March 19, 2020

Regulating Tech in 2020 Series | Preventing Violent Extremist Content Online

Just to recap, in this series we’ll be giving you a run-down of some big items on the tech regulation agenda in Aotearoa this year, including:

  1. “Modernising” the Privacy Act
  1. New Zealand’s ‘Consumer Data Right’?  
  1. Preventing Violent Extremist Content Online  
  1. Classifying Content on “Video On-Demand” Services
  1. Big Changes Ahead for Copyright Law  
  1. Unfair Contract Terms in B2B Contracts  

In this article we focus on Preventing Violent Extremist Content Online

Following the Christchurch Mosque attacks, concerns were raised about the piecemeal approach to taking down live-streamed video of the attacks and a lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities between the various government agencies and other key players such as internet service providers. In response, and with its Christchurch Call commitments clearly in mind, the Government will soon introduce legislation to:

  • make it illegal to livestream objectionable content (at this stage, online content hosts who provide the streaming platform will not be captured by this offence);
  • provide the Government with the ability to issue takedown notices to online content hosts;
  • enable the Government to punish online hosts who refuse to comply with a takedown notice ‘as soon as reasonably practicable’ with fines of up to NZ$200,000 (though the current approach of requesting a voluntary removal in the first instance would continue);
  • ensure that the ‘safe harbour’ provisions under the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 do not apply to ‘objectionable’ online content; and
  • enable the Government to establish a mandatory or voluntary internet filter regime to block objectionable content if required in the future.  

Meanwhile, the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has recently announced that it may begin regulating auto-play videos and social media livestreaming. In a letter to broadcasters in November, the BSA described a preliminary new approach to content transmitted via the internet and suggested that linear or livestreamed content on social media sites might be considered broadcasting where the website had editorial control or control to take the video down. The BSA is also intending to  develop  an internet broadcasting code – with work on this already commencing.

Fines for failure to comply


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