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.

Social media and your reputation

New Zealand’s OneNews has filed this brief but useful report on managing your reputation when using social media. They say

Throw away comments can quickly become problematic. People regard social media as a private conversation, but it never is private, regardless of what your settings are. The capacity to repost is always there.

They continue that people who post comments threatening violence when responding to a post that is upsetting can be unlawful. Although relating to the laws of New Zealand, there are some good pointers for everyone. View the 4 minute report here.

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.