Justice unexpected

The Spinoff has a very funny court transcript from New Plymouth in an outstanding fine case.

The problem for Troy William Henry La Rue, apart from his laxness in paying fines catching up with him, is that a few days earlier he had made a comment on Facebook about the judge he was now standing in front of.

Mr La Rue posted this in response to a Taranaki Daily News item announcing the impending retirement of the judge:

“LOL I hope the fuckers gone by friday. Ha ha. Fucker, nah fuckin cunt whose old face and saggy chin. Fuck off.”

He came to rue that drunken social media remark. Once the judge confronted him about it he said “Well all I can say is you got me on that one.”

But the judge had some more getting him than that.

Transcript: What happens when you appear before a judge you called a c*** on Facebook?

It’s obviously stupid abusing judges, especially judges you could end up standing before in court.

Justice sometimes works in unexpected ways.

Radio NZ abuse

There’s  and interesting issue of abuse on Radio New Zealand’s Checkpoint with John Campbell Facebook page.

Some fairly extreme abuse went on for several days, targeting John Key and his mother.

5:30 pm yesterday Whale Oil picked up on it and posted Why are RadioNZ and John Campbell allowing death threats against the Prime Minister?

6:36 pm David Farrar followed up with a post at Kiwiblog – Hate speech on the Radio NZ Checkpoint Facebook page. 

9:23 pm Farrar also commented about it on it on Twitter:

David Farrar @dpfdpf

The John Campbell Checkpoint Radio NZ FB page has some of the worst hate speech I have seen online. People saying…

9:30 pm this was followed by:

That’s a speedy response once Radio NZ found out. It has since been claimed they ended up deleting around a hundred comments.

Farrar had several digs at Radio NZ over funding, I don’t think that’s the issue here.

My guess is that Radio NZ had had relatively few problems with abusive comments and were caught out by a sudden spate of them. I’m sure they will be more vigilant in the future.

Danyl at Dim-Post joined in on this early this morning – The mysterious case of the hate speech comments on the RNZ Facebook page.

He suggested it looked suspicious.

So it seems really odd that people like Insane Clown Posse fan ‘Tim Wikidclownz‘ would all randomly one weekend decide to pour into a sleepy Radio New Zealand Facebook page and leave comments about gassing John Key’s mother and similar obscenities. And that WhaleOil, the guy who stumbled over that copy of The Luminaries uploaded to Mega that only the person who illegally uploaded it would know about, also stumbled over these.

This has been expanded on in comments.

I haven’t had a detailed look at the Radio NZ comments and they are now deleted, but some at least seem to have been made by people who look like they have been generally abusive. It’s not uncommon on Facebook.

Especially absent any evidence I doubt this was a sophisticated sting by Slater or associates. I’ve had first hand experience of that sort of thing here and there were differences.

I think it’s more likely someone saw the abuse and informed Slater or someone at Whale Oil who then put the post up to take a swipe at Radio NZ.

A good citizen would have informed Radio NZ so they could take appropriate action. It looks like Slater might have passed the story on to Farrar, who later advised radio NZ.Both could have done better but seemed more interested in dumping more on the state funding of Radio NZ

Farrar has followed up with another post today: Further on Radio NZ Facebook page

A few extra thoughts on the hate speech which was on the Radio NZ Checkpoint page.

Unless you vet comments in advance, no publisher can prevent inappropriate comments from appearing. I don’t think anyone blames Radio NZ for the fact they appeared.

Most won’t blame them, it’s unavoidable in forums with open access, as much of Facebook is.

But what one can judge on is how quickly they were removed. RNZ staff acted once there was publicity about it, but for an organisation with $35 million a year of taxpayer funding, the comments should have never lasted as long as they did.

No they shouldn’t. Someone at Radio NZ should probably have picked up on it.

And one would hope someone who noticed the problem would have informed them. That was less a priority than putting up blog posts.

Some salient points:

  1. Some of the comments had been up for three days or longer – conclusion no regular checking of the page.
  2. The comments were incredibly vile – massive use of the c word to describe the PM and one person saying his mother should have been gassed in the holocaust – how could people feel you can say such a thing on a Radio NZ page?
  3. Over 100 comments had to be deleted by RNZ staff, which was close to a quarter of the comments on the page. So this was not one or two comments that slipped through, but a mountain of vile abuse which dominated the page.
  4. No-one alerted RNZ to the comments before they got publicity. If someone used such language about a politician on KB, I’d have several e-mails within minutes from readers alerting me to it. But somehow no one reading the Radio NZ Checkpoint Facebook page thought the comments needed drawing to the attention of Radio NZ. This suggests that the only people on the page were those of a similar view on John Key.
  5. Has Radio NZ done anything beyond delete the comments? Have they reported those who made the most vile comments? Have they blocked them from the Radio NZ FB pages? Or are they free to do the same next time?

