Personal tools
You are here: Home Media Media Release Archive Older InternetNZ Internet Filtering Software no Sub for Adult Supervision

InternetNZ Internet Filtering Software no Sub for Adult Supervision

The issue of children's safety on the Internet was discussed as a part of the Internet Society of New Zealand's consultations on the proposed Crimes Amendment Bill #6. "The Society is conscious that adults are concerned that children can potentially access material, including pornographic material, on the Internet that they would be legally prevented from seeing elsewhere", said Society Executive Director Sue Leader. "The technology is improving, but at this stage the best protection for children is still adult supervision".

The Society encourages the development of self regulation schemes
whereby content providers provide warnings. The Society has taken a
lead in this area with the Internet Code of Practice
( "Although some of the major
Internet Service Providers, such as Clear and Actrix, have signed the
Code, there is still a long way to go," Leader said. The Society also
encourages the quest for technological solutions to prevent the
delivery of undesirable material, but does not believe any satisfactory
technology-based solutions have been developed.
The Society is concerned that products are being offered which
promise to screen material from sites offering potentially offensive
material, on the basis of image content. "From our experiences to date,
the technology is unsatisfactory, in that the ability to distinguish
between pictorial materials is not sufficiently precise. In the
Society's view it is unlikely that satisfactory systems, based on
distinguishing image content, will be developed in the near future."
The Society believes that the technology-based solutions developed
to date can provide some protection. "Unfortunately they also allow
material through that they claim to be blocking. In consequence they
must not be relied upon and the Society does not recommend their use.
Additionally there is good evidence that such services not infrequently
block sites in error, limiting the value of the Web".
Peacefire, an organisation dedicated to investigating the accuracy
of filtering software, has documented the range of sites incorrectly
blocked by existing technology-based solutions on their website, The Society recommends that anyone
considering a technology-based solution review the reports on that site
before deciding on a product.
In some circumstances lists of allowed sites, rather than lists of
blocked sites, may be useful. However such a solution is clearly not
generally acceptable.
The Society continues to encourage active monitoring and guidance of
children's use of the web by parents and teachers as likely to provide
the most useful way of protecting children from exposure to unsavoury
material. The Department of Internal Afffairs (
has produced useful leaflets for the guidance of adults who are new to
the Internet themselves.
For further information please contact:
Sue Leader, ISOCNZ ph (04) 472-1600
© 2001 The Internet Society of New Zealand
Last updated 20 September 2001

Document Actions