Time for a Compare and Contrast.
Judith Collins is perhaps the most popularÂ PoliceÂ Minister ever. My sources in the Police say her support is nigh on 100%. Â Her working relationship with the coppers on the beat and the with the Police Association is at record highs, and her nobbling of PNHQ has met with wide-spread approval.
On almost every issue she has been in step with the thinking of the people in the street as well.
Her latest success is supporting the introduction something that is popular with 60% of New Zealanders.
All police should carry guns, almost 60 per cent of the public and more than 70 per cent of officers believe, a poll shows.
Police Minister Judith Collins said this week that she would support all patrol vehicles carrying pistols in lockboxes. Police Commissioner Howard Broad is preparing a report into arming police officers and will make recommendations at the end of the year. Both have said they don’t favour beat officers routinely being armed.
Last night the Police Association issued a poll it commissioned which said 72 per cent of all association members supported general arming. Asked if they supported it two years ago, 47 per cent were in favour.
The survey showed 58 per cent of the public also supported general arming. Association president Greg O’Connor said the results were no surprise.
The association, holding its 75th annual conference in Wellington this week, endorsed a motion “to support general arming of all sworn New Zealand police officers”.
Our police are increasingly coming up against armed and dangerous criminals. We can no longer delude ourselves that our police shouldn’t be armed.
Now contrast that with the high-handed and petulantÂ attitudeÂ of Justice Minister Simon Power. FIGJAM has enraged the blogosphere with his bizarre tilt at trying to impose Hugo Chavez (that is now an alternate nickname) type controls on new media. He has ensured Â a uniting of the blogosphere where we will go all out to explain how unpopular he is, no matter our loyalties. Right,Left and Centre are going to Â make it their business to see this out of touch control freak of minister unseated.
Witness the attacks that have started;
Bomber at Tumeke –Â National Government shouldn’t empower BSA to gag bloggers
And I think there isn’t much issue with that, Cam got righteously nailed by the Courts recently as the Judiciary stamped its authority on-line, issues regarding trials and suppression orders aren’t controversial expansions of power, but it’s this next part that is the danger…
He said there should be one set of rules for all news media, and the review – by the Law Commission – would look at extending the powers of the Broadcasting Standards Authority and/or the Press Council to cover new media.
…which means Simon Power wants to force the same gag rules of ‘balance’ used in the mainstream onto the blogosphere. The BSA can go fuck itself if it wants to try and enforce it’s narrow view of what can be said and what can not be said because decisions by a political board as to what can be said on-line are not warranted or needed
MacDoctor –Â Go Fer Yer Guns,Â Power!
The central error that you make, Mr. Power, is contained in your second sentence. You call bloggers â€śnews mediaâ€ť.Â News Media? Very few bloggers actually deliver much in the way of news. We do not have the resources for this. What we deliver isÂ opinion. And I am afraid, Mr. Power, that if you donâ€™t like my opinion, then toughÂ bikkiesâ€¦
There is a word for regulation of opinion:Â censorship. New Zealand is a free society precisely because I can call you an idiot, Mr Power, and not be shot at dawn by your goons. If I wish to call you stronger words than that, I may bump up against a law or two, and that is sufficient to maintain the distinction between free speech and decent speech. You do not need artificial standards except perhaps to cushion certain soft politicianÂ egos.
Talking about â€śprofessional and ethical standardsâ€ť and bloggers in the same breath is laughable. Sure, we already follow a set of unwritten and un-enforcable rules, but these will never be â€śstandardsâ€ť in any bureaucratic, measurable way. And the outrageous, unethical behaviour of some bloggers is what makes them entertaining. Bit like Paul Henry, really â€“ oh,Â waitâ€¦
The point being is that the blogosphere thrivesÂ because it is a â€świld westâ€ť. All you will get with regulation is that the wilder ones will clash with your regulations or, much more likely, will go quite feral. By this, I mean that they will use software that hides theirÂ ID(easily obtainable from Warez sites) and move their sites to countries with less restriction. They will then proceed to snipe at you from inaccessible places with information that, at best, will be embarrassing and, at worst, horriblyÂ destructive.
Recall what happened to theÂ USÂ marshals that tried to tame the West, Mr. Power â€“ they were shot down in large numbers. Recall that the West was not subdued by the application of law but by theÂ maturation of the society. Be patient and wait. Bloggers come and go. The Fail Whale reigns supreme. Facebook seems to be sliding into a black hole of flash applications. Eventually this will all sort itself out into a new society. I doubt if it will be as polite as you wish, Mr Power, but at least there will be lessÂ cowboysâ€¦
While most eyes here and round the world were on the miner miracle in Chile, a speech in the House by Simon Power-Lust this afternoon signalled (if anyone were looking) that things ahead are looking ominous for bloggers.
Cameron Slaterâ€™s tilt against name suppressionÂ did eventually earn him a partial victory. But as I said when Cameron, akaWhale Oil, was given his lumps earlier by Justice Harvey, that decision was very muchÂ not a victory for free speechâ€”becausein his bewailing the lack of official â€śoversightâ€ť of the blogosphere, Harvey was floating a trial balloon to which Power-Lust this afternoon gave motive power by asking Jeffrey Palmerâ€™s inveterately lemon-sucking Law Commission â€śto review the adequacy of regulations around how the internet interacts with the justice system.â€ť
In other words, to begin drawing up plans for full regulation of the blogosphere by bureaucrats like Jeffreyâ€”who has never seen a committee, board or tribunal he hasnâ€™t wanted to join.
