You would think after lying about mass surveillance powers and then ramming them through Parliament under urgency, after running black op smears through the PMs Office, after killing off public broadcasting, after freezing RadioNZs budget, after gagging scientists, and after interfering politically with Campbell Live and Native Affairs – the National Government would admit that they’ve cracked down on all critical voices with a certain smug pride.
The new Harmful Digital Communications Bill aims to make any online comment someone feels hurt by criminalised.
A person commits an offence if—
(a) the person posts a digital communication with the intention that it cause harm to a victim; and
(b) posting the communication would cause harm to an ordinary reasonable person in the position of the victim; and
(c) posting the communication causes harm to the victim.
This leaves an enormous amount of wriggle room on behalf of the ‘victim’. John Key could have argued that The Daily Blog’s exclusive on the way he abused a waitress was harmful to him and could have come after this blog.
I think the reason why so many MPs are on board with this is because of the kind of interaction they get every day now through social media….
…once upon a time MPs would have put up with crazy letters, or emails, but the social media world and especially twitter – allows for people with all sorts of chips on their shoulder to become unbalanced.
Christ, check out some of the bitter tripe that spews from some on Twitter – it’s an electronic world of the bullied finding voice to hit back from the safety of behind a screen. It’s going to be about as rational as cacophony from an asylum at times.
That’s what the block feature is for. If this Bill passes, half the Emerald Stormtrooper middle management of the Wellington Unions will all be fired and poor Giovanni Tiso won’t be able to get out of bed each morning for complaints.
While there certainly needs to be better customer service from social media providers to be able to easily block and stop trolls, making speech illegal is an open door for abuse. If someone defames you on social media, you have legal avenues, but to be able to criminalise speech based on as little a threshold as causing ‘harm’ to the ‘victim’ seems ripe for interpretation by those wanting critical voices silenced.
We live in dangerous times with a Government who have abused more political power than any other in modern NZ history, giving them the ability to censor the internet is terribly naive.