- Date published:
10:26 am, May 12th, 2015 - 308 comments
Categories: blogs, David Farrar, Deep stuff, democracy under attack, Dirty Politics, internet, Media, social media lolz - Tags: cactus kate, cathy odgers, giovanni tiso
Social media guru Giovanni Tiso has discovered something unusual. Cactus Kate’s blog is slowly disappearing from the internet.
The original is still there but is completely devoid of content apart from references to right wing blogs and the occasional left wing blog. A link to the Standard is not there but to Chris Trotter’s blog is. There is a link to the very good feminist blog The Hand Mirror with a request for people to “go wind up the ‘feminists'”.
The usual wayback devices were used by Giovanni without success. He noted the discovery that Slater had deleted multiple references to Kate from the Whaleoil site. Interestingly I have discovered the disappearance of one post concerning Kate from Kiwiblog, a post referring to the reasons for her deleting her previous website. The reference is here. For some reason Farrar saw fit to delete the reasons she advanced for deleting her first blog.
Giovanni then decided to try the National Library archive which archives New Zealand blogs. He said this:
At some point this surviving version of Cactus Kate must have come to Odgers’ attention, and she took further counter-measures. So when I checked a few weeks later I found that the National Library archive no longer allowed to browse the blog online, but required researchers to discuss viewing arrangements with an on-site librarian. Later still, the record disappeared altogether. I asked the Library today about this, and they advised me that
Regarding the deletion of the blog in question, we are in discussion with the author and receiving advice as to its status as legal deposit material.
The legislation, it seems, is open to interpretation – if I had to venture a guess, around what constitutes ‘a New Zealand-based blog’ – and so this peculiar test case has broader implications than those that tie Odgers with the rest of the cast of Dirty Politics. As best as I can tell, the National Library is keen to pursue this distinction and assert its role.
The legal issue is an interesting one. Under section 29 of the National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa) Act 2003 an Internet Document is defined as “a public document that is published on the Internet, whether or not there is any restriction on access to the document; and includes the whole or part of a website.” The purpose of the relevant part of the Act is “to assist in preserving New Zealand’s documentary heritage so that it is available, subject to any applicable terms or conditions, for the benefit of New Zealanders”. Preservation of Kate’s blog is important for the preservation of the country’s heritage and in particular for future scholars to understand what happened during the Dirty Politics era.
Under regulation 8 of the National Library Requirement (Electronic Documents) Notice 2006 the National Librarian is authorised to copy any Internet document. Under section 3 of the Act the National Librarian must take reasonable steps to make documents in the National Library available to institutions and other persons, subject to any regulations made under the Act and to any conditions the Minister may determine.
As far as I can see there should be no restrictions on allowing access to Kate’s blog. For the sake of allowing future scholars to understand an important period of New Zealand’s political history I hope the National Librarian sees things the same way.