Filtering debate at NetHui 2018

Mandatory filtering of our internet by government agencies is appropriate in NZ

Facilitators: Shane Hobson & Andrew Cushen

Good cop Andrew & bad cop Shane will lead a discussion on the topic of internet filtering by NZ Govt agencies. Shane will take the affirmative, explaining that the benefits to society of filtering outweigh the costs, while Andrew will vigorously defend every New Zealander’s right to an open and accessible internet.

Bypass is pleased to announce our promotion to the NZTE F700

According to the NZTE, segmentation into F700 is based on a company’s willingness to engage with NZTE, ambition, capability and capacity to grow internationally and past international growth performance.

Our global network is currently processing 47.5 Billion DNS queries per second at peak.

NZTE has played an essential role in helping Bypass navigate international expansion. Of particular value, we’ve benefitted from the Beachheads advisors, who are a network of private sector experts who offer perspective and insights to help our customers grow internationally.

We’re pleased to see that NZTE has recognised our investment in establishing an office in India.

For Bypass, this means a more intensive account managed relationship, where NZTE provides strategic advice and some judicious, trusted advisor insight based on seeing what works across the export sector.

90% of customers agree or strongly agree that NZTE has added value to their business.

We look forward to continuing to strengthen our working relationship with them to support our international growth.

About NZTE
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is New Zealand’s economic development and trade promotion agency. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise helps companies grow internationally, bigger, better and faster, for the benefit of New Zealand.

Robi Safenet keeps children safe on the internet

Auckland/Mumbai: January 29th, 2018 – Leading digital company, Robi, has once again revolutionised Bangladesh’s digital landscape by introducing Robi Safenet – a unique service that allows parents to protect their children from harmful content on the internet through filtering.

Robi Safenet uses intelligent risk detection algorithm to allow/ block specific sites that are inappropriate for children. The service also allows parents to control when their child can use the internet. This is particularly useful to ensure child’s complete focus on their studies. Besides, it allows custom blocking of non-listed app/ URLs that are harmful for children.

In order to subscribe to the service, Robi customers need to visit www.robisafenet.com. Once subscription is done successfully, the parents can add their child’s number to start protecting them from the negative aspects of internet. Subscription to this service is free till the end of February 2018.

 

Commenting on the launch of Safenet, Robi’s Chief Commercial Officer, Pradeep Shrivastava said: “Digital lifestyle is rapidly becoming mainstream in Bangladesh. The imminent launch of 4G service is expected to accelerate this encouraging trend by manifolds. While such changes certainly bodes well for the socio-economic and personal development, it potentially exposes our children to the harmful aspects of internet. As a responsible company, Robi has empowered the parents to ensure their child’s safety on the internet through Robi Safenet. We are confident that this unique service will emerge as the key tool to ensure proper mental growth of our children in the society.”

This service has been launched by Robi in partnership with Bypass Network Services Limited, New Zealand and Ekaga Futuristics Private Limited, India. For further details about the service, Robi customers can visit www.robisafenet.com.


 

About Robi Axiata Limited

Robi Axiata Limited (“Robi”) is a subsidiary company of the Asian telecom giant, Axiata Group Berhad based in Malaysia. Robi is the second largest mobile network operator in Bangladesh. Robi has introduced many first of its kind digital services in the country and has invested heavily to take its mobile network to the underserved communities even in the rural areas. Other shareholders in the entity are Bharti Airtel International (Singapore) Pte Ltd and NTT DOCOMO Inc.

 

About Bypass

Bypass creates technology for telecommunications marketing teams to differentiate their brand and increase revenue. Bypass provides filtering services which keep kids safe online and helps telecommunications service providers meet industry regulated compliance requirements.

 

About Ekaga

Ekaga Futuristics Private Limited has been setup to address the gap which withholds the latest global innovators to enter into the South Asian market. Ekaga brings in Service Innovation to help such global start-ups enter the market. Ekaga Futuristics Private Limited is a partner of Bypass Network Services Limited for their operations in South Asia.

PITA members address the issue of protecting kids’ online safety in Fiji

Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 9.07.01 am

Samoa and Fiji lead the Pacific region regarding potentially harmful internet content, but for opposite reasons. The Samoan Regulator is encouraging Internet Service Providers in Samoa to establish systems to filter child sexual abuse materials and is currently undergoing a six months pilot scheme with the ISPs who have signed on to determine the best way forward and to ascertain legislative measures that need to be made.

