Why the Law Commission paper should be ignored – Reason 1

The Law Commission paper and recommendation on Name Suppression is purported by Simon “FIGJAM” Power to be the template for moving forward on name suppression. This is a complete cop out and ignores some of the more egregious provisions contain therein. I will explore these over time, but today I present reason 1.

Chapter 7 of the Recommendations tells us how the Law Commission perceives is the best way to control the internet. Now for those who were opposed yo Section 92a of the Copyright law you will see some familiar words.

Draconian Provisions against ISP's

These are an affront to freedom of speech and targeting ISP’s once again when through no fault of their own a customer has published something that ought to be public knowledge in the first place. If it was bad in Section 92a if the Copyright Act it is equally bad, if not more so, to be included in a re-write of the Name Suppression laws.

Where the Law Commission falls down is that they are working from the premise that suppression provisions exist rather than from the perspective of the Bill of Rights and in particular:

Furthermore, the Act guarantees everyone: Freedom of Thought, Conscience, and Religion

  • The right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief, including the right to adopt and hold opinions without interference (Section 13)

Freedom of expression

  • The right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form (Section 14)
  • The Law Commission has look at suppression entirely from the perspective of the vested interests of Lawyers and Judges and totally ignored the Bill Rights Act 1990. This is somewhat strange as Sir Geoffry Palmer was the architect of that law. If anyone should respect the Bill of Rights Act as important then surely he would. But no, he seems more interested in finding ways to control freedom of speech than upholding it.

    Of course all this becomes moot once the website is hosted offshore whether privately or with the likes of Blogger or WordPress. It also doesn’t take into account the all pervasive? Google cache and the legacy of an automated tweet by a content provider like a newspaper of other news outlet.

    Clearly the Law Commission has failed to understand that the genie is out of the bottle and there is no putting the cap back on. They need to face reality, as does FIGJAM Power and legislate to make suppression a rare and precious thing for all New Zealanders not just members of an elite club like lawyers, accountants, celebrities and doctors.

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