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Crime-Justice

New Zealand upgrades filtering system to stop digital child exploitation

IANS | June 19, 2024 10:53 AM

WELLINGTON: The New Zealand government has made a significant upgrade to its digital child exploitation filtering system, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden said.

The Department of Internal Affairs will incorporate this year the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual abuse material provided by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), a Britain-based not-for-profit organisation, into its existing filter, van Velden added.

The IWF filter is updated daily using both human analysis and artificial intelligence to identify webpages confirmed to host this illegal material, Xinhua news agency reported.

"This is a major step in preventing children from being re-traumatised by having records of their abuse shared online, as well as preventing New Zealanders from viewing this material, including unintentional access by children, " the Minister said, adding that this will increase the number of blocked URLs from around 700 to up to 30, 000 on any given day for New Zealand minors.

The Digital Child Exploitation Filter is currently fully operational in New Zealand as well as Samoa and Tonga, and work is underway to extend it to the Cook Islands, she said, adding that the filter blocks criminal content which is confirmed to contain children. Other adult content which is legal in New Zealand will not be blocked.

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