In February 2014 NetSafe made a written submission on the Harmful Digital Communications Bill to the New Zealand Parliament’s Justice and Electoral Select Committee.

The bill was drafted to implement the Government’s approach to addressing harmful digital communications. This approach was largely based on the findings of the Law Commission’s 2012 Ministerial Briefing paper, Harmful Digital Communications: The adequacy of the current sanctions and remedies.

By making this submission NetSafe continued its active participation in the bill’s development process. Through its work on behalf of New Zealand internet users NetSafe was able to bring the perspective of an organisation already immersed in the issues that the bill sought to address. The ideas that were central to NetSafe’s submission were:-

  • Emotional Harm caused by Harmful Digital Communication is real and its impact can be reduced
  • Any active internet user can become the target of Harmful Digital Communications
  • Harmful Digital Communications are a shared problem that require a shared solution involving government, industry, and NGOs
  • The Bill proposes a regulatory framework that is responsive to managing challenge in the digital era

In March 2014 NetSafe provided a supplementary material as part of its oral submission to the committee (part 1 and part 2).

The Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 was passed on 30 June 2015.