologies, without the direct involvement of the Department of Internal Affairs, which is coordinating all-of-government ICT.
The Department of Internal Affairs has confirmed IBM as the third member of the government’s Infrastructure as a Service supplier panel.
Brendan Boyle is to leave his role as government CIO and Department of Internal Affairs CEO, after being appointed CEO of the Ministry of Social Development.
New Zealand’s opt-in internet content filter, which went live in February, runs the Swedish Netclean Whitebox content filter on a set of servers.
Banned websites must be justified and signed-off by three “warranted inspectors of publications”. The blacklist has more than 7000 URLs of child sexual abuse material, according to 2009 government statistics. It has been in construction by the censorship unit since 2005 and is affiliated with Europe’s Cospol Internet Related Child Abusive Material Project.
Website requests are filtered by Border Gateway Protocol against a blacklist held on a central server in the government Censorship Compliance Unit. The list is maintained by the Independent Reference Group which reviews banned URLs each month for false positive listings.
New Zealand emergency communications infrastructure will receive a boost with the Department of Internal Affairs planning to invest in an alternative communications system for use in major national emergencies.
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 successor to the Government Shared Network (GSN) already has the critical mass to be viable, says Stephen Crombie, head of Government Technology Services (GTS), and anything beyond this would be a bonus.
Direct law enforcement of online child protection can be expected to ramp up this year with the creation of a new police team called Online Child Exploitation Across New Zealand (OCEANZ).
Auckland-based Pronet, a provider of secure network and systems infrastructure, has developed its own anti-spam system, which has now caught the interest of the Department of Internal Affairs.
A Christchurch man has become the first person in New Zealand to be raided under the new anti-spam act, more formally known as the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act, that came into force in September.