Harmful Digital Communications Act

We need to repeal New Zealand’s blasphemy law

It is my belief that authoritarian countries have and enforce blasphemy laws so imagine my shock when I found out that New Zealand has a blasphemy law. So far it has only been used once to prosecute ?British poet Siegfried Sassoon in 1922 for these closing lines.

O Jesus, send me a wound to-day,

And I’ll believe in Your bread and wine,

And get my bloody old sins washed white!

Luckily for Sassoon the jury returned a verdict of not guilty with a rider: “That similar publications of such literature be discouraged”.

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Trolls must troll

Trolls don’t survive too long under our moderators’ watch, but you’ll have seen them most other places.

Jesse enjoys posting inflammatory or off-topic comments in online forums with the express purpose of provoking an emotional response or disrupting the discussion for his own amusement.

He often finds himself taking 10 minutes out from work to construct a post for some news website or another. There is only one goal: to provoke a reaction ? the stronger, the better.

A good troll, in Jesse’s opinion, is never detected as a wind-up. He sees it as a skill, and as harmless fun.

His favourite trolls include impersonations of benefit bludgers, fundamentalist Christians and cat-haters. He recounts one successful comment he posted on an article about legalising marijuana.

“I went against, but used obviously fake material for why it should be banned, eg ‘my brother used to inject it as a teen and failed at high school as a result and suffers from constant asthma attacks now’.”

Reaction was huge, Jesse is pleased to recount.

“Even if I just get one person giving me a good lengthy argument against me, it’s good. It is funny when you get 20 responses and 20 thumbs down.

“The whole point is not getting caught out, the moment someone says ‘This guy’s not real’, it’s game over.”

Any controversial subject with a majority voice is an attractive target. “If there’s a Trump thing, I will support Trump.”

An internet native since he was 12, Jesse takes the hobby so seriously that he seeks out “amateur trolls” to expose them.

He says he will never target one person or aim to cause distress. He goes so far as to say those that do are mentally ill.

“I do see the things people do, they ruin people’s lives … People that end up making people kill themselves, that’s way too far, and they must have psychological problems to want to do that to people.”

Well, whatever allows Jesse to live with himself as a “good” troll then. ? There are enough places on the Internet where you can seriously debate the issues. ?To be a person that simply takes contrary positions to elicit emotional outbursts seems to be rewarding a need for power. ?Power over other people. ?Even when you don’t know them, and even if it is only just for a few minutes. Read more »

The face of a union bully

Unionists are taking to Twitter to promote a new form of union bullying…publishing the phone numbers of people they disagree with so their supporters can attack them via txt or phone calls.


So this unionist is using Twitter to call on people to attack a store owner because she doesn’t agree with his stance in pay negotiations. ? Read more »

Well done Amy, you cocked that up didn’t you?

I did warn the politicians, but?Goddammit. ?What have we gotten ourselves into now?

New Zealand has imposed some of the world’s strictest blasphemy laws by stealth, a Humanist group says.

The new Harmful Digital Communications Act, intended to stop cyber-bullying, could have the effect of landing a person in jail for two years for committing blasphemy, the New Zealand Humanist Society said this week.

This aspect of the new law was an affront to four in ten Kiwis who weren’t adherents of any religion, the group said.

“This legislation not only flies in the face of human rights, but the introduction of yet another law that gives special privileges to religions is unfair, unpopular and unrepresentative of our society, where over 40 per cent of New Zealanders identify as not religious, making this our country’s largest single belief group,” said Mark Honeychurch, the Society’s president.

The Act stated digital communications “should not denigrate an individual by reason of his or her colour, race, ethnic or national origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.”

Mr Honeychurch said the law would effectively impose some of the world’s strictest penalties – including fines of up to $50,000 – on people found guilty of blaspheming, or insulting religion. ?? Read more »

Boing Boing and the EFF label the HDC as troll-friendly

Boing Boing and the EFF don’t have much good to say about Amy Adams’ Harmful Digital Communications Act.

If you set out to create the platonic ideal of a badly considered anti-trolling bill that made a bunch of ineffectual gestures at ending harassment without regard to the collateral damage on everything else on the Internet, well, you?d be New Zealand?s Parliament, apparently.

The Harmful Digital Communications Act has been under consideration for three years, but despite a long debate, the Parliament elected to create restrictions on all online speech ? from private arguments to videos of police brutality ? that would never be countenanced in the offline world.

HDC?s takedown regime takes all the worst elements of DMCA takedowns ? someone complains to a hosting company or ISP and they remove material nearly automatically, with hardly any consideration of whether the complaint passes the giggle-test ? and makes them even worse. Under the new system, trolls who mass-dox or denial-of-service attack a victim could make all of her online presence disappear with impunity, and face no penalties at all for abusing the procedure. If the victim did manage to attempt a counterclaim to keep her online life intact, it would require that she disclose her home address and other details to her attackers.

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