Natcom has launched a $59.95/month service that lets a company block staff from accessing specific websites. The company says relying on inhouse IT staff to track users, to comply with S92, would be like "letting the rabbits guard the lettuce”.
When the Copyright Amendment (New Technologies) Act comes into force February 28, many are bracing for team police units, flanked by RIANZ thugs and Guardian reporters, to immediately cut the connection of anybody who glances at the wrong YouTube vid, the victim’s only hope being that Stephen Fry will launch a hunger strike on their behalf (would you do that Stephen? Are you committed to the fight against S92?).
In fact, events are likely to unfurl in more moderate fashion. The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) has today accepted that a moderator should stand between copyright holders and ISPs, smoothing another element of a clumsy law that the ISP code of practise, with its right-of-reply disputes process has already gone a long way toward rectifying.
The act’s breathtakingly vague, clumsy wording does not seem to require any ISP (which may include any entity providing any level of internet access, such as a company to its employees) to track who goes to what site.
But the Creative Freedom Foundation (CFF) and others lobbying about the costs the act will impose on business, says it would be prudent for companies to log employees’ internet use anyway, in case they are later hit by a copyright complaint they need to refute, or otherwise action.
Enter Natcom, a managed internet services company based in Auckland, best known for creating the “Fivo” platform that Telecom uses for its wi-fi hotspots.
Among other services, Natcom is an ISP, specialising in fibre connections.
“When we first heard about the act, we felt sorry for ourselves,” says Natcom commercial director Steve Smith. “Then our thinking matured and we started thinking about our customers.”
Natcom began developing a remotely-monitored firewall product called SLAM (for service level access management). A five-user SLAM license will cost $59.95 a month.
Mr Smith accepts there’s a plethora of security and internet usage tracking solutions out there.
But he says companies large enough to install a firewall and access management software usually do so through an inhouse IT team.
And that, says Mr Smith, is like letting the rabbits guard the lettuce. IT staff – more geeky, and savvy than the staff they help and police – are often the worst offenders in terms of downloading illegal videos, music and software.
A remotely managed solution like SLAM will suit smaller companies without an IT staff, or those who want to make sure there’s an eye being kept on the bunnies, too.
SLAM will can pull the usual managed access tricks, allowing a company to block access to specific websites, either full-stop, or by user or time period. The product is available immediately.
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