19 February, 2009

Guilty upon accusation

Currently before the NZ parliament is a proposal known as the Guilt Accusation Law: Section 92A. From what I can tell it basically says that if an individual is suspected of illegal file sharing or using their (or someone else's) internet connection in a way that breaches copyright laws then, upon receiving a complaint, the ISP which this individual was using must take steps to make sure this doesn't happen any more --- specifically by cutting off that person's internet connection. There are a couple of problems with this law as it is proposed, the worst being that it assumes guilt by accusation --- once a complaint is received the ISP is compelled to act which puts them in the position of spending time and money determining if the accusation is true or taking the easy way out and cutting off internet access to the accused without bothering about evidence.

TelstraClear have already said that it is unworkable for them to go playing detective and determining guilt (to do so they would have to be spying on what everyone is doing on the net which is both creepy, and, I imagine, expensive for them to do), so they will have a policy of cutting people off upon receiving a complaint. The law makes no allowance for the accused to appeal to anyone if they feel the accusation is false. It puts all the responsibility on to ISPs but doesn't make it easy for them to act fairly (without expense to themselves). Imagine a small business where one person is file sharing illegally --- their ISP gets a complaint and the whole business has its internet connection cut, and they have no one to appeal to. Click on the annoying flashy banner add below to go to the Creative Freedom NZ website to learn more about this and to sign the petition saying that you think this is a silly law.

New Zealand's new Copyright Law presumes 'Guilt Upon Accusation' and will Cut Off Internet Connections without a trial. CreativeFreedom.org.nz is against this unjust law - help us