The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Web filter code of practice available

25 August 2009

The Department of Internal Affairs is inviting public input on its draft code of practice for blocking objectionable websites that host child sexual abuse images. The code is now available on the Department’s website and will be open to public comment until 28 September 2009: Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System

The Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System will be available voluntarily to Internet service providers (ISPs) in the next two months. It will focus solely on websites offering clearly objectionable images of child sexual abuse, which is a serious offence for anyone in New Zealand to access.

Internal Affairs, Deputy Secretary, Keith Manch, said the filter will be operated by the Department in partnership with ISPs.

“The code of practice provides assurance that only website pages containing images of child sexual abuse will be filtered and the privacy of ISP customers is maintained,” Keith Manch said. “The filter will not cover e-mail, file sharing or borderline material.

“The filtering list of over 7000 objectionable websites will be retained at the Department of Internal Affairs. The list will be reviewed manually monthly to ensure that it is up to date and that the possibility of false positives is removed.

“The Department is committed to transparency and considers that continued public support for the filtering system requires the operation to be as open to scrutiny as possible. An independent reference group will also be established to ensure the system is operated with integrity and adheres to the principles set down in the code of practice.

“Joining the filtering programme is voluntary and if any ISP subsequently is unhappy it will be able to withdraw.”

Comments on the code can be directed to:
Media contact:
Keith Manch, Deputy Secretary, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 9329; cell 021 227 6363
Trevor Henry, communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 0275 843 679