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NZ Listener Article on CYFSWATCH 31/3/07.

Posted by watchingcyfswatchnewzealand on April 3, 2007

As posted on CYFSWATCH NZ

Russell Brown writes:

NZ Listener Article on CYFSWATCH 31/3/07.
Tuesday, 03.04.2007, 09:31pm (GMT12)

From the Listener archive:


March 31-April 6 2007 Vol 208 No 3490

Wide Area News

Secrets & lives

by Russell Brown

Few journalists have been able to find out who’s behind the re-emerged CYF Watch website.

Given the extent to which happenings on the internet now drive daily news agendas, it’s surprising how few news journalists have even the most basic skills for finding information online.

When the former CYF Watch blog re-emerged recently as a fully fledged website, few reporters seemed to have any idea of its provenance. But it was easy to tell that CYF Watch now has associations closer to home than it did in its former incarnations on the Blogger and WordPress blogging platforms.

The new site declared itself to be both “powered by” and copyright to, “The Pro‑active Protest Site”. A “whois” search revealed that the domain name is registered to Henk Van Helmond of Masterton, but the only media organisation to have twigged that at the time of writing is Van Helmond’s local paper, the Wairarapa Times-Age.

Van Helmond, who first hit the headlines in 2003 as a name-and-shame campaigner against people who illegitimately use disabled parking spots, told the paper he was motivated by personal experience of the “culture of evil” at Children and Young Persons in the course of a 17-year dispute after his son was put into a foster home.

In a message on his site Van Helmond promised to host more protest sites for “anyone that wants a site that won’t be closed down by the likes of Google or WordPress, and even the NZ Government”.

Mercifully, given the history of CYF Watch, he declared it “illegal in both NZ and the nation where the server is located for any site to be a hate site, a file-sharing site, a child porn site, a terrorists’ site, or a site advocating murder of any person(s) or a site preaching the overthrow of any government”.

His server is located in Vallejo, California, under the management of a hosting company called SoftLayer, which bans spam and scams, but does permit file-sharing. Its acceptable-use policy also explicitly forbids “death threats, terroristic threats [and] threats of harm to another individual” as well as “threats or harassment to individuals, organisations or businesses unless it falls within the bounds of protected free speech under the first amendment”.

It’s more difficult to identify the operators of CYF Watch. The registration details of their internet domain name are hidden behind a Wellington-based company called, which offers a service that shields the names and addresses of registrants. And if you detect a certain irony in a group that has solicited the private address details of multiple public servants so thoroughly covering its own tracks, you are probably on to something.

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