A silly act: it begins

Written By: - Date published: 2:36 pm, August 20th, 2015 - 7 comments
Categories: blogs, interweb, Media, nz first, Parliament - Tags: , ,

Yesterday No Right Turn had this blog post, which I will quote in full.

no-right-turn-256

When Parliament passed the Harmful Digital Communications Act, people (including me) warned that it would be abused to stifle political speech. And it has, with NZ First MP Tracey Martin accusing a political blogger (who supported a rival NZ First MP) of violating the Act:

NZ First MP Tracey Martin has claimed Curwen Rolinson is in breach of the Harmful Digital Communications Act, passed in July. In a blog post, Rolinson, former leader of the NZ First youth wing, accused Martin of undermining party MP Andrew Williams.

Speaking at the University of Otago last week, Martin suggested that Rolinson was in breach of the law as a result of a blog post written on 6 July, four days after the Act was officially made into law.

“I’ve been working on the Harmful Digital Communications bill and what Curwen [Rolinson] did, what Whaleoil [blogger Cameron Slater] does, that’s harmful digital communications,” said Martin.

The “breach”? Rolinson accused Martin of spreading rumours about NZ First MP Andrew Williams, who was competing with her for the position of deputy leader. In other words, a typical internal party spat. If this is what Martin thinks the law covers, then we should all be very afraid.

[Hat-tip: Offsetting Behaviour]

I’d agree. While the bill was promoted as dealing with cyber-bullying problems targeting children and teenagers, the law wasn’t written that way. It was written to cover everyone. In my view will cause a rash of threats by purported adults against other adults.

The Act itself is pretty vague and largely unworkable without a considerable amount of reworking about practice by the courts and “Approved Agencies”. Moreover it is actually way below the standards already used by most sites.

It is likely to be damn slow. Currently if people have a problem with something on this site, the fastest way to deal with it is to write a comment or send an email to the email addresses in the contact page or the more enterprising have figured out a more direct contact via the DNS records. We will have a response usually within hours. About 90% of the time, by the time someone sends something to us, we have already moderated it anyway.

But we’re not going to waste time doing the procedures outlined in the Act of hanging around for days contacting an author of a comment to seek their approval to remove it. If we think it is unlawful or even in just poor taste or violates our policies, then the content and possibly the comment will be gone immediately.

In my experience generally people don’t complain about things that aren’t invalid or trivial. They explain quite clearly what the problem is and why it is a issue. They are sometimes mistaken about what is unlawful or against our policies, and sometimes they don’t provide enough information about the location of the offending item.

The few that do mount vexatious, trivial, or quite unclear complaints (usually as laden with as much stupid legal flimflam as a lauda finem post), will usually not like the educational and very detailed responses that I give.

The biggest issue with the bill is going to be the “Approved Agencies” and in particular it is going to be this section 7(2) of the Act.

Before recommending the making of an Order in Council under subsection (1), the Minister must be satisfied that the appointee has the appropriate knowledge, skills, and experience to carry out some or all of the functions of the Approved Agency under this Act.

That is because I don’t think that anyone a Minister or their staff or anyone that they could hire will have the skills required to have any respect from the people who run online sites, judges and ‘victims’. The problem is that I suspect that putting a unskilled, stupid or ignorant intermediary between the ‘victim’ and the system operators will simply decrease the signal to noise ratios. All they will do is to get in the way.

After watching many people, including our police forces, flounder through their ineffectual screw ups with online media for the last 3 decades, I have come to conclusion that it is more of an art form rather than anything else. It has little to do with the available legislation, it has to do with a simple lack of skills.

They’d need the skills of running a social media system, those of a sysop/programmer, and legal skills sufficient to satisfy a judge. They should also be able to perform a complete evaluation in less than half an hour. In my case would require that I respect them enough to have their number in my phone so I will pick up on them even while I am writing code.

It is a three way skill set to understand the complexities of operating and to figuring out where the balance points between a morass of imperatives of online media should be. To be effective, they need to have the respect of the various operators to the point where they ideally they merely need to ask, laying out their reasons, and what they ask is so patently valid that it gets done immediately. Or it is something that needs to be taken to the court for a ruling.

These kinds of people are not common, and they are already gainfully employed on doing things that are more interesting.

