2 min read

Tech Against Terrorism Reviews New Zealand’s 2022 Digital Violent Extremism Transparency Report

In our assessment, New Zealand continues to set the standards for greater meaningful transparency on online counterterrorism efforts.

On 16 March 2023, the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) published its 2022 Digital Violent Extremism Transparency Report providing insight into New Zealand’s efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism (TVE) online. 

Transparency reporting on counterterrorism efforts significantly illuminates the extent to which human rights and fundamental freedoms are respected when tackling terrorist use of the internet. Since several governments are actively engaged in facilitating the removal of terrorist content online, it is crucial that they also publish transparency reports on their online counterterrorism efforts to ensure accountability to their citizens and internet users.

To improve government transparency in this area, in 2021 Tech Against Terrorism published its Guidelines On Transparency Reporting On Online Counterterrorism Efforts. These guidelines are used to evaluate tech platform transparency efforts as part of our Mentorship Programme, and to establish general requirements for reporting on tech platform transparency. We have also created guidelines to evaluate governmental transparency efforts. As such, we provide an assessment of New Zealand’s 2022 transparency report according to our Guidelines. 

Tech Against Terrorism’s assessment of New Zealand’s 2022 Digital Violent Extremism Transparency Report 

Last year, Tech Against Terrorism reviewed the DIA’s first ever Digital Violent Extremism Transparency Report. We commend New Zealand for setting an example to other governments by publishing detailed metrics and information on how the DIA identifies TVE content online and collaborates with tech platforms to remove such content.

New Zealand’s latest transparency report continues to set high standards this year, with the DIA including most of the information and metrics recommended by Tech Against Terrorism. New Zealand’s efforts are an example for countries to follow in achieving greater meaningful transparency on online counterterrorism efforts by explaining the processes and mechanisms behind the metrics.  

2021 to 2022: Key Comparisons between New Zealand’s Digital Violent Extremism Transparency Reports

The 2022 Digital Violent Extremism Transparency Report includes a section on processes the DIA have newly introduced since the 2021 report: the take-down notice process and the appeals process. As with the 2021 report, the DIA clearly outlines when the processes were established, and how they work in practice, and provides a breakdown of metrics collected since their implementation.

The 2022 report continues to define or provide links to key terms, such as ‘objectionable’ or New Zealand’s definition of terrorist content. However, the latest transparency report has removed the annex included in the 2021 edition which more comprehensively details New Zealand’s legal frameworks and policies. 

The 2022 report also features important information absent from the 2021 edition, namely: the type of content and data recorded following the discovery of terrorist activity online, redress policies for content or activity that was wrongfully removed as a result of a government request, and appeals or disputes concerning government actions.

It is Tech Against Terrorism’s assessment that the 2022 Digital Violent Extremism Report builds upon the great foundation laid in the 2021 edition by adding key findings, reports on emerging harms, and data which is presented in an increasingly digestible format.

Tech Against Terrorism’s Recommendations

The DIA has acted on Tech Against Terrorism’s previous recommendation to include metrics on appeals to reinforce its accountability to online users. It has included information on New Zealand’s newly established appeals process and on the number of appeals received in the 2022 report.

Going forward, Tech Against Terrorism recommends that New Zealand include its definition of terrorism, and the designation lists to which it adheres, as an annex in all transparency reports, as with its 2021 edition. We further recommend that New Zealand include information on Terms of Service referrals, more detailed information on its systems to discover terrorist activity online, and, when it has data on appeals, to break down these metrics by company, type of report, and success rate. 

Technology Companies' Response to Charlottesville

In the aftermath of the Charlottesville attack, several tech companies made the decision to remove neo-nazi website The Daily Stormer from their...

Read More

The UK’s Response to Terrorism Online: Tech Against Terrorism Responds to Launch of CONTEST Strategy

Tech Against Terrorism, a UN-backed online counterterrorism organisation, gives its reaction to the updated UK’s Counterterrorism Strategy, CONTEST,...

Read More