NZ Ready


19th July 2009

A filtering system to block websites that host child sexual abuse images will be available voluntarily to New Zealand internet service providers (ISPs) within a couple of months,says the Internal Affairs Deputy Secretary, Keith Manch.

The Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, funded with $150,000 in this year’s Budget, will be operated by the Department in partnership with ISPs.

It will focus solely on websites offering objectionable images of child sexual abuse, which is a serious offence for anyone in New Zealand to access.

“The filtering system is a response to community expectations that the government and ISPs should do more to provide a safe internet environment,”says Keith Manch.

“It is not a silver bullet that will prevent everyone from accessing any sites that might contain images of child sexual abuse,”he says,” but it is another important tool in the Department’s operations to fight the sexual abuse of children.”

“The distribution and viewing of images of this abuse – wrongly called child pornography – is trading in human misery.

“It is the result of real children being sexually abused and exploited in the worst possible way. Each time anyone anywhere in the world accesses one of those images, the child depicted is victimised again,”says Mr Manch.

Keith Manch says,however,the filtering list will not cover e-mail, file sharing or borderline material.

“Anyone trying to access websites offering child sex abuse pictures will receive a screen message saying the site has been blocked because it is illegal,” Keith Manch says.

“The Department is developing a code of practice, which will be publicly available, to provide assurance that only website pages containing images of child sexual abuse will be filtered and the privacy of ISP customers is maintained,” he adds.

An independent reference group will also be established to oversee the operation.