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Censoring Internet Porn and Xtra Anti-virus Filter

The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards Inc.
PO BOX 13-683 JOHNSONVILLE
PATRONS
Sir John Kennedy-Good KBE QSO
Professor TV O'Donnell MD FRACP CBE
Marilyn Pryor
Founder Patricia Bartlett O.B.E.

Media Release Thursday 15 August 2002
Censoring Internet Porn and Xtra Anti-virus Filtering

The sickening addictions of internet users to child pornography and other “objectionable” sexual material, is the subject of a TV 3 60 minute documentary at 7.30 p.m. tonight.

The Society for the Promotion of Community Standards has warned the New Zealand public for over 30 years of the dangers of the increasing availability of such “objectionable” material. The “expert censors” in the Office of Film and Literature Classification, Film and Literature Board of Review, Television programming departments and Broadcasting Standards Authority have largely ignored these warnings. They are the ones largely responsible for opening the floodgates to a deluge of hard-core and soft pornography that NZ society is awash with.

The Society has repeatedly warned that the prevalence of crimes involving sexual violations has links to the ever-increasing availability of publications that degrade, dehumanise and demean woman and children. The Society believes that all Adult-only (R18) sites that degrade and debase sex and pander to prurient and perverted minds should be filtered out by a more effective censorship to protect the public good.

The Telecom Xtra Internet Service Provider (ISP) has recently launched a new Anti-virus e-mail filtering system. It is claimed that this will protect customers from dangerous computer viruses. It works by deleting all incoming e-mails including attachments that contain viruses. For Xtra customers this free service is not optional. (Some might argue that this service is a form of censorship and contrary to freedom of expression). Other ISPs like Paradise do not offer this free facility but urge users to install suitable software virus protection at their own cost.

The Society applauds efforts by all ISPs to encourage and ensure that users are protected against harmful of computer viruses. However, it challenges them all to take the next logical step to what Xtra is offering free and build content filters into their network to protect users from the harmful effects of accessing “objectionable” internet material, including child pornography and material on Adult Only (R18) sites. This could be achieved at minimal cost by ISPs and the default setting on all computers would be required by law to be set up to filter out this material.

The “active” setting allowing user access to Adults Only websites could only be activated by an adult user who owns the computer and makes application to the ISP, providing proof of age and giving a legally binding undertaking that they will not allow any person under 18 years of age to access or download such material.

Few NZ ISP’s filter for objectionable content however a notable exception is the Auckland based ISP Maxnet.

Society President Rev. Gordon Dempsey says:

“Our families need to be protected from the ‘dark side’ of the Internet. The likelihood of injury to the public good from exposure to objectionable material is recognised in NZ censorship law.

“We call on our newly formed Labour led government to give priority to enacting legislation to force all Internet service providers to have internet content filtering available to customers. We challenge the Hon. Paul Swain, Minister of Communications and Information Technology to bring this matter before Cabinet and make it a Government priority to tackle the problem of internet child pornography and internet pornography addiction so prevalent among adult males. We also call on the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Hon. George Hawkins, who is responsible for the operation of the Office of Film and Literature Classification, to take a lead in this matter.

“We challenge Xtra and other ISPs to follow Maxnet and provide totally filtered Internet connections. The filtering technology is here and working, so let’s block websites with child pornography, offensive Adult contend”.


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