On the other hand, according to this article published in the Fiji Times, Fiji leads the Pacific in searches for online pornography, ranking in the top 10 online searchers for adult content worldwide.

This June 2017 editorial from the Fiji Sun newspaper tells us that in May 2017 according to a report released by the Fiji Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, “There were … 21 victims (of rape or sexual assault) … under the age of 18 years.”

These two articles suggest that there is something going on in Fiji that is not conducive to a healthy society. Is there a link between the consumption of online pornography and a high incidence of sexual assaults in Fiji society? We don’t know the answer to that question, but we’re sure that something needs to change if this abuse is to stop.

We congratulate the Samoan Regulator on being proactive in stemming the flow of potentially harmful material available online, and we call upon all Pacific nations to show leadership in this area.

Bypass is a member of the IWF and proudly supports their vision of globally eliminating child sexual abuse imagery online and to make the internet a safer place. Bypass’ customers can have access to the IWF’s list of  blocked websites as a part of their network level parental controls solution Buddy Guard or Regulatory Enforcement products. The list is automatically integrated into our network filtering technology, and provides parents with peace of mind that their children will not be exposed to inappropriate content online.

While we encourage policymakers to take action, we would also say the regions’ telcos should not wait for regulation. We encourage telcos to take a stand today against this horrific crime and implement network-wide blocking of child sexual abuse content.

Telcos missing from Australia Online Safety on the Edge Conference

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 11.17.51 am

We have just returned from the Online Safety conference held in Sydney on Nov 1 – 3. The conference was jointly hosted by the Australian eSafety Commission and NZ’s own Netsafe.

The event was well attended with over 400 delegates and a range of interesting speakers. We shared a table with Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety for Facebook. She explained some of the tools that Facebook is using to help keep people safe online including their processes for taking down image based abuse after it has been posted online. Antigone went on to explain measures that Facebook is employing that allow people to pre-emptively block private images before they are posted onto Facebook. This is a significant step forward in stopping online image based abuse before it occurs.

The majority of delegates were from groups who provided training or support to young people helping them to be safe online or to assist those who had been victimised online.

There was only a small number of representatives from the online or telco industries suggesting a lack of awareness or sense of responsibility for the role we play helping to keep people safe in the online environment we’re creating.

Nearly all the presenters had an upbeat, positive story to tell about their work. The exception was a case study presented by the Child Exploitation Internet Unit of the New South Wales Police Force. This was a “warts & all” case study that took us through the detection, capture & conviction of five Australian child sex offenders  We were able to read the text messages and chats exchanged by the abusers, listen to their recorded phone calls and watch their police interviews. In this case all five offenders were convicted and imprisoned. This was a truly chilling presentation that gave a small insight into the world of child sex offenders and reinforced the value of our work.

This huge issue in the Australian household, & the perfect organisation to really help is the broadband provider. Bypass’ network level parental control – Buddy Guard is designed to help the service provider with a fast deployment model & tools to help with the challenges that families are currently facing in the home. It’s just one way the broadband provider plays a part in the wider ecosystem, with online content players & government to prevent children from harm online.

Virtualized Network Level Parental Controls will be the standard by 2020

Virtualization offers a unique opportunity for telcos to create services efficiently with agility and faster turnaround time.

Bypass is a specialist NFV vendor, we have taken a cloud first approach since we launched in 2014. Our virtualized technology stack offers a range of features which are enabled based on the underlying hardware provisioned by the telco. Our most discussed product is network level parental controls for telecommunications providers. Last week we were honoured to find our we’ve been nominated for the NZ Innovation Awards.

We first thought about launching a new type of network-level parental controls platform three years ago. As the telco trend for NFV drives new processes across physical and virtual network operations our ability to spot this trend early is why we’ve been recognised for innovation. We put together a team made up of specialised DevOps personnel who have built the network level parental controls platform to be cloud first, with a range of capabilities. Bypass has consolidated the traditional networking and software development roles into a single skill set and created a platform based on API methodology and containerisation principles.

Our team is at the cutting edge of network virtualization, yet our platform is mature – our technology already processes 15B DNS requests per day. Using this approach Buddy Guard, our parental controls platform is 80% cheaper to implement than traditional approaches. This provides a value-driven competitive advantage for telcos that is cost effective solution and allows marketers to differentiate their brand.

