Do you have strong feelings about government surveillance? Ever since the release of information about government surveillance by Edward Snowden, I feel that the nature of the relationship of trust between governments and their citizens has changed.
It’s thrown into sharp relief the uneasy balance between citizens’ right to privacy, and governments’ obligations to provide security to their citizens.
InternetNZ is drafting a paper formulating a position on this as the kaitiaki or guardians of the Internet in New Zealand, and have issued a background paper which I would encourage you to read. If you’re a member of InternetNZ you can comment on the members-discuss email list. If you’re not a member, I would encourage you to join InternetNZ. And if you don’t want to join or comment yourself, please contact me directly either in the comments below or on the contact form so I can ensure that your voice is heard.
Parliament passed the Copyright Amendment Act into law under urgency last night, effectively forcing Internet Service Providers to police people allegedly infringing copyrights, with the ultimate sanction being a $15,000 fine and disconnecting the offender from the Internet.
The whole idea is stupid and irritating on many levels, but to me, the worst aspect is the abuse of urgency. Urgency is only meant to be used when things are, well, urgent, but in this case it’s being used to stifle debate.
Even more irritating is Labour’s response, with Clare Curran crowing that Labour only passed 13 bills under urgency in their 9-year tenure. That’s 13 bills too many in my book, and includes such standouts as the Terrorism Suppression Act and the Seabed and Foreshore Act.
I’d dearly like both major parties to revise their policy on urgency, as it is a clear threat to democracy. They may be using it on something as seemingly innocuous as the Copyright Amendment Act today, but they’re on a slippery slope pointing back toward the days of Rob Muldoon.
I was quoted in the Herald from one of my tweets as being “p****d off”, but I’m really livid. If democracy slips away from us, we’ll only have ourselves to blame.