Independent Reference Group Meeting Minutes December 2012

Meeting held at 46 Waring-Taylor Street, Wellington 1.00pm, 11 December 2012


Nic McCully

Steve O’Brien

Audrey Barber

David Stone

Andrew Bowater


 Mark Harris

1. Filter System Update

The most notable change to the filter system has been the addition of an additional provider, which joined the system on the day of the meeting. The filter system’s coverage of business users is now approximately 70-75% and residential coverage is approaching 100% based on data provided by the service providers. Officials will commence discussion with the next ISP about joining.

Officials presented a report covering the 2012 calendar year that shows an increase in the number of filtered requests in the last half of the year. The reason for this is officials have begun to systematically target feeder sites through which users access child abuse materials. This is an effective strategy without increasing the number of filtered sites. The success of this strategy has been shared with Interpol.

In the last two quarters 59 appeals were considered and all the websites confirmed as containing child sexual abuse material. No complaints were received about sites being blocked that should not have been.

The trend previously reported, for more mobile devices to be blocked, is continuing.

2. System Health

Based on numbers supplied by the providers, the system is estimated to be filtering 2.5 – 2.7 million connections, with no sign of degradation of Internet performance as the result.

3. General

Code of Practice

Officials circulated a revised draft Code of Practice for discussion that included changes requested at the previous meeting. It was noted that the changes to the Code provide greater clarity and reflect operational changes during the evolution of the filtering system over the first two years of its operation.

IRG members expressed their support for the changes. Noting that the current version of the Code was approved by Keith Manch as Deputy Secretary, officials will now seek the approval of the revised Code and ensure it is posted on the Department’s website. A brief discussion was held about whether a definition of a “child” should be included. However, the meeting concluded that there is no need for further definitions.

Operation Laminar

While not connected to the operation of the filtering system, officials showed the meeting a short video about Operation Laminar, an international operation that resulted in the saving of 12 children and the prosecution of people across the globe. The Department worked closely with Interpol, which is working with countries that are not resourced to address online offending to take down websites and prosecute offenders.

The meeting concluded at 2.00pm.


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