About Netsafe Lab

Welcome to Netsafe Lab, which sits inside Netsafe to incubate ideas and run experiments.

The Lab will:

    • work externally with others to solve online safety problems
    • support internal collaboration between our teams
    • serve our technical and data needs


Our mission is to provide a collaborative space to identify problems and find innovative solutions.

Online safety tools

Our focus is on building and testing tools and infrastructure to support online safety activities and systems.

Our work includes research and response to online scams and issues covered by the Harmful Digital Communications Act (HDCA) such as online abuse and bullying. As digital communications and the issues raised change, so do we.

Online safety insight

By fostering collaboration, the Lab aims to:

  • share insights and problems to be solved
  • contribute to a wider body of knowledge and
  • promote the appropriate use of tools and infrastructure to solve online safety problems.

The Lab provides training opportunities, facilitates community initiatives, and seeks to mitigate online risk. Doing so will increase public trust and confidence in the use of online spaces and places. Our goal is to contribute to multiple projects, involving practitioners from diverse sectors.

Netsafe Lab will help focus our efforts on the constantly evolving space of online safety, to:

  • build our capabilities and capacity to plug into international initiatives
  • ensure we have the latest insights to direct our efforts and
  • lead the public discussion.

This will help improve the protection of children and young people when using the internet, including social media and online gaming.

Netsafe Lab has three current focus areas. These are continuously refined, dependent on a number of factors including feedback from the wider online safety community, new tool development, funding and capacity.

Machine learning AI and products

We are developing programs to monitor online safety trends, media reports, case studies and surveys, using machine learning AI and products.

Online safety tools and open source techniques

Our work using open source tools focuses on how they can be used to improve online safety for people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Our goal is to contribute to the safety and trust of these applications.

We proactively seek out tools that will help monitor and prevent harms, and improve safety outcomes for the people using them.

Not all our work on this theme is focused on minimising harm. We also publish insights and create materials to raise awareness about emerging online issues that benefit end users and offer a safe and positive online experience.

Data and insights

The goal of our work on this theme is to bridge the gap between government, academia and industry’s understanding of the reality of people's experiences using the internet, online spaces and places. We do this through surveys, market research, studies, incident management, and other initiatives.

We are currently working on a new project to enhance, streamline and uplift our data capabilities, products and public reporting.

In-house expertise

Our multidisciplinary team is made up of technical and online safety policy staff with many years’ experience in a wide range of fields.

External collaboration

We regularly work with private contractors, masters’ students and academia, who support us with projects linked to our insights themes.

We.advise government, industry and civil society on policy approaches, communication and educational approaches that contribute to online safety.

We participate in international online safety and industry events, such as ICANN every year, contributing and sharing insight and experience to identify and develop industry best practices. Find more information on some of our key partners:

Netsafe Lab: our work

Netsafe Lab develops tools and resources to assist with online safety in New Zealand by:

  • developing our databank
  • looking at ways we can support fellowship and partnerships, and grants opportunities, to stimulate fresh thinking, advocacy and action on online safety
  • partnering with government, the private sector, academia and researchers to co-design solutions for online safety
  • working closely with the people who use online safety platforms and
  • identifying areas for immediate policy action.

Our approach is open and hands-on. We analyse large volumes of data, develop tools, and experiment with open, machine learning and automation techniques.

This output is used to support NetSafe’s education and operations teams by boosting the resilience of our online safety services and products. This includes chat AI functions, statistical reporting and sentiment analysis.

Our work is used to help universities, strategic partners and research centres develop and improve the online safety ecosystem.


Get involved in Netsafe Lab

Our supporters, members and partners are our lifeblood. Thanks to their collaboration and generosity, we are able to work on more ways to improve New Zealand’s online safety ecosystem.

We are always on the look out for interested parties to contribute to our work voluntarily, or to work with us to seek philanthropic or commercial funding to work on online safety projects.

Become a member or sign up to our mailing list to stay up-to-date on the latest news, appeals for project partners or volunteers.


Join our community!