With the trend for global telcos with geographic distribution to deploy cloud-based architecture, the implication of such approach is they can appropriately mirror how data is distributed across data centres and geographic regions. This allows them to move from centralised URL filtering which increases latency to a decentralised cloud service model.

Buddy Guard network level parental controls operate across multiple locations as a cluster, independent of geographic distance and without the need for a separate management instance. This means, for example, a GSOC can implement group-wide security policy controls to prevent security threat outbreaks and if the policy implemented in real time across the entire network or operating group.

NFV Network Level Parental Controls

 

 

For upgrades, the time consumed to add the necessary capacity and budget impact is known, and scaling is tightly coupled with demand.

As a managed service Buddy Guard network level parental controls is different from a traditional vendor as the service includes a Service Level Agreement, and our engineers are proactively monitoring the 24/7 to maintain the platform to meet performance KPIs.

The horizontal scale is achieved by deploying new virtual (or physical) instances of the filter, no additional licensing is required, and provisioning of new nodes is automated using industry standard automation tools. Once the virtual hardware is ready, new nodes can be provisioned in minutes for a low-cost deployment model.

Speed to Market Network Level Parental Controls

The NFV deployment model reduces the time to market for network level parental controls offering a new reason for customers to remain loyal to the brand due to innovation while providing a point of difference entry into new markets. By partnering with Bypass, our telco customers minimise the risk by working with an experienced NFV VAS vendor to maximise their NFV investment.

Bypass provides thought leadership at PITA 2017 – radio interview

Shane Hobson recently attended the PITA 2017 AGM in the Cook Islands. He was there to debate the merits of Government mandated internet filtering vs a free, open, unfiltered internet. He met with government officials and service providers to share a global insight into trends from New Zealand, Europe and India about what works to minimise harm from new and emerging internet technology. Following on from the Prime Minister’s opening remarks about the operators taking responsibility there was plenty of robust debate and acceptance of each parties philosophies. The implementation of Network Level Parental Controls is being debated globally.

You can listen to his radio interview with Cook Islands National Radio here and note his closing remarks – sounds like he fell in love with Rarotonga – we’re not surprised!

PITA 2017.png

You can read more about the issues as they have been evolving over the past 12 months here and our solution for providing kid-safe internet here.

Opinion: Australia telcos on the back foot.

Updates below: 28 April 2017.

We’ve been watching the debate about regulatory compliance for copyright enforcement unfold in Australia. If things don’t change soon, Australian broadband users could lose substantial personal online privacy and security rights.

In December, the Federal Court ordered internet broadband companies like Telstra to block five copyright-infringing websites, including torrent site The Pirate Bay. The service providers were given 15 business days to implement the blocks from the 15th Dec.

This change to the law is important because this is the first time copyright has been used successfully in Australia to block access to a website.

It took approximately two years for the case to work its way through the courts; content rights holders will now seek to expand the blocking enforcement scope to protect their existing business models.

The wider issue is that because the Federal Court has allowed Internet service providers to choose the method of blocking, they implemented the lowest cost enforcement method, DNS redirection.

However, DNS settings are very simple for a broadband user to change, & end users figured out they could easily create a workaround. These users published this workaround on their blogs, and the traditional media picked up on these blog posts and increased awareness of the ineffectiveness of the blocking method.

australian-copyright-website-blocking-fails

When you consider the service providers get compensated a paltry $50 per domain blocked, it is logical they are going to use the cheapest approach possible.

So what happens now? Graham Burke, co-CEO of Village Roadshow told Mashable in January 2017 to expect further cases when the court resumes in February. Burke said Village Roadshow was working closely with the music industry on site blocking and was happy to shoulder the initial burden of bringing site blocking cases. “We’ve done so for a couple of reasons,” he said. “We’re significant content owners, and it’s good business.”

The Australian Minister of Communications Mitch Fifield was asked for comment; his office responded; they’re going take a hands-off approach and leave the matter to the courts saying – “A future review will consider whether the implementation of these website blocking decisions is operating effectively and whether improvements are necessary.” In the short term; “The decision to order the blocking of a website, and how that blocking is to be implemented, is a matter for the parties involved to put to the Federal Court to determine.”
australian-communications-minister-questioned-about-copyright-blockingThis means the service providers and Content owners will be heading back to court. Our assertion is behind closed doors lobbying is continuing to occur. Sadly we’d assert the service providers are on the back foot; as content owners now have a process to pursue the addition of new websites to be blocked nationally, and content owners can legitimately say the methods deployed are not effective.

