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Sky Attempting to Censor Internet, Says Vocus

29 November 2017

Sky Attempting to Censor Internet, Says Vocus

Broadband provider rebuffs ‘astounding’ legal request

SKY TV is demanding New Zealand’s main broadband providers block access to a range of websites – a move that Vocus Group – which runs the Orcon, Slingshot and Flip brands – has labelled gross censorship and a breach of net neutrality.

SKY, via its lawyers, requested that that the TV company pick and choose the websites Kiwis can access via Spark, Vocus, Vodafone and 2Degrees networks. The request is in direct opposition to the idea that the internet is a free and open resource which should be accessed without censorship, says Vocus Consumer General Manager Taryn Hamilton.

“SKY’s call that sites be blacklisted on their say so is dinosaur behaviour, something you would expect in North Korea, not in New Zealand. It isn’t our job to police the Internet and it sure as hell isn’t SKY’s either, all sites should be equal and open,” says Hamilton.

Interference with the public’s access to the Internet and online content has been identified as a breach of equality and freedom of information, a fundamental human right. The call, if heeded, would go directly against these rights, as well as the principles of net neutrality which Vocus abides by.

“The fact that SKY has made this request to New Zealand’s main telco providers in this day and age is frankly astounding,” says Hamilton.

“Delivering a competitive commercial alternative to piracy is the best way to fight piracy. The success of Netflix, iTunes and Spotify proves that people are willing to pay to access good-quality content. It’s pretty clear that SKY doesn’t understand the internet, and is trying a Hail Mary to turnaround its sunset business.”

According to Vocus stats, New Zealand interest in The Pirate Bay has less than halved since Netflix launched in New Zealand. Today traffic to The Pirate Bay is only 23 per cent of its 2013 peak and Netflix has fast become the largest content provider in the country

“Not only does the request demonstrate a lack of understanding of the internet, it is futile – blocking a few sites will do nothing to stop piracy. SKY needs to get with the times, up their game and properly face what they are challenged by, rather than taking it upon themselves to make censorship calls,” concludes Hamilton.

The timing of the request is also completely misguided given the furore in the US over a potential repeal of net neutrality regulations in the coming weeks, with Internet users worldwide rallying against this potential body blow to Internet freedom


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