Labour are starting to realise the poison chalice that the Harmful Digital Communications Bill represents.
They are backing away slowly, but in doing so they appear to actually want a flawed Bill and are promising to fix it later.
That would be a fine thing if only they could credibly claim that they have a chance at being the next government.
The Harmful Digital Communications Bill is likely to pass its third reading today, the final step before it is signed into law. It will create a new offence of sending messages or posting material online that were intended to cause harm, and did so.
Another new offence will be incitement to commit suicide in situations where the person does not then attempt to take their own life. Internet service providers or companies such as Facebook or Google could be asked by a New Zealand agency to remove a harmful communication.
Labour has reluctantly supported the bill, but wants a review once it is in place. Communications spokeswoman Clare Curran said in debate that the definition of harm – serious emotional distress – was very broad.
“That is going to have to be tested in the courts to see what it actually means … How long is it going to take before there is a 14 or 15-year-old hauled before the courts?” Read more »