AAPNZ has introduced a new law which could see cyber bullies face up to three years’ imprisonment.
Cyber bullies could face up to three years’ imprisonment, with their bullying set to be criminalised in a new bill being introduced to the New Zealand parliament.
It comes just two days after news broke that a group of Auckland teenage boys, calling themselves Roast Busters, were having sex with drunk girls, many of them underage, and posting details – including the girls’ names – online.
Communications Bill, backed by NZ Justice Minister Judith Collins, 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 $NZ2000 ($A1766) 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.
Both changes were recommended by the Law Commission in August.
Ms Collins’ bill will also create a new agency and enforcement regime as the first port of call for complaints, which will be able to contact service providers like Twitter and Facebook to request information be removed.
Serious complaints can head to court, which will have the power to issue remedies such as take-down orders and cease-and-desist notices.
School principals will be able to apply on behalf of their students, while police can apply where a communication constitutes a threat to a person’s safety, and the chief coroner can apply for a take-down order for material relating to suicides.
The law relating to website hosts will be clarified, and it will be easier for people to request harmful content to be removed.
Website hosts could face legal action if they fail to remove the content.