Apparently Radio NZ is investigating.

Of course as well as Dim-Post there’s been comment and accusations elsewhere. I’ve seen some on Twitter, but none with supporting evidence.

The irony of Whale Oil and Farrar highlighting and strongly criticising onlibe abuse has not gone unnoticed.

Whale Oil comments have been cleaned up but posts can still be fairly abusive and provocative, and Slater’s tactics online along with people associated with him are amongst the more despicable in New Zealand taking in to account the power imbalance involved.

Comments threads at Kiwiblog are not for the faint hearted, with abusive comments, lies and attacks common. But Farrar will address serious examples if they are pointed out to him.

And this is symptomatic of a major online problem. It can be a wild west where people seem to think they can have a free for all.

While moderation is necessary by those responsible for forums I think there are wider community responsibilities. I think it’s important to confront and stand up against online abuse.

But that’s sometimes not easy and not without substantial risks, as I have found out (I think justice will end up being done but it takes some time).

Online communities should be like any other communities, with responsibility for decent behaviour taken by all those taking part.

We are all learning as we go how to deal with a rapidly evolving online world. We need to keep looking at how to improve on what we have.

And this also requires politicians and media to show a lot more responsibility with their own behaviour and not encouraging and glorifying bad behaviour. More on that next post.

Politics on Facebook

If you want to follow New Zealand politics on Facebook – political party, and media information – a very useful list has been set up:

This should be a useful compilation of what’s happening for journalists and anyone interested in following politics in New Zealand.

It has been set up by Geoffrey Miller who has been compiling “all the MPs’ pages I can find, parties, interest groups etc. Anyone involved in NZ politics really who is worth following.”

It’s a work in progress but already works well and looks to be very useful.

There’s no doubt that Facebook has become a major forum for discussion on the Internet in general, and this applies to politics as with many other things.

I’ve seen political parties in New Zealand favouring their Facebook pages over their official websites for getting information out and for generating discussion. Twitter is just a pointer to what’s on Facebook.

Facebook has it’s strengths but a problem with it is that information is very scattered and easy to miss.

So the NZ Politics list on Facebook is an excellent aid to finding local politics if that’s what you’re interested in.

UPDATE: I have added a link to NZ Politics on Facebook on the right hand end of ther Your NZ menu to make it easy to find.

Accessing Facebook account by deception charge

Stuff reports on an interesting and unusual charge against an ex police officer that went before the Wellington District Court on December 22.

Former policeman charged with accessing Facebook account by deception

THE CHARGE

Simon Lindroos is charged with having “directly accessed a computer system, namely the private Facebook account of Melissa Weddell and thereby by deception and without claim of right obtained benefit, namely access, to the private account of Melissa Weddell”.

Lindroos said on Monday that he was not at liberty to discuss the allegation and did not yet know the full details of the charge himself.

He has not yet entered a plea and has been remanded to appear again in Wellington District Court later this month.

They point out that it’s not uncommon for people to access the Facebook and Twitter accounts of friends, sometimes to play pranks.

University of Otago law faculty professor Paul Roth said he had never heard of that particular charge, of accessing a Facebook account by deception, being used in New Zealand.

“A lot of people access other people’s Facebook account … police don’t go around charging everyone for this,” Roth said.

Presumably there are more serious things alleged in this case.

He added that police accessed people’s Facebook accounts “all the time” in the course of their duties.

I don’t know that it’s that common, it would presumably require court approval. In any case Lindroos is no longer a police officer.

Criminal intent is likely to be an issue in this case.

Legal experts say the key issues likely to make the case different from people fooling around with their friends’ Facebook accounts are those of consent and criminal intent.

Wellington barrister Michael Bott said the prosecution would have to prove that Lindroos illegally accessed the account without consent, and would also have to show criminal intent.

Bott, a human rights lawyer, said there could be an “arguable claim” about guilt in this particular case, but most people should not be worried about being charged for activities such as practical jokes on their friends’ Facebook accounts.

“Bear in mind that siblings set each other up all the time and make embarrassing posts … it would be a very sad day when siblings can’t do what they’ve done for centuries.”