I don’t expect we will get them. What I expect is that we will get some irritating unskilled cheap and rather stupid monkeys. There will be no competent person able to build a fast  and consistent framework for operators of sites to work with.

Moreover, my bet is that we will get arse-suckers will defer to the types of adults who most clearly need to be watched by journalists and on-line media – like Tracy Martin or Mike Hosking. I rather suspect that those approved will often have the kinds of skill levels that we see in most of our politicians for much the same reason. Anyone technically competent doesn’t want to be a politician, or someone that they would approve of.

In short, I’d expect to wind up dealing with the kind of “approved” people and organisations who, after I have a few contacts with, I will simply exclude any contact with or get nuisance restraining orders against. Or they will find that they can’t get in touch with me because they don’t retain information about the previous ways that they or their predecessors contacted me last time.

As part of my normal work, I get paid to train people. But I’m not that interested in training, for free, a ever-rotating roster of  the under skilled government approved. Just because parliament wrote a poorly thought through law doesn’t mean that I’m interested in helping them fix their mistakes. I doubt that many operators of social media systems will be.

I’d prefer to either have people contact me directly without the dubious filter of a underskilled “approved agency”, or I’d prefer that the “approved agency” provides me with the details that we can take it straight to the district court to get a ruling on – at their expense.

That kind of person already exists for adults. It is commonly known as a lawyer (apart from the no expense bit).

7 comments on “A silly act: it begins ”

  1. hoom 1

    Surely the ‘its Labours fault’ on sheepgate by the PM is in breach of that act.

  2. Nick K 2

    It also brings back a form of criminal libel, something the Nats protested loudly against when Margaret Wilson mooted it in ~ 1999. Idjits.

    • lprent 2.1

      Yes, but with this weird approved body structure in the middle which I think is set up as a intimidation organisation.

      There appear to be no reasonable sanctions against it. If they over step their bonds, then you can’t drag then in a for a civil case for defamation or damages from them if they were wrong.

