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Wednesday, July 13

Skynet law changes still violate human rights

The Government today released details on how its controversial "Skynet" file sharing law will be implemented but failed to make changes necessary to protect human rights, the Green Party says.

The law allowed the Minister of Commerce the power to enact internet termination as a remedy for infringing copyright three times.

Green Party ICT spokesperson Gareth Hughes said since the law was passed under urgency earlier this year, the United Nations had come out saying terminating someone's internet infringed their human rights.

"When they passed the law, many in the Government clearly didn't understand what they were voting for," Mr Hughes said.

"But after the UN subsequently came out saying terminating someone's internet access violates their rights, I hoped the Government would realise its folly and make the necessary changes. Sadly, the details released today show that's not the case."

Mr Hughes said if you were accused of an offence and innocent, it would be very difficult to prove your innocence.

"You'd be found guilty just by being accused. And if you are accused, you'll have to prove your innocence. To make it worse, the Government still hasn't outlined how you could do that."

The decision to not allow internet service providers to fully recover the cost of processing complaints would see internet charges for New Zealanders increase, he said.

Mr Hughes said he was also highly critical that the law's finer details were released only six weeks before they are to be implemented in September.

He was also disappointed that the Government hadn't decided to have a "zero dollar" fine for people found guilty of downloading foreign content that was otherwise unavailable in New Zealand.

"This would be a great way to encourage copyright owners to make their content available in New Zealand sooner