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Mallard should send censorship software to dogbox


Mallard should send censorship software to the dogbox

Education Minister Trevor Mallard should withdraw approval of software that a North Shore high school pulled from its computers today following student protests, says Nandor Tanczos, the Greens' IT and Youth Issues Spokesperson.

Takapuna Grammar announced today it will abandon 'Watchdog' after students from Auckland group Radical Youth lobbied for its removal. The software, which was approved by Mr Mallard last year, blocks websites using a list of terms set in the US by a right-wing "Christian-principled" corporation. The ban list includes sites containing independent news, discussions of anarchist political theory and satire of evangelical groups. The school will move to 'Surfcontrol', which is also Ministry-approved, but allows schools themselves to set what material is banned.

"Our schools have a right and duty to control their students' on-premises net surfing, but our teachers should be the ones deciding what can and cannot be seen here, not a programmer working in the paranoid atmosphere currently prevailing in the US," said Nandor.

"Most New Zealanders would object to having Brian Tamaki telling them what their children can see online. "This move by Takapuna Grammar is a vote of no confidence in Watchdog. Mr Mallard should withdraw the Ministry's endorsement of the product immediately and provide any assistance needed to affected schools for transition to a new service.

"Maximum respect to Radical Youth for their awesome effort at highlighting this issue. Young people throughout New Zealand should let their schools know that US censorship has no place in New Zealand. This demonstrates the ability of young people to organise and be heard.

"I also want to congratulate Takapuna Grammar for listening and responding to the serious concerns of their students," said Nandor.

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