R v Internet – Reality Intrudes
After the morning tea break we came back to a panel discussion on the issues of contempt.
Steven Price (media law expert) started off with a list of points and was a breath of fresh air. It was great to see him state that once the information has got out, it can’t be stopped.
Continue reading R v Internet – Panel
I’m at the R v Internet seminar in Wellington today. As some of the issues discussed are quite important in terms of Tech Liberty (right to a fair trial, Internet censorship, freedom of speech) I’ll be giving a brief write-up of the event.
The Old Guard
So far we have heard from the Attorney General Chris Finlayson, Law Professor Tony Smith from VUW and the Solicitor General, David Collins.
Continue reading R vs Internet – First Session
The Search and Surveillance Bill currently under consideration by Parliament is an attempt to create a unified law for all government agencies. These powers are currently defined, differently, in over 70 different acts ranging from the Crimes Act to the Meat Board Act.
The stated intention of the bill is to “reform the law to provide a coherent, consistent and certain approach in balancing the complementary values of law enforcement and human rights” while “[providing] for the appropriate legislative powers to enable law enforcement and regulatory agencies to extract electronic information and use surveillance devices in order to investigate and combat criminal activity”.
Continue reading Search and Surveillance Act Threatens Privacy
The new Search and Surveillance Bill includes provisions to force people who own and manage computer systems to give full access to those systems. This includes the obligation to give up passwords to enable the authorities to access encrypted information.
Of course, this assumes that the person involved actually has the password. It’s quite common for someone running a system to not be able to break the encryption used by other users to secure their data. Will the courts understand that? And even if they understand that, will they believe it?
Continue reading Updated: Jailing People for Remaining Silent
Updated: see our update to this post.
Sometimes it seems that every day there is another threat to people’s abilities to use the Internet. Each special interest group has their own barrow to push, often with honourable intent, that causes them to make impossible or unreasonable demands.
Today’s effort is from the Law Commission. They’ve published their Suppressing Names and Evidence report and it includes the following (recommendation 26 from the report, page 66, PDF):
Where an internet service provider or content host becomes aware that they are carrying or hosting information that they know is in breach of a suppression order, it should be an offence for them to fail to remove the information or to fail to block access to it as soon as reasonably practicable.
Continue reading Law Commission Demands ISPs Filter the Internet
- The government believes it has the power to intercept, search and block our communications – if they’re done over the Internet.
- The media companies want to ignore the right to a fair trial and skip straight to the punishment phase – if you download music files instead of copying a CD.
- Border agencies and the Police believe they have a right to unlimited access to your private data – but only if it’s on computer, not on paper.
- The government wants to be able to punish others by disconnecting them from the Internet – but we wouldn’t ban people from using paper and pen.
There are those who think that they can ignore our existing rights and freedoms because new technology has made them obsolete.
We don’t agree.