The Law Commission of New Zealand had proposed the introduction of new laws to regulate the digital environment after conducting a 12 month review into media.
Professor John Burrows, the commissioner leading the review spoke on Radio New Zealand of the need for a new offence of “maliciously impersonating another person“. The recommendation followed an enquiry which recognised that there was a lack of a legal remedy for such activities in New Zealand unless the impersonation constitutes an element of fraud.
It was also recommended that it be made an offence “in some circumstances” to publish intimate photographs of another person, even when they were taken with the subject’s
consent. Incitement to commit suicide is another offence which will be introduced as a response to evidence that some recent suicides are traceable to Facebook pages.
Whereas the law states that it is an offence to incite suicide only where a person either commits or attempts suicide, the Commissioner expressed a desire to make incitement alone an offence.
The Law Commission reviewed a number of cases in conducting their review of the adequacy of existing laws in new media, prior to releasing their recommendations contained in a discussion paper today.
The Discussion Paper deals with other issues in the regulation of media and will be made available to the New Zealand public until March 12 for the purposes of making submissions to the Law Commission prior to the preparation of a report for the Government.