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You Have My Banhammer: New Zealand Passes Anti-Cyberbullying Law

Gotta pay the troll toll.


New Zealand has passed a digital communications bill that may prove helpful in weeding out harmful jerks from Facebook and Twitter.

The Harmful Digital Communications Bill is intended to crack down on people sending racist, ableist, sexist, and bigoted comments online, or posting nude pictures without the subject’s consent. Perps found guilty of intent to cause “serious emotional distress” could face up to two years in jail (three if they’re found guilty of attempting to incite suicide).

The law also calls for a new government agency designed to work alongside companies like Facebook and Twitter to ensure these platforms delete all offending messages within 48 hours.

Not surprisingly, the bill isn’t without its IRL detractors; although Uproxx points out that the bill orders the courts to prioritize the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act first, the new legislature has provoked the usual concerns over infringement on free speech, and TechEye reports that the bill could also potentially criminalise children over the age of 14.

Ultimately, as with similar measures in other countries, although it’s gratifying to see official organizations prioritizing online safety, the true test of the new legislature will lie in the ease and efficacy of its enforcement.

What say you, good people of the Internet?

(via Engadget)

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