NZ cyber bullies may face jail

The Age is reporting that the New Zealand parliament is working on a law where cyber bullies could face imprisonment of up to three years.

… the Harmful Digital Communications Bill, backed by New Zealand Justice Minister Judith Collins, [is set] to crack down on bullying via social networking, email, mobile phones and websites.

It creates a new criminal offence for sending messages or posting material online with intent to cause harm – including threatening and offensive messages, harassment, damaging rumours and invasive photographs – with penalties of up to three months’ imprisonment or a $NZ2000 ($1766) fine.

It also creates a new offence of incitement to commit suicide – even in situations when a person does not attempt to take their life – punishable by up to three years’ jail.

Read the whole article here.

Authorities gain power to collect Australians’ internet records

A few days ago, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on how

Laws passed will allow authorities to collect and keep Australians’ internet records, including their web-browsing history, social media activity and emails….The legislation will allow the Australian Federal Police to collaborate with international authorities in seeking Australian communications data under warrants.

Read more about how the laws may affect you.

NZ may outlaw cyberbullying

A recent ABC report that New Zealand’s government may make cyberbullying a criminal offence is of great interest.

The new digital communications offence would outlaw grossly offensive or menacing comments which cause harm.

It would apply to people older than 14 years and would carry a maximum penalty of three months’ jail or a fine of $US1,600.

The Law Commission says existing laws should also be modified to encompass digital communications.

It is recommending a communications tribunal be established with the power to name and shame offenders and issue take-down orders.

Schools would also be legally required to implement anti-bullying policies and practices.

Read the whole report here.