We expect content owners will continue the case to enhance the capability of the site blocking because “it’s good business” while adding new domains to the blocking list.

  • The Ministry is taking a hands-off role will so leave the matter to the courts.
  • The courts could find the measures service providers have taken are not effective and impose a fine.
  • The content owners seek measures to prevent the use of 3rd party DNS workarounds by expanding the scope of blocking.
  • Alternatively, the courts find the measures the court have imposed are ineffective and require service providers to take further action by defining the technology requirement, increasing the legal costs and compliance cost burden.
  • The sector will bear much higher costs for compliance via deep packet inspection to block torrent traffic.
  • Alternatively, under sustained pressure, the Ministry may conduct a review of the suitability of DNS as a regulatory enforcement measure.
  • This action increases the risk that VPN use is then regulated, reducing commercial flexibility and removing consumer rights for private and secure browsing.
  • More browsers encrypt from the browser to the server reducing effectiveness
  • To maintain the status quo (be it, not a good one) the industry needs to be proactive to protect the rights of users (Privacy & Security). By taking one step forward, they can gain create new a bargaining chips for future negotiation/court action. These actions will be seen favourably in the eyes of Department of Communications and help reduce the pressure on the government from studios.

Bypass supports net neutrality, and we can see a way forward that maintains the balance for all parties. Ironically it’s because, at one time, we sat on the other side of the table from a huge amount of pressure for content rights holders while we were attempting to reduce piracy by offering access to paid streaming websites.

Our telco Regulatory Compliance platform can help the Aussie service providers protect user rights by enhancing the capability to prevent workarounds as our technology intercepts 3rd DNS workarounds.

If not, the future isn’t bright. Expect end user broadband costs to go up as service providers are forced to use deep packet inspection to see all of your online behaviour. In a worst case, users could lose the right to privacy a VPN provides, that is if the government registers VPN like they do in India, or ban VPN’s like they did in the UAE.

The technical methods for site blocking can be mutually agreed to by service providers and rights holders. Our DNS platform prevents the workaround, the current weakness in the DNS method the service providers have chosen.

We provide our regulatory compliance platform to telco’s in India; this could work for Aussie without significantly increasing the cost for telcos as it’s implemented transparently and requires no changes to the existing network infrastructure. This approach removes the risk of future mitigation by creating an effective DNS block which maintains the status quo and reduces future business risk.

Update 28 April 2017: In the wake of its first application for injunction, Roadshow in February launched legal action seeking to block another 41 websites.

Additional Comment. Bypass first published this blog on Fri 10th Feb 2017. According to ComputerWorld, the dispute over how to deal with mirror and proxy sites has started. As expected with the content owners looking to extend blocking to include proxy sites to the list of blocked domains.

Is your network NFV ready?

Network functions virtualization (NFV) is an initiative to virtualize the network services that are now being carried out by proprietary, dedicated hardware. NFV is designed to decrease the amount of proprietary hardware that’s needed to launch and operate network services.

This fundamental shift from physical to virtualized network functions with NFV is the next step forward for communications service providers. The ability to move traditional core network services such as routers and firewalls onto virtual machines will allow organisations to quickly respond to the demands put on their network in a cost-efficient and flexible manner.

 

spirent-service-provider-experience-with-nfv-6-638

Source: Spirent

Operators who are poised to begin adopting these new technologies and can deliver new products to their customers much faster using over fully virtualized networks. This is because value added services like Buddy Guard sit inside a resource catalogue, inside be the central location for building and defining these new products, exposing them to your sales channels and delivering them with zero-touch automation. This enables customers to turn on new services in minutes, using a self-service portal. With NPV the time-to-market is greatly reduced, and service automation and virtualization drive down deployment and operational costs.

NFV enables telecommunication providers the capability to offer new services to our customers in a very agile and flexible way, and the capability to bring up new functionalities on our network very quickly, coming from multiple partners.

spirent-service-provider-experience-with-nfv-12-638.jpg

Source: Juniper

This new model means that security performance in NFV will be key. With the bulk of the applications is moving to a cloud infrastructure, that means the security must be inside the virtualized cloud. This requires a focus on the so-called east-west traffic that is changing hands in the data centre at the virtualization layer. Buddy Guard uses a stateful security model – in which all applications are monitored in real-time — to provide enhanced security for east-west traffic within the app and the data centre, implemented closest to VMs and containers.