He said he had seen the charge used before, when he defended a person who set up an online dating profile using another person’s details. That person was convicted.

I presume to charge an ex police officer the police think they have a relatively serious and reasonably strong case.

 

Conservative Party AGM?

There’s been at least two notifications of Conservative Party AGMs and announcement of a new Board of Management, but no sign of anything happening.

On September 13 Whale Oil (staff) posted 2015 CONSERVATIVE PARTY ANNUAL CONFERENCE AGM ATTENDANCE A BIT OF A FIZZER.

Colin Craig’s Conservative Party scheduled its Annual Conference this weekend.  It started on Friday evening, yesterday was the AGM, followed by a public meeting in the evening, and Colin and his closest friends are having a good conflab at the Centurion castle in Albany this morning.

2222

As I arrived, the Concierge of the Novotel Ellerslie was very helpful and keen to assist me find the conference.   He wondered if I was there for the 50th birthday party?

“No”, I said, “I’m looking for the Conservative Party Annual Conference”.   Not missing a beat, the Concierge suggested I might be at the wrong hotel.

A political party that advertises its Annual Conference, including the all important AGM, and then doesn’t actually have it – is it still a political party?   Party insiders tell me that some members have been nominated for board positions, and (incongruously) ex-member and ex board chair Brian Dodds has agreed to vet them.   The constitution requires an appointment committee.

And a month later (mid-October) on Facebook:

ConservativeAGMFacebook

I’ve searched for news and have found nothing.

The Conservative Party website says nothing about the September non-conference nor the October mystery conference.

The ‘Latest Update’ on the website is Colin Craig Statement of 19 June. Nothing since then, although the website has been updated and no longer shows Colin Craig as Party Leader (my last record of him stated as leader there was on July 28 – see Craig still acting as Conservative leader.

But Craig continues to show as leader on his Twitter account…

ColinnCraigTwitter

…but there hasn’t been any activity there since early August.

Back to Twitter this is his current home page which has also been inactive for three months.

ColinCraigFacebookThe Vote Colin Craig website that links to has also been inactive.

Is there still a Conservative Party?

Another online scam

There seems to regularly be stories about online scams, and a number of these seem to be playing on relationships and ‘love’. Preying on the vulnerable and the gullible is dirty but some people don’t care about the personal damage the do.

There has been two high profile New Zealand drug mule cases. There are often stories off lesser scams, but they can still have a devastating impact, financially and emotionally, on the victims.

In this week’s local community newspaper (The Star) there’s an Online scam warning for women (not easily accessible online).

A woman started communicating with an American on Facebook.

“Within a day he said that he loved me and could see a future with me”.

That carried on for two weeks before he told her he had sent her a parcel with valuable gifts in it, and gave her the track and trace number.

She then received emails from a courier company in Malaysia asking for $2,500 in tax.

She got out a loan and paid the $2,500.

The courier company emailed again saying she would have to pay $15,000 for insurance – so she called the man who told her there was $600,000, a diamond ring, a watch, some jewellery and an iPhone 6.

“He said please, please, please and I’m the type who will do anything for anyone so I went to the bank to get another loan”.

This time the lady at the bank got her to go to the police, but nothing could be done about the $2,500 as it had left the country.

It’s mind boggling how gullible some people are.

It ‘only’ cost this woman $2,500 before someone helped her out of the scam.

A more elaborate scam could have cost Anthony Melmanche his life. He is serving a 15 year prison sentence in Bali.

Can gullible people be helped from their stupidity? Should they be?

Craig still shown as party leader

Despite standing down as leader of the Conservative Party a week ago Colin Crtaig continues to be presented as the party leader online.

I posted on Monday – Craig still appears as Conservative leader online.

The Conservative Party web site still shows Craig as leader on multiple pages.

The last posts on ConservativePartyNZ on Facebook are on last Friday’s media conference with photos of Craig, so at a glance Craig still looks prominent. You have you go to the post of Craig’s statement (amongst three posts) and read through it to find that he has stood down.

There may not be anyone left in the party who can deal with updating their online presence. Or it may be deliberate.

The Twitter account listed on the Conservative website is unchanged at @ColinCraigNZ and that account that has been active since last week’s announcement, linking to several news reports this week, but still shows him as leader.

Colin Craig

@ColinCraigNZ

Leader of The Conservative Party of New Zealand. Someone, like you, who wants a better long term future for our country…

Maybe they are just waiting until Craig is last man standing to save double changes.

