Saturday, July 24, 2021
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Internet Safety Company Welcomes Move To Empower Users To Protect Themselves

 Internet safety company Safe Surfer has commended
Kiwibank for being the first bank to introduce a feature
that lets customers block payments to gambling

Safe Surfer CEO and co-founder Rory Birkbeck
says Kiwibank’s move to let customers put a block on
payments to online casinos and gaming websites from their
Visa debit and credit cards is a welcome tool to help people
fight their gambling problems.

from The Department of Internal Affairs show that while
gambling declined across physical venues during COVID-19, it
rose dramatically on online gambling sites. Lotto saw a
record 13% increase in money spent during lockdowns helping
drive New Zealand’s highest quarterly spend on gambling
– $252 million – between October and December

Birkbeck says in light of the problem
Kiwibank’s move is great and hopes to see other banks
follow suit.

“From our point of view, we think the
crucial thing is to give people agency over their internet
use. So while blocking the payment part of the equation is a
good step, we think it’s important to let people create a
safe internet environment where they simply can’t see
gambling sites at all, so they know they are safe to use the
internet without being tempted.”

Birkbeck says Safe
Surfer uses machine learning to proactively recognise and
block sites across its entire range of categories, which
includes gambling but also such things as pornography. Users
can choose which category of sites they want to block. The
ability to change these controls is PIN protected and users
can choose to have someone such as a partner or support
person have control over that PIN, rather than

“It’s impossible for people to not use
the internet nowadays. Abstinence from being online is not
really an option. But it is possible to create an online
experience that is safe and lets people enjoy and use the
internet without finding themselves falling into destructive
behaviours. We think that with the aid of moves like this
from Kiwibank and tools like Safe Surfer that individuals
and their communities can be protected from harm without
having to sacrifice access to what is now a fundamental
necessity of

© Scoop Media


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