Speak with us about out NPV Ready Network Level Parental Controls Platform and NPV Router Strategy today.

Controlling Household Screen Addiction

There is still debate over which patterns of Internet use are excessive or addictive, however there is no doubt that the increased amount of time kids spend online is concerning to parents.

The global market for parental control solutions is fragmented. This fragmentation is because traditional solutions have required the home users to download software for each device and keep it up to date. In addition, because parental controls have also been part of a security sub-set, the measures have often been feature rich and too complex for the standard user to operate.

With no clear dominant players and the size of the parental control market predicted to double by 2018, there is an opportunity for a telecommunications provider to take a lead in shaping a positive online experience.

One of the problems are that traditional solutions are activated from software that is activated separately on each device in the home. With the number of mobile phones, tablets and laptops in the home these days it’s become too hard. When the family all used the desktop in the corner of the lounge this wasn’t an issue, but now this is seen as too hard to implement and keep up to date. Some of these solutions are seen as too expensive with high monthly fees or upfront costs, payable per annum based on the number of devices in the home and slow down the online experience when users demand speed and performance.

Parents feel out of control with the pace of change and exponential growth on the internet. They feel like they can’t keep up and that their kids are several steps ahead of them.

Credit: Facebook Parental Controls Review. TopTenReviews.com 30 Statistics about teens and social networking.

Internet use has become so normalised and mobile data is ubiquitous. This makes it difficult for parents to know whether they are too strict or too relaxed about the online behavior of their children.

This is often complicated by their own often heavy use of the internet and the pressure from schools for kids and teens to use online resources. Parents are finding that their kids stay glued to their screens even as they begin to experience major problems in functioning, in ways that are not dissimilar from those dealing with substance abuse and gambling disorders. There is still debate over whether someone can be addicted to the Internet itself, or if the Internet serves as a vehicle for engaging in addictive behavior.

Screen time can become an addiction when it begins to impair life functioning deeply. Some individuals game to the point of dropping out of school or isolating themselves from real-world socialising.

The two biggest concerns we’ve found from our focus group research are inappropriate content and amount of time spent online. While both are important to all parents in families with younger children, the focus is inappropriate content. From middle school age, parents’ concern shifts to the amount of time spent online and what impact this has on other aspects of life.

Social networking seems to be disproportionately problematic for women while males have more problems with gaming and pornography. But what is the threshold for problematic patterns of usage? From a developmental perspective, there is more research to understand how specific types and patterns of Internet usage at different ages and how this leads to potential problems.

While the mental health community has started to see an uptick in complaints about screen addiction, we do not have set guidelines to screen for it.

Part of the confusion comes from the fact that we have pushed technology into our schools. This is not a bad thing in and of itself, but moderation has become a hard balance when technology is a necessary part of children’s upbringing.

As our kids have become more isolated and detached as technology pervades their lives from waking to sleeping or staying up all night gaming, the telecommunications provider can help. Buddy Guard is designed to be a part of an educational campaign to enable parents to find ways to help children and teenagers maintain a healthy digital diet, without the helicopter-parenting effect.

The goal of Buddy Guard parental controls is to achieve moderation, not abstinence. Outcomes are different depending on each family. To establish healthy practices from the beginning, we work with the telecommunications provider to develop parenting guidelines for regulating technology at every age of childhood.

Our approach using our world’s first transparent DNS software is game changing, reducing the total cost of ownership by millions of dollars and allowing the telecommunications provider a choice in the commercial model. This is due to a much lower infrastructure cost which minimises the cost of deployment and significantly reduces the on-going capital requirements to maintain performance as data volumes grow exponentially.

Buddy Guard is also designed to reduce the cost of compliance from regulation. At the same time as user side demand occurs, regulatory pressure on the telecommunication sector increases globally. This is due to national security concerns and media lobbying in Australia and New Zealand, and social behaviour norms in India and Indonesia telco’s. These costs are grossing, increasing the cost of compliance for telecommunications providers, a cost Buddy Guard will significantly reduce especially if your compliance model is proxy or DPI based.

Parents must discuss online activity with their children to better ensure their safety and security offline. Buddy Guard Parental Controls can be enabled by the telecommunications provider to address these issues.