As Brother Didact says, get a VPN. The risk in this bill is that the government will ban such things. This is typical Labour: trust us because we are nice.
Your should never trust a nice government, because the next one will be nasty.
This is an internet censorship bill. It provides the government wide-sweeping powers to quickly block people from accessing a wide range of internet content.
Freedom of expression is protected by the New Zealand Bill of Rights, Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. By definition, censorship limits freedom of expression.
The internet is where a significant proportion of our freedom of expression happens – the place where we go to seek, receive and impart information. We increasingly rely on our ability to find and share information over the internet.
While we accept that these rights can be “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society”, freedom of expression is a particularly important right as it is one of the cornerstones of that society.
Therefore we expect that restrictions on freedom of expression must pass a number of hurdles including:
That there is a real problem that the Bill addresses.
That the provisions of the Bill will effectively address this problem.
That the methods used will be possible to implement.
That the processes will be transparent and subject to suitable oversight.
That any harms done to civil liberties and society will be less than the harm that the Bill addresses.
Unfortunately we find that this Bill fails to clear these hurdles, with some sections of this Bill falling at more than one of them. In particular:
The Bill fails to define the problem that it addresses.
We do not believe the provisions of the Bill will be effective at resolving what we understand the problems to be.
The implementation has been left undefined to be left for later regulation.
Neither oversight nor transparency are defined.
That the creation of a government mandated internet censorship filter is a threat to our civil liberties which far exceeds the benefits mistakenly claimed by this Bill’s proponents.
While we expect that many of this Bill’s provisions will be ineffective, the dangerous precedent that they set will be able to be expanded on by future governments.
We note that worldwide experience shows that censorship regimes are frequently extended and used against already marginalised groups in their respective societies. Censorship cements power imbalances, perpetuates injustices, and by driving ‘unacceptable’ views underground risks making it harder to tackle the very issues that need to be confronted.
At a time when large parts of the world are turning to fascism and autocracy, we should be even more careful before giving our government more control of what we see, read, write, and speak.
It is not enough to look at the current government and say that they wouldn’t misuse these powers. Our own history contains examples, such as the 1951 Waterfront Dispute, when our government did abuse its power to censor in order to suppress dissent. We have no guarantee that future New Zealand governments will not expand upon and misuse these powers.
I do not always agree with the NZ council of civil liberties. Let’s look at the bill.
In New Zealand, the only current government-backed web filter is designed to block child sexual exploitation material (the Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System). This filter is voluntary and operates at the Internet service provider (ISP) level. It currently applies to about 85% of New Zealand’s ISP connections.
The Bill facilitates the establishment of a government-backed (either mandatory or voluntary) web filter if one is desired in the future. It provides the Government with explicit statutory authority to explore and implement such mechanisms through regulations, following consultation.
Filters can be circumvented by those actively seeking content through tools such as a virtual private network. The limitations of a filtering system mean that there is a risk that a web filter could provide limited benefits, and impact on freedom of expression.
Accordingly, the regulation-making powers under the Bill require that any regulations to establish a filter must—
clarify the criteria for identifying and preventing access to objectionable content that the filter would block:
clarify governance arrangements for the system:
specify reporting arrangements for the system:
clarify the review process and right of appeal should an ISP, online content host, or other individual or entity dispute a decision to prevent access to a website, part of a website, or an online application:
clarify the obligations of ISPs in relation to the operation of the system:
provide detail of how data security and privacy provisions would be addressed.
Any filter established will be limited to addressing a specific form of objectionable content and would focus on web page filtering. The filter would not include messaging applications and other online services. It is intended to be designed so that the impact on freedom of expression would not be extended past the existing justified limits.
Existing appeal pathways in the Act would apply, with necessary modifications, when challenging decisions relating to takedown notices. Review and appeal processes set out in regulations would apply to decisions relating to the blocking of websites, online application, or similar by the electronic system. Decisions relating to the blocking of websites can be also be challenged through judicial review.
So the government can set up the great internet wall as China has. They can define anything objectionable, but they are not attacking emails or social media.
Which is, if one believes the supreme dark lord, where the objectionable material is.
Sensible social media run a “clean speech” rule and have mods pulling anything indecent. The mass media however… seem to use these skills against the dissents — both left and right — and more recently Christians.
This is indeed a bad law.