Reading between the lines of ProjectLoveNZ

My questions to ProjectLoveNZ failed to get many satisfactory answers. They said no when I asked if they see themselves as a New Zealand version of the Southern Poverty Law Centre, but they were unable or unwilling to tell us what actions they intend to take and how they will define something online as toxic, racist or hateful.

The repeatedly stated that they would “oppose the spread and remediate the impact of toxic narratives.” But we were left to read between the lines as to how they are intending to do that.

To aid us in our speculation here are some tweets from ProjectLoveNZ’s twitter feed.

Does this mean that they will be going after publishers to hold them to account for comments made on their platforms? They have already asked internet providers Vodafone NZ, Spark NZ, 2Degrees and Orcon to work with them.

A company called MEGAprivacy has already said yes to working with them and I can only wonder why a group that says that they will not be spying on New Zealanders would need a company like this to work with them? If they are just an “observatory” as they claim then why would they have the need for encrypted cloud storage? What will they be storing and why does it need to be kept so secret? quote.

MEGA provides user-controlled encrypted cloud storage through standard web browsers, together with dedicated apps for mobile devices. Unlike other cloud storage providers, your data is encrypted and decrypted by your client devices only end quote.

I also have to wonder at the possible political connections when a director of the company is none other than Shane Te Pou, a former Labour activist and Union official.

What else can we learn from ProjectLOVEnz’s twitter feed?

They are anti-Trump and link his presidency to “hate speech” and “hate crime.”

They agree with Golriz Ghahraman that regulating our freedom of speech with new hate speech laws will prevent radicalisation online.

They think that New Zealand has a history of White supremacy.

They think that the mainstream media can be used to solve the problem.

They think that Islamophobia is a real thing, not a word made up by activists to silence criticism of Political Islam.

They are very keen not to just observe online speech (as they claim) but to regulate it. By forming this group, are they hoping that they will be the organisation/working group that the government gives the job of deciding which speech will be regulated?