Unfortunately for the remaining Conservatives politically Craig looks to be dead man walking.

A Press editorial sums things up – Colin Craig’s career in politics over:

The issue, whatever the truth may be about its details, is a calamitous one for a party that campaigned on family values and its purported embodiment of superior personal virtue.  The party has  imploded so completely that it is hard to see how, even with another moneybags to finance it, it could make its way back. Craig’s political future is surely finished. And those who voted for Conservative will have to seek elsewhere to give political expression to their views.

Craig still appears as Conservative leader online

There is little change online to Colin Craig’s appearance as Conservative Party leader, despite him standing down as leader on Friday.

The website displays Craig and Chairman Brian Dobbs media statements from Friday…

ConservativeWebpage

…but you have to drill down to see any sign of what happened, and even that is a bit vague. Well onto his statement Craig states that he has offered to stand down only:

1.    I have offered to stand down as leader to enable the board to consider the leadership role

Also well into his statement Dobbs says that Craig has actually stood down:

I am grateful to Colin that he stood down to allow the board to explore all possible leadership options going forward.

Despite this the website otherwise still shows Craig as leader. On the Key People page:

Colin Craig

Colin Craig 
Party Leader 

Colin Craig is a respected businessman who has founded and run five successful businesses. 
The largest of these is Centurion Management Services, which has grown from being a “one man band” to a large employer.

With a strong sense of justice, and a desire to see his country succeed, it was no surprise that Colin became involved in Politics; firstly with local business issues, then with Leaky Homes.

In 2009, shocked at the Government”s refusal to be directed by the Citizens Initiated Referenda supported by over 87% of voters, Colin organised and funded the March for Democracy, seeking to require that our democratically elected Government act democratically. In 2010, Colin became involved with looking into the proposed Auckland Super City merger: running polls, making public comment, and subsequently running for Mayor and achieving third place in the election.

At the end of last year Colin launched The Conservative Party of New Zealand. Never being one to wait for someone else to do something worth doing, Colin subscribes to the philosophy that leadership is action, not position. “If someone is a leader, they are out there serving other people” he says.

According to Colin, true leaders are not the people sitting around talking about it, or the people waving around a badge: “Leaders are the people doing the hard yards, putting other people”s needs above their own.”

The accusations against Craig of sexual harassment make the last statement a bit hollow.

The Contact page still lists Craig as leader.

Party Leader

Name: Colin Craig

Email: Via Press secretary

Cell phone: Via Press secretary

The Vote Conservative Party Facebook timeline has links to Craig’s and Hobb’s statement plus photos of Craig and Hobbs but with no obvious indication what has happened.

They don’t have a generic Conservative Party Twitter account, their website links to Craig’s account.

CraigTwitter

Again no sign of Craig stepping down as leader. There’s the same links to the media statements from Friday but nothing since and nothing making it clear what the current leadership situation is.

Some things could take time to change, for example the fixed pages on the website. They have promoted the media conference statements, but have changed nothing as a result of the leadership change.

There is no clear sign that Craig is no longer party leader.

Labour poverty message mangled

Social media doesn’t always work the way you want it to. Yesterday Labour posted on Facebook about poverty – “Since John Key was elected 20,000 more Kiwi children are living in POVERTY.”.

There’s that many numbers thrown around about poverty I’m not sure if that will be an effective message or if it’s just another eye-glazer.

Regardless of that when I say it this morning the Top Comments have mangled Labour’s message.

Matthew Small:

That might be true, but John Key is not to blame for all of it, some people decide to have more kids when they can’t afford it; which statistically puts the kids straight into poverty.

Surgey Teer’s”

Funny how so many people believe that if you live in poverty it is somehow the governments fault. I grew up in poverty, having to stick cardboard inside my shoes because they had holes in, always hungry, all clothes were charity and hand me downs. Theonly person who I could blame was my father and step mother, both did not work and did not want to work. They still had money for cigarettes and alcohol though!!
107 likes

The only people who can change the cycle is you, individually. Work hard, take any opportunities you can. For me, the apathy of my family with regards to work made me strive for success, I did not want my children to go through the same things I did. I did not want them to grow up in a doss hole of an area ridden with crime and scum.

I would never have thought as I was growing up that I would have moved my family half way around the world and would be living in near luxury, but, I earned it and I have never took a cent of charity. I never, ever thought that I was owed something from any government. Yes, they were on the dole, it was difficult and the money was pitiful, but, it should have been less, there would have been more incentive to go and get work.
60 likes

Joy Jackson:

We are a first world country with endless educational and employment opportunities. It is simplistic and defeatist to blame a government because they are not providing you with money you have not worked for. I don’t worry about the National government,
50 likes

That’s not the response Labour would have wanted.