      I suspect that the best that could be done is to do a private prosecution for what? Nuisance?.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Huge interest in Government’s infrastructure plans
    Hundreds of people in little over a week have turned out in Northland to hear Regional Development Minister Shane Jones speak about plans for boosting the regional economy through infrastructure. About 200 people from the infrastructure and associated sectors attended an event headlined by Mr Jones in Whangarei today. Last ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Health Minister thanks outgoing Health New Zealand Chair
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti has today thanked outgoing Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora Chair Dame Karen Poutasi for her service on the Board.   “Dame Karen tendered her resignation as Chair and as a member of the Board today,” says Dr Reti.  “I have asked her to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Roads of National Significance planning underway
    The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has signalled their proposed delivery approach for the Government’s 15 Roads of National Significance (RoNS), with the release of the State Highway Investment Proposal (SHIP) today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Navigating an unstable global environment
    New Zealand is renewing its connections with a world facing urgent challenges by pursuing an active, energetic foreign policy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Our country faces the most unstable global environment in decades,” Mr Peters says at the conclusion of two weeks of engagements in Egypt, Europe and the United States.    “We cannot afford to sit back in splendid ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • NZ welcomes Australian Governor-General
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Australian Governor-General, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley and his wife Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley, will make a State visit to New Zealand from Tuesday 16 April to Thursday 18 April. The visit reciprocates the State visit of former Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves for Winter
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour has announced that Medsafe has approved 11 cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine. Pharmaceutical suppliers have indicated they may be able to supply the first products in June. “This is much earlier than the original expectation of medicines being available by 2025. The Government recognised ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • NZ and the US: an ever closer partnership
    New Zealand and the United States have recommitted to their strategic partnership in Washington DC today, pledging to work ever more closely together in support of shared values and interests, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “The strategic environment that New Zealand and the United States face is considerably more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • Joint US and NZ declaration
    April 11, 2024 Joint Declaration by United States Secretary of State the Honorable Antony J. Blinken and New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs the Right Honourable Winston Peters We met today in Washington, D.C. to recommit to the historic partnership between our two countries and the principles that underpin it—rule ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    20 hours ago
  • NZ and US to undertake further practical Pacific cooperation
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further New Zealand cooperation with the United States in the Pacific Islands region through $16.4 million in funding for initiatives in digital connectivity and oceans and fisheries research.   “New Zealand can achieve more in the Pacific if we work together more urgently and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Government redress for Te Korowai o Wainuiārua
    The Government is continuing the bipartisan effort to restore its relationship with iwi as the Te Korowai o Wainuiārua Claims Settlement Bill passed its first reading in Parliament today, says Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith. “Historical grievances of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua relate to 19th century warfare, land purchased or taken ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Focus on outstanding minerals permit applications
    New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals is working to resolve almost 150 outstanding minerals permit applications by the end of the financial year, enabling valuable mining activity and signalling to the sector that New Zealand is open for business, Resources Minister Shane Jones says.  “While there are no set timeframes for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Applications open for NZ-Ireland Research Call
    The New Zealand and Irish governments have today announced that applications for the 2024 New Zealand-Ireland Joint Research Call on Agriculture and Climate Change are now open. This is the third research call in the three-year Joint Research Initiative pilot launched in 2022 by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Ireland’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Tenancy rules changes to improve rental market
    The coalition Government has today announced changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to encourage landlords back to the rental property market, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The previous Government waged a war on landlords. Many landlords told us this caused them to exit the rental market altogether. It caused worse ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Boosting NZ’s trade and agricultural relationship with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay will visit China next week, to strengthen relationships, support Kiwi exporters and promote New Zealand businesses on the world stage. “China is one of New Zealand’s most significant trade and economic relationships and remains an important destination for New Zealand’s products, accounting for nearly 22 per cent of our good and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Freshwater farm plan systems to be improved
    The coalition Government intends to improve freshwater farm plans so that they are more cost-effective and practical for farmers, Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay have announced. “A fit-for-purpose freshwater farm plan system will enable farmers and growers to find the right solutions for their farm ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Fast Track Projects advisory group named
    The coalition Government has today announced the expert advisory group who will provide independent recommendations to Ministers on projects to be included in the Fast Track Approvals Bill, say RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Regional Development Minister Shane Jones. “Our Fast Track Approval process will make it easier and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pacific and Gaza focus of UN talks
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters says his official talks with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York today focused on a shared commitment to partnering with the Pacific Islands region and a common concern about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.    “Small states in the Pacific rely on collective ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government honours Taranaki Maunga deal
    The Government is honouring commitments made to Taranaki iwi with the Te Pire Whakatupua mō Te Kāhui Tupua/Taranaki Maunga Collective Redress Bill passing its first reading Parliament today, Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “This Bill addresses the commitment the Crown made to the eight iwi of Taranaki to negotiate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Enhanced partnership to reduce agricultural emissions
    The Government and four further companies are together committing an additional $18 million towards AgriZeroNZ to boost New Zealand’s efforts to reduce agricultural emissions. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says the strength of the New Zealand economy relies on us getting effective and affordable emission reduction solutions for New Zealand. “The ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 110km/h limit proposed for Kāpiti Expressway
