Saturday, 25 July 2009

The Great Firewall of New Zealand

Firstly need to say that child pornography is bad and should be stopped.

Secondly sorry for this not being on testing but felt I needed to say something.

Here in NZ the DIA is setting up a system akin to the Great Firewall of China. The DIA is setting a system up to screen out child pornography. There is nothing wrong with this as it should be stopped.

What I see wrong:
  • This is being implemented under the radar without any legislation governing it bounds and scope. With the infrastructure in place it is very easy just to add a new site in here or there
  • There is no formal tribunal and process to get sites unblocked
  • DIA are deciding what is in and out, not NZ's Chief Censor. This being the case there is nothing stopping the of blocking other sites.
  • It may slow sites down as if there is an IP hit the request goes via DIA'a infrastructure to decide if the URL is ok. I am guessing all Google's IPs will be placed in the check list as Google has their cached version service.
  • They are not publishing a list of blocked sites, as they clam it will be a list of sites to visit for people who are sick and want to have a look. As a NZ citizen I would like to know what sites my Government is blocking. Look at the Chief Censor they provide a list of everything they have rated along with their ratings and there is a process to get them re-evaluated.

Also I don't think it will work that well as from what I know about the Movie, TV and Music piracy scenes HTTP plays almost no role, as people don't download things from a HTTP server they all use other methods. Bittorrent for example generally uses HTTP for its trackers but can also use DHT. Then there is also Tor, Freenet and Onion Routing which can disguise and hide the traffic until it is somewhere else in the world. Then there is encryption and stenography. There is also old school basic things like NNTP which will store and distribute it al around the world.

This being the case it I feel this web filtering is giving the naïve some warm fussies that the government is trying to stamp Child Pornography out. When it really won't do all that much and places a internet filter in NZ's internet infrastructure that has not legislation governing it and can also be used by the government to stamp out free speech that it doesn't like. So NZ is now no better than China when it comes to the internet and one step closer to fasicit regime where the government controls everything and stamps out free speech and free choice.

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