web analytics

NRT: A committee of fuckwits

Written By: - Date published: 10:24 am, May 28th, 2014 - 16 comments
Categories: internet, Parliament - Tags: ,

no-right-turn-256No Right Turn looks at one of the more stupid bills to go into a select committee and to come out worse than it started.

The Justice and Electoral Committee has reported back on the Harmful Digital Communications Bill. The bill attempts to outlaw “harmful digital communications” – defined as anything causing “serious emotional distress” – and imposes a regime of court orders, takedown notices, and criminal penalties. The latter would effectively reintroduce the offence of criminal libel – but only on the internet. The committee has tinkered around the edges, and made some real (but insufficient) improvements to the takedown regime, but at the same time have left the core provisions unchanged, and in some cases – adding “threatened” breaches of communications principles, and increasing criminal penalties for harmful communications – have actually made things far worse. Effectively, they’ve defined harassment down from a repeated pattern of behaviour to a single upsetting incident – but only if it happens online, of course. They also want to impose far greater penalties for offensive behaviour on the internet than you would face for exactly the same actions on the street.

Don’t believe me? Consider this statement:

The Justice and Electoral Committee are fuckwits

If I say that to their faces, in a select committee hearing, say, I am likely to be charged, at worst, with offensive behaviour and would face a fine of $500. However, I’ve said it online, in a deliberate attempt to upset them. Which puts me on the hook for two year’s imprisonment if this atrocity passes.

Two years, vs $500 – because its on the internet and the sad old fuckwits in Parliament are scared of us and scared of our future.

(Oh, and thanks to sloppy drafting I can now be dragged off to the Orwellian “Approved Agency” and thence to court if I merely threaten to call someone a fuckwit. Again, they’re fuckwits).

It gets worse, because its not only outright insults which are covered. As TechLiberty has pointed out, the law covers publicising evidence of outright corruption by MPs – something which undoubtedly causes “serious emotional harm” to the exposed MP. There’s no public interest defence, and there’s not even a freedom of expression clause for the avoidance of doubt – unlike the non-criminal sections.

This bill is simply one long exercise in fuckwittery, which will chill our online conversation – which, given that that’s where our conversation happens now, imperils our democracy. It cannot be allowed to pass.

Justice and Electoral Committee

16 comments on “NRT: A committee of fuckwits ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Let’s call them fuckwits in a sustained campaign. Then it will be a conspiracy to call them fuckwits.

  2. karol 2

    there needs to be a concerted and high profile campaign against this. Along with David Carter’s attempt to control people tweeting, it’s an indication of how NAct fears the public access to online avenues for democratic dissent.

    They want to have more control over the Internet – they have a good handle on manipulating the MSM, and want to have as much ability to manipulate online communcations.

    • Populuxe1 2.1

      So you’re ok with cyberbullying? Yes, this proposed legislation is full of weasel piss, but would you agree that cyberbullying is a problem that needs addressing?

      • Paul 2.1.1

        That isn’t what nrt is saying….

      • lprent 2.1.2

        Nope. This bill will probably do very little to help that problem. About the only thing in it would be having school principals acting in loco parentis.

        However that isn’t all that this bill covers as it currently stands. That is because trying to describe what cyber-bullying is in a legal sense is damn near impossible. So it hasn’t been tried

        This bill covers all material that may be offensive to someone. As an example, it’d be a great way to stifle debate on abortion. And imagine the seventh day adventists when someone looks at their beliefs about medical procedures on kids.

    • lprent 2.2

      Five National MPs out of nine on the committee? I must read that report and see what the minority said.

      Committee membership
      Scott Simpson (Chairperson)
      Paul Foster-Bell
      Joanne Hayes
      Raymond Huo
      Andrew Little
      Alfred Ngaro
      Holly Walker
      Hon Kate Wilkinson
      Clare Curran was a substitute for this item of business.
      David Clendon replaced Holly Walker for this item of business

      The minority didn’t say much apart from that the bill was rushed.

      Trying to force me to do anything on this site will just result in me not doing anything apart from hiding its location and access methods from illiterates.

      I guess it will be unpleasant going to jail for saying that Judith Collins looks corrupt, but the truth has to be said – that is what I believe. I really don’t give a damn if she doesn’t like me saying it. And I’m not going to take it down. We have legal procedures in courts for a reason.

      The reality is that most of the time merely telling a site operator about offensive material is going to be sufficient to get most actually offensive material and usually whoever wasted their time being removed from most sites. It’d be done with very little time or fuss by the operators. However this half-arsed procedure is likely to just irritate them as much as it does me because it will be mostly used by the frivolous and malicious.

      Having the idiots at Netsafe (or whoever) regarding something as offensive isn’t something that I’d respect. So far the people they have had on these types of committees would have to be regarded as complete illiterates on any kind of social media.

