Empowering the PC Lynch Mob…New Zealand passes the Harmful Digital Communications Bill pandering to online bullies and the easily offended

Posted: 1 July, 2015 in Internet, world
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Read more Asia Pacific Censorship News at MelonFarmers.co.uk

New Zealand flag The New Zealand Parliament has passed its third reading in Parliament. Thefinal votewas carried with a  116 to 5majority.The Bill will:

  • Establish an Approved Agency to resolve complaints in a quick and efficient way
  • Give the District Court the power to issue take-down notices and impose penalties
  • Provide online content hosts with an Safe Harbour process for handling complaints
  • Make it an offence to send messages and post material online that deliberately cause serious emotional distress. The offence will be punishable by up to two years imprisonment or a maximum fine of NZ$50,000 for individuals, and a fine of up to NZ$200,000 for companies.
  • Create a new offence of incitement to commit suicide that applies where the person does not attempt to take their own life
  • Amend existing laws to clarify that they apply to communications, regardless of whether tormentors use online or offline means, and future-proofing the laws against technological advances.

Just one party opposed the bill, the right-of-centre Act Party, which says it fears the Harmful Digital Communications Bill will be another case study in bad law-making .

Party leader and MP David Seymour said the Bill creates a strange asymmetry between the virtual world and the real world where different standards apply to online and offline speech. The ten communications principles written into the Bill, he said, would be a good guide to desirable behaviour on a school camp.

The Bill was proposed after the two young women subject to digital bullying committed suicide and in the wake of the Roastbusters scandal, where the police were criticised for their response to online abuse,

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