More misuse of Harmful Digital Publications Act?

The Harmful Digital Publications Act was promoted as a way to address online bullying, especially of young people, but here is another claim that it has been used to try to suppress critical information. ‘Mason Bee’:

There is a flaw in New Zealands Harmful Digital Communications Act that is being exploited to take down content on the Internet. Because most allegations have to go through the Approved Agency (NetSafe) before going to the courts anyone can start a trivial, frivolous, or vexatious case with them without having to prove that they had suffered the level of serious emotional harm that is required by the law.

I don’t know whether the HDCA is effective at addressing online bullying and abuse, but it has been misused be vexatious online bullies since 2015. A year before the HDCA came into force some of the worst online abusers in New Zealand duped a judge in trying to prosecute me and shut this site down because I kept exposing there attacks here. See:

I was notified again recently be Netsafe of a complaint from the same person, Marc Spring, who didn’t like being exposed here or in the Whale Oil book, along with co-online bully Cameron Slater.  Once again Spring appears to have not followed procedures defined in the act properly.

Mason Bee:

To make matters worse, NetSafe doesn’t appear to be keeping any records of the numbers of these cases. When asked how many public figures had sought to use the process they refused the OAI request on the grounds that they would have to search over 7000 records. With almost 3000 of those records coming from 2018 this is a hidden problem that is only going to get worse.

Netsafe have a job to do, and have to try to deal with both legitimate and frivolous or vexatious complaints.  I found them ok to deal with, but they didn’t provide me with any details about the complaint. They can only liaise and moderate, and if that doesn’t resolve issues it can become a police or court matter if there is merit in the complaint (although as I have found out, cases without merit resulted in lengthy and costly court proceedings).

Mason Bee:

How do I know this? Because I was targetted by a minor politician who decided to use the NetSafe process and demand that I change a post and cease writing about her in the future.

That post is titled Suzie Dawson and the Whistle-blower

This is the story of how I have ended up in the unenviable position of whistle-blowing on Suzie Dawson and Internet Party New Zealand.

This is the story of how I have ended up in the unenviable position of whistle-blowing on Suzie Dawson and Internet Party New Zealand.

It all came to a head for in March of 2019 when I wrote a post called Who is Suzie Dawson: Exile or Fraud? In it I questioned her claims, her history, warned people about her conduct, asked more questions and published a, then unanswered, complaint to the Secretary of the Internet Party saying I believed she had;

When the Internet Party Secretary replied, almost a month after the initial complaint, he refused to escalate the complaint and dismissed it as personal attack, not in the interests of the Party and because I had already published it online. Nothing was heard from Suzie during this time and she continued to ask for donations using the name and imagery of the Internet Party.

Then, in May, I received an email.

The same standard email I received from Netsafe saying they wanted to chat about a complaint that had been made.

At first I was absolutely sure it could not be Suzie Dawson. There was no way that a public figure who purports to fight for whistleblowers and journalist’s could be stupid enough to try and invoke a law made to protect teenagers from online bullying in order to silence criticism against her.

It turned out I was wrong. Suzie Dawson, in an act of lawfare, used New Zealands Harmful Digital Communications Act (2015) to try and get me to remove statements from my website and to stop me writing about her in the future. She used a cyberbullying law to try and remove my right to Freedom of Expression.

I doubt there is a more perfect example of how she really feels about whistle-blowers or journalists.

If I had not been in a position where I had access to legal advice it is likely I would have been forced to alter or withdraw my posts, possibly even take down my website, in fear of litigation.

I’m not going to make any judgment on this specific issue, I’m merely giving it more of an airing because both online abuse and misuse of the HDCA and the courts as a weapon by online bullies, or of attempts to suppress information by people involved in politics is of  public interest.

If Suzie Dawson wants to put her side of the story forward in response here in a reasonable manner I offer her a right of reply.

I presume that legitimate complaints of online bullying are being dealt with by Netsafe, and some of them surface as prosecutions in the courts.

But I think that more information about misuse and abuse of the HDCA is needed. This is an important public online issue.

I think that it is important that Netsafe deal with valid complaints of online bullying, but also that people are aware their rights when subject to frivolous or vexatious complaints. The more extreme examples will be obvious, but there is likely to be a more murky middle.

Exile in Russia named as Internet Party leader

This is bizarre. The exile is not Edward Snowden but it might as well be.

New leader announcement

The Internet Party has a new leader: Suzie Dawson. Ms Dawson will lead the Internet Party as it contests the 2017 New Zealand general election.

Suzie Dawson is an accomplished independent New Zealand journalist and activist. She specialises in writing about whistleblowers, intelligence agencies, and technology.

Suzie’s work has been repeatedly shared by WikiLeaks, recommended by Pulitzer Prize winner Glenn Greenwald, and published and referenced by a number of media organisations.