      Ummm. The local internet address providers aren’t going to be happy with being covered by criminal libel for something I say. Fortunately for them there aren’t many blogs actually hosted inside NZ. I’d anticipate that it’d be easier for facebook and others to just move their providers outside NZ. I guess that local hosters aren’t going to be happy with that.

      The silence as agreement to comply is pretty unique in a legal sense.

      • Chooky 2.2.1

        @ lprent

        if this legislation comes to pass with a set up majority of NACT MPS voting it in…..one way out is massive public disobedience on line ….a la Gandhi

        …it would very fast fill the courts and jails

        …. and hugely increase the popularity of Mana /Dotcom

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.2

        I’d anticipate that it’d be easier for facebook and others to just move their providers outside NZ. I guess that local hosters aren’t going to be happy with that.

        National really is quite good at destroying local businesses. So good in fact I sometimes wonder if that’s their purpose.

    • Chooky 2.3

      +100 karol…it is an attack on New Zealand democracy…we are increasingly living in a police state with a dictatorship

  3. Sanctuary 3

    “…but would you agree that cyberbullying is a problem that needs addressing..?

    No. Because attempting to address it simply ends up making laws where the cops come round and arrest you for hurting someones feelings, like they routinely do in the UK now.

    Why we always turn to the coercive power of the state to deal with what are in the final analysis issues for civil society to deal with is a mystery to me.

    people should be free to be as big a dicks as they want on the internet, it is up to site administrators and business owners to police their own social media with codes of conduct and the like.

    • lprent 3.1

      Generally they tend to be pretty draconian about it. The extremely lazy and deliberately exploitive wind up like Cameron Slater – in court.

  4. just saying 4

    This sort of thing really worries me. They really are stitching us up tight.

    Let’s face it – cyber-bullying is just a pretext for taking away another of the few vestiges of power remaining to ordinary people. Expect freedom of association and assembly to be curtailed under some other pretext real soon.

  5. DH 5

    What’s the burden of proof for this “serious emotional distress”? Do they spell it out in the law or is it assumed simply from a complaint? It is highly subjective.

  6. Mr Oh Well 6

    Dont worry, the lizard people don’t have emotions, they operate on purely rational basis for good (LOL). It’s not about stifling thought or opinion only insults by the right will be allowed.
    Cant wait till they change the rules, here is an example of the lawful fun you should really be able to have.

    Here is my thinking. Now if a Justice Minister can call someone a sensitive weesusage, surely this must be OK for the general blog o sphere to use (i.e. its a precedent by the almighty justice minister herself and therefore should be lawful to use anywhere). I should imagine its ok to use the defintions and mix and match accordingly. Lets play shall we kids, lets take the insult from the Minister sensitive weesusage, and reconfigure… it still means the same thing

    1. Capable of perceiving with a sense or senses.
    2. Responsive to external conditions or stimulation.
    3. Susceptible to the attitudes, feelings, or circumstances of others.
    4. Quick to take offense; touchy.
    5. Easily irritated: sensitive skin.
    6. Readily altered by the action of an agent: film that is sensitive to light.
    7. Registering very slight differences or changes of condition. Used of an instrument.
    8. Fluctuating or tending to fluctuate, as in price: sensitive stocks.
    9. Of or relating to classified information: sensitive defense data; holds a sensitive position in the State Department.

    very small; tiny; minute
    Scot a short time.
    the act or an instance of urinating

    An item of food in the form of a cylindrical length of minced pork or other meat encased in a skin, typically sold raw to be grilled or fried before eating.

    Does this mean I could (not that I am now) call a Minister of the Crown who flung such insults at other people.

    A classified urine excreting cylindrical length of minced meat encased in a skin

    Anyone, I am not saying she is, so clearly I am not in breach. If we a playing definitions, look up SSC definition of conflict of interest.

  7. Clemgeopin 7

    If this stupid bill passes, could we then say,

    “The Justice and Electoral Committee are puckwits” or just plain “uckwits”, without defining what those words mean?

  8. RedBaronCV 8

    I haven’t really looked at this but I would have though that the standard defences around public figures and robust debate should be available. but when it comes to private individuals targeting other private individuals does it even have to be malicious?
    I may not say, want someone putting up photo’s of my house where it has been taken from another private property or my old school photo with names on it on the internet.Some people cannot seem to help themselves from oversharing information that is not theirs to share or acting maliciously .

    Why cannot an offended person issue some sort of cyber tresspass notice ( that means a take down) and the criteria has to be that it identifies them or their property , they are a private individual and there is no wider public interest in the matter.

    Maybe not well thought through or expressed.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Schools back donations scheme for the second year
    More schools have opted in to the donations scheme for 2021, compared to 2020 when the scheme was introduced. “The families of more than 447,000 students will be better off next year, with 94% of eligible schools and kura opting into the scheme,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “This is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago