Local News

Cyber bullies will now face jail time in New Zealand

Will hold those “causing harm by posting digital communication” accountable.

By Emily Brooks
Ex-boyfriends posting nude pictures of their ex-girlfriends will soon face jail time in New Zealand, as the country last week passed a bill making cyber bullying a crime.
The Harmful Digital Communications Bill will reportedly come into play on Monday and will hold those “causing harm by posting digital communication” accountable.
Individual offenders may be fined just over (NZ) $50,000 and jailed for up to two years depending on the severity of the crime, and businesses can be fined up to (NZ) $200,000.
Harmful communication is classified as “threatening, intimidating or menacing” according to the bill and an agency appointed by the New Zealand Governor General will assess and investigate complaints.
The government appointed agency will work with social media and online companies - like Google, Facebook and Twitter - to effectively monitor cyber bullying.
Nude or semi-nude images and “intimate visual recordings” posted without consent are also classified as criminal offences in the bill.
Some critics claim the contents of the bill are too broad and could impinge on free speech, but the bill passed in New Zealand parliament with an overwhelming majority of 116-5.
New Zealand joins Northern Ireland and Scotland who have implemented similar legislation.

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