LabourPovertyFacebook

Scrolling down showed standard opposition lines that were less populazr

Mervyn John Peter Oquinn:

John Key doesn’t care about people it’s all about money
33 likes

Donald John Robinson:

Why blame this government, John Key played the same game as Labour, but nearly a million lazy thick incompetent, selfish ignorant New Zealanders didn’t VOTE !!!!!!
24 likes

Carol Kara:

Profits before People should be the National party slogan.
20 likes

Counter message versus same old slogans.

Another problem with this is that it isn’t easy to ‘Get the facts.” There was no obvious links to any facts. Most people wouldn’t bother trying to get them.

There’s also no sign of anything on this on Labour’s home page on their website. It’s not on their News page either.

Googling “labour children poverty living” hits Labour’s Children page that has it’s last post dated 8 July 2014. Nothing on this Facebook post.

So I don’t know what facts they are claiming.

Labour have failed to win hearts and minds on their Facebook post and have failed to provide the facts that they wanted us to get. Or did they want us to get the facts?

I see faux pas and no facts. It’s a mangled message.

SIS jobs increase with risk

NZ Herald reports that More espionage agents being recruited amid threats on social media in NZ spies to combat new terror threats.

In a rare interview, Ms Kitteridge said New Zealand’s risk level had gone from very low to low. That might not sound significant, she said, but it was of concern.

Ms Kitteridge said SIS staff numbers were linked to the threat level and there had been “very active recruitment” since the Prime Minister announced an increased $7 million in funding in November.

SIS annual reports show the number of people working at the agency has almost doubled since 2001 when it had 111 staff and got $13 million in funding. The most recent report shows it spent $37 million — $3 million more than its budget — and had 218 fulltime-equivalent staff. Ms Kitteridge would not say how many new agents had been hired.

New risks through social media are one reason for the increase in staff.

Facebook pages encouraging violence on behalf of Isis (Islamic State) are among factors increasing New Zealand’s official terrorism risk and leading to a recruitment drive for new spies.

(Kitteridge) described the public relations and technical skills deployed by Isis and al-Qaeda terrorist groups through social media as “slick”.

She said it was an “environmental change” which increased the risk to New Zealand. “Geography doesn’t protect us the way it used to. Al-Qaeda and [Isis] are very slick in terms of technology and PR.”

Ms Kitteridge also gave details of the types of activities that have led to the development of a “watch list” of 30 to 40 names.

“We are concerned about people channelling funding. Some would very much like to go and fight in Syria and other people talk about doing things in New Zealand.

“Some we worry about a lot and some we are absolutely aware of them but it’s another level of risk. We work as hard as we can to make sure we are making that judgment right. But it’s not a perfect science.”

She said they would follow up the leads and tips received by the SIS on 30 to 40 people not yet on the watchlist but whom the PM had identified as needing investigation.

The people who required investigation changed constantly as some were ruled out and others placed on the watch list.

Social media have had an increasing role in Islamic extremism, and Britain and the US have prosecuted users deemed to have made comments supportive of terrorism.

And there’s evidence of what is happening on Facebook.

The Herald has this week tracked multiple Facebook pages of Kiwis that have carried recruitment-style material for Isis.

One such person took to social media this week after French police shot dead three Islamic terrorists in Paris, saying: “My dear beloved brothers and sisters, its time to wake up. Get ur guns, get ur knifes, get ur boots, train intensively, increase your (faith) and (certainty), study the virtues of Jihad (for the sake of Allah).”

Contacted by the Herald, he asked for $2,000 for an interview and refused to talk when told he wouldn’t get any money.

Cheeky bugger. And potentially dangerous. Individuals like this may not become violent themselves but they are trying to talk up and encourage violent acts.

Another page displayed imagery of gun-wielding fighters wearing the keffiyeh headdress in Isis colours carrying the organisation’s slogans. The message posted with the images was: “Just 1 bullet away from jannah [paradise].”

The Facebook account owner — who gives the Middle East as his current location — was linked last year to the Avondale Islamic Centre shut by the Muslim community after concerns about the style of preaching. The man was visited by police after threats to Herald staff covering the mosque conflict.

So threats in New Zealand seem to be more substantial than the Government trying to justify laws to increase surveillance.

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