We may continue to post what we like and what we think. For the moment.Â But all that will stop when Jeffrey Palmer and Simon Power-Lustâ€”men who look at the freedom of the blogosphere and see only a â€śWild Westâ€ť that needs manaclesâ€”men between them who have a face that needs punching and an ego that needs puncturingâ€”bring in the very shackles on we bloggers that Justice Harveyâ€™s 70-page decision presaged.
This is how easily censorship comes to a country.
Who now will rise up in protest?
It seems quite a few of us Peter. See above and now the links below.
Government looking at further regulation of speech on the Internet â€“ Thomas Beagle, TECH LIBERTY
â€ťThese is no mention in the press release of the freedom of expression guaranteed to New Zealanders in the Bill of Rights Act. Nor is there any recognition that many forms of old media such as leaflets, posters and books are also unregulatedâ€¦â€ť
Eff Off, Power! â€“ CRUSADER RABBIT
â€ťâ€¦this, in a socialist country where the MSM are no more than lickspittles pushing government propaganda and recycling handouts!Â No wonder this little statist creep wants blogs to conform to the same standardsâ€™.â€ť
High Noon â€“ ROAR PRAWN
â€ťâ€¦who in tarnation advised him to set about making the bloggers and online community the enemy?â€ť
From The Hood : AbsolutistÂ Simon Power Corrupts Absolutely â€“ Lyndon Hood, WEREWOLF
â€ťSimon is so powerful nobodyâ€™s allowed to argue with him..â€ť
Internet no wild west â€“ lawyer â€“ NBR
â€śI donâ€™t agree internet is the Wild West,â€ť Rick Shera told NBRâ€¦
Idiot/Savant – No Right Turn – Against regulating the blogosphere
These are all things worth looking at, because the law needs to keep up with the technology (if it can). But Power is fundamentally mistaken about two things. First, he’s fundamentally mistaken in thinking bloggers should be treated as if they were professionals, because we simply aren’t. The typical blogger is a private individual mouthing off on the internet. Some of us know a little about what we are mouthing off about, some of us don’t – but fundamentally, its no different from people talking in a cafe. The government wouldn’t dream of trying to regulate and force “professional standards” on that, and rightly so. So why is it trying to regulate and force professional standards on the same conversations in the blogosphere? It smacks of another example of the old problem of things being suddenly scarier the moment you attach the word “internet” to them.
Secondly, the claim that we are not subject to any form of regulation is simply false. As a blogger, I’m subject to exactly the same laws as Power is in issuing his press releases. If I defame someone, I can be sued. If I publish objectionable material, I can be prosecuted. If I breach a court suppression order, I can be fined. Rather than showing that the blosophere is a “wild west”, the recent Whale Oil case showed that the law isÂ perfectly capable of dealing with it.
The problem for the justice system isn’t the blogosphere, but the net’s combination of strong anonyminity and a free market in legal jurisdictions. The same technology that allows human rights activists to hide from the Iranian regime and circumvent theÂ Great Firewall of China also allows people to read or post or host information which undermines our justice system. It could be used, for example, to set up a website whose sole function is to violate New Zealand suppression orders. If located in the right jurisdiction, such a site could never be taken down at source. It could never be effectively blocked – “the net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it” is an old saw, but its also true (in that such blocks are also fundamentally ineffective). And unless the authors were very, very stupid, they would never be caught.
But there’s nothing the government can do about that. Nothing. The collective minds of the world’s most powerful dictatorships can’t stop it, so I doubt New Zealand could. More importantly, adding new laws does nothing to help. The problem is not that such behaviour wouldn’t be illegal, its that we now have reliable technological means toÂ not get caught.
But the blogosphere isn’t in that space. Its already subject to existing laws. And those laws seem to generally be up to the task. We don’t need new ones.
You know you are in trouble with a political position when left, right and centre attack you. When Bomber, Idiot/Savant, MacDoctor, Peter Cresswell and Whaleoil all agree on something then you know that what they say is right and what the politician says is dead wrong. Simon Power is about to find out what a united blogosphere will do to his silly proposition to limit our freedoms.
One wonders what meds FIGJAM is taking, on a day when Bill English had some good news to release, Simon Power goes and takes his limelight. If he thinks the new media will lie down while he attempts to impose Chinese style limits on our freedom of opinion then he is sadly mistaken. We marched in the streets over the Electoral Finance Act, and DOF and I ran a bill board campaign against the law.
Simon Power is heading for a similar campaign that will be brought up close and personal in Rangitikei. If he thinks that won;t work then he should look very carefully at what happened to Andrew Williams. Because right now he is next on the list. When you add on his refusal to look at introducing Â a NZ version of Megan’s Law, then you get the picture that Simon Power is a friend of criminals, pedophiles and other assorted scum.
We need politicians that willÂ governÂ for the people not for the liberal elite and their cotton-wool view of the world.