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Internet censorship in New Zealand refers to filtering website traffic to prevent Internet users in New Zealand from accessing certain selected sites and material, specifically material that deals with the sexual abuse or exploitation of children and young persons. The "Department of Internal Affairs runs the filtering system. It is voluntary for ISPs to join.
The Department of Internal Affairs maintains a secret list of banned sites and their internet addresses on a NetClean WhiteBox server. The DIA then use the "Border Gateway Protocol to tell the participating ISPs that the 'best' way to the internet address of the banned site's web server is through the DIA's filtering server. When a person tries to access a site (banned or not) on one of the filtered addresses, their ISP divert the request to the DIA's server. The DIA's filtering server then looks at the request. If it is to a banned site, the request is refused and a message is sent back to the person. The user has the option of getting counselling and/or anonymously appealing the ban if they wish to. If it is to a non-banned site, the DIA's filtering server passes the request on to the real server through the DIA's internet connection.
The largest ISPs in New Zealand, "Spark New Zealand and "Vodafone, possessing 75% of the domestic market, are both users of this scheme. Other ISPs in the scheme include Airnet, "Kordia, Maxnet and Xtreme Networks.
In March 2009, the Minister for Communications and IT, "Steven Joyce, stated that the government had been following "Internet censorship in Australia, and had no plans to introduce something similar in New Zealand. He acknowledged that filtering can cause delays for all Internet users, and that those who are determined to get around any filter will find a way to do so.
In March 2010, the Department of Internal Affairs has admitted that the filter is operational and is already being used.