She has reported extensively and internationally, most notably in support of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

Kim Dotcom tried to use Greenwald, Snowden and Assange in his extravagant attempt to swing the 2014 election –  ‘Moment of Truth’: cheers, cringes, no bombshell

She was recently interviewed by US journalist, activist and Nobel Peace Prize-nominee David Swanson.

She currently resides in Moscow, Russia, where she has applied for temporary asylum due to severe persecution she reports being subjected to by those whose corruption she worked to expose. The story of her exile from New Zealand is told in her 2016 documentary ‘Diary of a Person of Interest‘. She is also the host of a new Web TV series about life in Russia called ‘Kiwi In Moscow‘.

Suzie was instrumental in major activism campaigns in New Zealand, including #GCSB, #TPPANoWay, #NZ4Gaza and the 2014 Internet Party campaign, during which she interviewed ex leader Hon. Laila Harré on a number of occasions.

Suzie says: “The Internet Party has the courage to challenge the powers that be and the innovative thinking needed to update democracy in New Zealand. That is why I am proud to represent it in the 2017 general election.”

It seems like a stunt using someone stuck in Russia to lead a party in this year’s New Zealand election campaign.

NZ Herald reports: Kim Dotcom’s Internet Party names exiled citizen journalist Suzie Dawson as leader

Kim Dotcom’s political venture, the Internet Party, has a new leader. But she may not be in New Zealand for the election – given she is living in self-imposed exile in Moscow.

That’s misleading. Dotcom created the party but is no longer involved – from Statement of solidarity (26 May 2017): “Early in 2017 Kim Dotcom tendered his resignation from the Executive Committee of Internet Party NZ, as publicly tweeted at the time. Likewise, he is not involved in the Campaign Committee for our 2017 campaign, or its operational decision-making. ”

Dawson claims she was severely harassed and her family threatened by the Government after reporting on the GCSB’s spying on New Zealanders, including Dotcom.

The 36-year-old, who has been involved in the Occupy New Zealand movement, has also been an outspoken supporter of Wikileaks and whistleblowers Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

In an exclusive interview with the Weekend Herald, she said it came as a “huge surprise” when asked in January to consider the leadership position during a general election year.

“I had never considered entering politics. But the more I examined the idea, the clearer the synergies were.”

She said her IT management experience, media skills, and “first-person insight into politics and activism” meant she had the qualifications required.

“What finally sealed the deal for me was listening to what Laila Harre said in her first speech as Internet Party leader. She said, ‘If me standing here inspires younger people, especially women, to back themselves and their beliefs, then that will be my reward’.”

Harre has backed right off her beliefs in the Internet Party – in December 2016 Long-time activist Laila Harre returns to the Labour Party. She is not standing as a candidate this election.

“Exile is not a choice and although I seldom talk about the price that I have paid it has been incredibly high and not just paid by me.”

I’ve seen quite a bit about it online. She has claimed a number of things about the reasons for her self imposed exile. here is a press release from her from 8 November 2016: New Zealand Journalist Seeks Temporary Asylum In Russia

Ms Dawson may be one of the 88 New Zealand citizens who was illegally spied on by New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) who effectively outsourced the spying to the National Security Agency (NSA), as proven by recent Edward Snowden disclosures published by TVNZ and The Intercept.

The targeting of Ms Dawson led to serious threats against and endangerment of her life and those of her children.

Ms Dawson says “Being directly targeted by agencies which are supposed to investigate terrorists, not journalists, has wreaked havoc upon myself and my family. It was made impossible for us to live safely in our home country. This has left me with no choice but to seek sanctuary and to appeal for assistance. I am grateful for the opportunity to apply for asylum and pray for a favourable outcome.”

Ms Dawson is in need of solidarity, international legal assistance and financial support. Well-wishers can donate or reach out through her website https://Suzi3D.com.

Her family requests privacy at this time. All media requests will be directed to the Family Spokesperson, Chris Yong, who can be contacted at media@Suzi3d.com

Chris Yong was an Internet Party candidate in 2014 and was placed at 5 on the Internet Mana party list. He still links himself to in his Twitter account profile.

The Internet Party website is virtually devoid of people’s names apart from “Authorised by Sarah Illingworth”. All contact details are generic. Illingworth is the contact on news items:

 Sarah Illingworth (Internet Party NZ Communications Director and Party Secretary)

Illingworth has her own website: https://sarahillingworth.com/

I am Communications Director for the Internet Party’s 2017 New Zealand general election campaign.

About

I’m a journalist, editor and communications consultant from Auckland, New Zealand (currently based in Manchester, UK).

So it appears that the Internet Party’s secretary and communications director is based in the UK, and the newly announced party leader is exiled in Russia.

Candidate eligibility  rules: The main grounds of disqualification for enrolment that could affect eligibility to be a candidate are

  • being a New Zealand citizen outside New Zealand who has not been in New Zealand within the last three years

It appears that Dawson has been in New Zealand within the last three years.

If anyone from the Internet Party could provide more details that would be helpful.