The NZ Digital Bill of Rights



After the packed out Town Hall meeting in Auckland, I asked, ‘what should we do now‘.

One of the elements beyond revoking the GCSB mass surveillance Bill and it’s enabler TICS Bill, is putting together a NZ Digital Bill of Rights.

Kim Dotcom has mentioned last week he has an interest in this, the Greens in Australia are keen on the idea and David Cunliffe has a unique opportunity to champion this as the next possible Prime Minister, so what should a NZ Digital look like?

-freedom of online expression
-freedom of online peaceful assembly
 -freedom of online association
-freedom of online thought, conscience, religion and belief
-freedom from mass surveillance
-right to privacy
-right to free community high speed access to internet via all schools, libraries, community centers and Maraes

My thinking is that this would become a Commissioner role in the Human Rights Commission. Obviously there would be definition of each of these rights. Defamation and hate speech wouldn’t be covered, not being forced to open access to your social media sites to employers (as a freedom of association), freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief would allow very robust speech, freedom from mass surveillance demands revoking of the GCSB Bill, right to privacy would challenge some of the surveillance powers the Police have been given by this Government and the right to free community high speed internet would do something towards challenging the digital divide.

We have some of the brightest techies and legal minds to grapple with and generate a Digital Bill of Rights that we could all be proud of as NZers. Women fought and gained universal suffrage, workers fought and gained the 40 hour week and baby boomers fought and kept us nuclear free.

It is our responsibility now to make a stand and use this terrible step towards a mass surveillance state as momentum to shape our future in a manner befitting the egalitarian and social justice values our democracy should champion.

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From a political point of view, this Bill if articulated passionately would win mass favor amongst under 40s and those Baby Boomers who feel the current Bill of Rights hasn’t lived up to its promise. It could also foreshadow an actual debate about the current Bill of Rights and whether it needs updating and enshrining into law as a constitution.

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  1. Inexpensive community internet could serve multiple purposes.
    By free, it could be thought of more in terms of intellectual freedom. Infrastructure obviously has a cost but could be done voluntarily through crowdfunding.

    Using existing ideas like could be done with wireless. There are other simple and inexpensive methods to enable networks that have been used in places like Afghanistan.
    Routing traffic locally with existing copper connections and ADSL would perhaps be the simplest and least expensive means of establishing a localised network.

    Community internet could be an enabler for more involvement at the local government level, where council projects could be partially or wholly crowdfunded to ensure the community is supporting them.
    Allowing crowdfunding contributions to be offset against rates and other charges would also help people feel their contribution was funding something useful.
    It would also strengthen democracy and accountability.

    With the internet becoming less secure and increasingly weaponised, there are likely to be more stability and cyber-security issues in the near future. Having localised networks available would allow for some redundancy, so DNS server outages wouldn’t necessarily be as disruptive as they would if everyone had to rely on full internet access.

    Hopefully there will be a change in approach by future governments, to reduce inequality and improve the protection of our rights within the wider internet.

  2. Yes , it’s a great idea and a bit ahead of its time too . If you think the world is already tangled up in a digital over-lay then you aint seen nothing yet from what I see evolving out of Boston Dynamics etc .
    Digital is leading us into a realm of unknowable consequences and if there can be protection mechanisms sculpted now , it could save us all .
    Not wanting to sound melodramatic you understand .
    There can only be one purpose to the GCSB and it’s freaky cuzzi the TCIS . Control . It’s all about control . Not liberation and harmony . Not as a means to an egalitarian society where every body has a voice and where everybody is Equal .
    No . It’s about control .
    But why ? What don’t we know that has many freaky people scurrying about trying to sneak these devilish policies past our democracy ?
    It’s a planned attack on our freedoms and like most attacks in Western culture , it’s polite and it has a secret agenda and by that I mean , when you see the GCSB being promoted , you know it’s processes are well ahead of what’s being discussed . Tip of the iceberg is what I’m trying to say .
    The very best way to protect ones self from being spied on by secret agencies on the Net would be to disconnect from the Net , beat your wireless modem to death with a hammer then bury it down the back yard . ( I’m a bit of a fan of networks of CB radio stations myself . No , I don’t wear plaid slippers and grey track pants that you very much . )
    And then perhaps muster up your kids and go to the beach or visit friends / family . Grow a vegetable garden ?
    Because honestly ? Do we really need 99.999 % of the pointless drivel that’s available on – line ?
    Last evening I sat with a friend and watched the sun set . I breathed fresh air , ate fresh food , drank glasses of local wine and I never once had to remind myself where my AK 47 was . I never had a pistol tucked into my arsecrack ( Like I saw on Al Jazeera . ) . I could hear the neighbours laughing , not being blown to pieces across the street , as I watched a flock of wood pigeons fly back home to bed . None of it was thanks to the Internet . Later that evening I found my cell phone buried under a pile of vegetable peelings . Bliss .
    Don’t be fooled . The Internet isn’t a matter of life or death . Not yet anyway . It’s bloody convenient I’ll give you that but if it disappeared over night , we’d cope . It’s an old , tried and true psychological mechanism , commonly used in rehab centers for people with addictions .
    First , give a person a relatively unnecessary thing then allow them to believe they could never possibly live without it . Then threaten to take that thing away . Bingo ! You have control . If push comes to shove , I say fuck the internet then . It’s proving more trouble than it’s worth . Especially when wankers get hold of it .

  3. I note that there is an upcoming ‘Vote NZ’ TV program on the subject of whether the police can be trusted. But the police have already established a history of planting evidence, false testimony, harassment, planting agents provocateurs, and ignoring calls upon their services. The GCSB, SIS and other government agencies have proved equally cavalier with the trusts placed in them by ordinary New Zealanders.

    It seems that socio-political leadership has yet to grasp the elementary fact that trust, easily lost, is much, much harder to regain. The Police can hardly expect the public to come in on their side in the face of a long record of betrayed trust. It is not helped when the the Police have, for the last 30-40 years at least, have been withdrawing gradually into an Ivory Tower mentality far removed from the communities they are supposed to serve. Already I have heard the Police referred to as ‘just another gang.’ Too bad if Police Department mislikes such an appellation, but it has only itself to blame. The onus is upon the Police to recover that trust. Good luck with that.

    As for the GCSB, John Key has a cheek asking ordinary New Zealanders to accept and trust the GCSB to carry out its functions within legal bounds. I will make here a cast-iron, brass-bound, 100-per-bloody-cent guarantee: it won’t. Already with a history of extra-legal surveillance, of spying on kids even (what sort of mentality does that indicate?), decades long harassment of citizens who have committed no crime, stalking, and who knows what, why on God’s green earth would I be stupid enough to trust that outfit to feel itself constrained by law? Especially as these ‘Integellence Services’ (I call them that as they don’t seem all that bright, into the bargain) have at least twice that I know of got away with law-breaking by retro-active legislation.

    In respect of the GCSB, what I would like to see is the retro-active enabling legistaion to be repealed, and repealed retro-actively, and the law-breaking officials stand their trail before a jury of their peers.

    Like the rest of us.

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