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) will begin consultation this month on raising speed limits for the Kāpiti Expressway to 110km/h. “Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and this proposal supports that outcome ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand Biosecurity Awards – Winners announced
    Two New Zealanders who’ve used their unique skills to help fight the exotic caulerpa seaweed are this year’s Biosecurity Awards Supreme Winners, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard. “Strong biosecurity is vital and underpins the whole New Zealand economy and our native flora and fauna. These awards celebrate all those in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Attendance action plan to lift student attendance rates
    The Government is taking action to address the truancy crisis and raise attendance by delivering the attendance action plan, Associate Education Minister David Seymour announced today.   New Zealand attendance rates are low by national and international standards. Regular attendance, defined as being in school over 90 per cent of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • World must act to halt Gaza catastrophe – Peters
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York today that an immediate ceasefire is needed in Gaza to halt the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.    “Palestinian civilians continue to bear the brunt of Israel’s military actions,” Mr Peters said in his speech to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to United Nations General Assembly: 66th plenary meeting, 78th session
    Mr President,   The situation in Gaza is an utter catastrophe.   New Zealand condemns Hamas for its heinous terrorist attacks on 7 October and since, including its barbaric violations of women and children. All of us here must demand that Hamas release all remaining hostages immediately.   At the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government woolshed roadshow kicks off
    Today the Government Agriculture Ministers started their national woolshed roadshow, kicking off in the Wairarapa. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said it has been a tough time for farmers over the past few years. The sector has faced high domestic inflation rates, high interest rates, adverse weather events, and increasing farm ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • PM heads to Singapore, Thailand, and Philippines
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines this week (April 14-20), along with a senior business delegation, signalling the Government’s commitment to deepen New Zealand’s international engagement, especially our relationships in South East Asia. “South East Asia is a region that is more crucial than ever to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister launches Government Targets
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced further steps to get New Zealand back on track, launching nine ambitious Government Targets to help improve the lives of New Zealanders. “Our Government has a plan that is focused on three key promises we made to New Zealanders – to rebuild the economy, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Natural hydrogen resource should be free of Treaty claims entanglement
    Natural hydrogen could be a game-changing new source of energy for New Zealand but it is essential it is treated as a critical development that benefits all New Zealanders, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones is seeking to give regulatory certainty for those keen to develop natural, or geological, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government responds to unsustainable net migration
    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand on stage at global Space Symposium
    Space Minister Judith Collins will speak at the Space Symposium in the United States next week, promoting New Zealand’s rapidly growing place in the sector as we work to rebuild the economy. “As one of the largest global space events, attended by more than 10,000 business and government representatives from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $4.9m project completed with marae reopening
    A significant marae has reopened in the heart of Rotorua marking the end of renovations for the Ruatāhuna Marae Renovation Cluster, a project that provided much-needed jobs and regional economic stimulus, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones was at the official reopening of Mātaatua ki Rotorua Marae today. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Pure Tūroa Limited to operate Tūroa ski field
    Ko Tahuarangi te waka – Tahuarangi is the ancestral vessel Ko Rangitukutuku te aho – Rangitukutuku is the fishing line Ko Pikimairawea te matau – Pikimairawea is the hook Ko Hāhā te Whenua te ika kei rō-wai – Hāhā te whenua is the fish (of Māui) whilst under the ocean ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Methane targets to be independently reviewed
    Rebuilding New Zealand’s economy will rely on the valuable agricultural sector working sustainably towards our climate change goals.  Today, the Climate Change and Agriculture Ministers announced that an independent panel of experts will review agricultural biogenic methane science and targets for consistency with no additional warming. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ and Nordics: likeminded partners
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has highlighted the strong ties that bind New Zealand and the Nordic countries of Northern Europe during a trip to Sweden today.    “There are few countries in the world more likeminded with New Zealand than our friends in Northern Europe,” Mr Peters says.    “We ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • First New Zealand C-130J Hercules takes flight
    The first New Zealand C-130J Hercules to come off the production line in the United States has successfully completed its first test flights, Defence Minister Judith Collins announced today. “These successful flights are a significant milestone for the New Zealand Defence Force, bringing this once-in-a-generation renewal of a critical airlift ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to rephase NCEA Change Programme
      The coalition Government is making significant changes to the NCEA Change Programme, delaying the implementation by two years, Minister of Education Erica Stanford announced today. “Ensuring New Zealand’s curriculum is world leading is a vital part of the Government’s plan to deliver better public services and ensure all students ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Ngāpuhi investment fund Chair appointed
    Ben Dalton has been appointed the new board Chair of Tupu Tonu, the Ngāpuhi Investment Fund, says Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith and Associate Finance Minister Shane Jones. “Ben brings a wealth of experience in governance and economic development to the position. He will have a strong focus on ensuring ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Education should be prioritised ahead of protesting
    Students should be in school and learning instead of protesting during school hours, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “If students feel strongly about sending a message, they could have marched on Tuesday when there was a nationwide teacher only day, or during the upcoming school holidays. It has become ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Delivering on Local Water Done Well
    Cabinet has agreed on key steps to implement Local Water Done Well, the Coalition Government’s plan for financially sustainable locally delivered water infrastructure and services, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says.  "Councils and voters resoundingly rejected Labour’s expensive and bureaucratic Three Waters regime, and earlier this year the Coalition Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Peters to visit New York, Washington D.C.
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will engage with high-level United States Government and United Nations officials in the United States next week (6-12 April).    The visit, with programmes in New York and Washington D.C., will focus on major global and regional security challenges and includes meetings with US Secretary of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-04-12T14:26:51+00:00