Independent Reference Group Meeting Minutes - June 2013

Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System

Independent Reference Group Meeting Minutes June 2013

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Meeting held at 46 Waring-Taylor St, Wellington 10 a.m., 20 June 2013


Andrew Pirie

David Stone

Mark Harris

Nic McCully

Audrey Barber

Steve O’Brien

Maarten Quivooy

1. Filter System Update

Officials presented the Quarterly Report that shows a noticeable increase in the number of filtered requests. Forty-six appeals were considered in the quarter and in all cases the websites were confirmed as containing child sex abuse material. 

A comparison of statistical data sets was presented, comparing the January 2012 - May 2012 period and the January 2013 - May 2013 period. This showed a marked increase in attempts to access filtered material from mobile and tablet devices. 

2. System Maintenance

A system upgrade is planned to address the expiration of hardware warranties. All service providers will be notified of the planned staggered rollout.

3. System Health

Officials advised that, based on data provided from ISP clients, the filtering system has 2.5 million user addresses connected to it. It is currently using approximately 1% of resources which are devoted to the filter system itself and the processing of 1GB + of traffic per day. 

4. General

Officials provided an oral briefing on the incident reported regarding a degradation of service noted by some users of certain services. The Filter Operations Team worked with the provider of those services in question. It was discovered that hentai and cgi based child abuse sites hosted on the domain, a resource operated by Google Inc were included in the list in error.

These sites were then shown to the IRG.

It was then explained that a list refresh, removed the sites in question, and subsequently resolved this issue.

The problem was further compounded by the severe congestion in the networks of one of the upstream providers used by the system. A review of the Filter’s failsafe systems was undertaken. Steps have been added to ensure that the IPs of large hosting providers are flagged and placed on a white list with a reporting mechanism for the removal of the content from the site. Additional resources were requested from the upstream provider in question to ensure traffic congestion can be avoided in the future. 

The IRG went on to discuss the possibility of a review of the Filter system. The Department undertook to provide the next meeting of the IRG with possible dimensions for a review, to inform the IRG and Department’s consideration as to whether a review is required at this point in time. 

The meeting concluded at 11am.