Will petitioners be spammed?

December 17th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Idiot/Savant blogs at No Right Turn:

Back when I was petitioning for the Keep Our Assets referendum, I discouraged people signing it from filling out the email address and phone number boxes because I did not trust the Labour Party (and specifically the Labour Party) not to abuse this information by using it for purposes other than the one it was collected for (“To keep up to date with the campaign”). 

I am not glad to have that suspicion confirmed.

To point out the obvious: this is a screaming violation of Privacy Principle 10, and possibly Privacy Principle 11 if you take the collecting agency as Roy Reid, the formal petitioner, rather than the parties who provided the footsoldiers. And it is grossly unethical. Quite apart from that, its also stupid, burning both potential supporters and their activist base (who may not be too keen on having their hard work perverted to violate people’s privacy).

As for what to do about it, firstly people have a right of access to information held about them by agencies – so if you gave the petition campaign your email address, you can always check with Labour to see if it has somehow migrated its way into their fundraising and supporter’s databases. And if the information is used, then I recommend lodging a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner. You should also publicise that complaint over social media (or, if you feel like it, by emailing a press release to Scoop – but social media is probably enough, because people like me will retweet it if we see it, and journalists will pick up an easy story like this). Political parties are (sensibly) afraid of bad publicity, and this is the best stick we have to enforce ethical behaviour on them. Sadly, it looks like we may have to use it.

Legally you will have no recourse as MPs are exempt from the definition of an agency under the Privacy Act, but you can publicly highlight any breaches.

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A petition to protect the Internet

July 12th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

A group of like minded individuals and groups have launched a petition calling on the New Zealand Government to vote against extending the regulatory authority of the International Telecommunications Union to the Internet.

The petition is here, and it takes less than a minute to sign.

Vote against the ITU having regulatory authority over the Internet Petition | GoPetition

The background to the petition is:

Right from inception, the Internet has had no central ruling authority. But this December, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is conducting a review of the international agreements governing telecommunications and aims to expand its regulatory authority to the Internet. 

Countries such as Russia which are advocating the ITU have regulatory authority over the Internet have advocated restrictions over the Internet “where it is used to interfere in the internal affairs of a state”. This represents a dramatic threat to the openness of the Internet, where countries could regulate content not just within their own borders, but over the entire Internet.

Geographically isolated nations such as New Zealand and other Pacific Island nations have a significant economic and social interest in an open and well functioning internet. Accordingly, such changes to the ITU may harm our social and economic well being more than other nations.

The ITU has been a closed organisation for nearly 150 years – they represent the antithesis of the Internet community’s open and inclusive approach. Civil society, private sector, technical experts, and Internet users will only have limited input in the process. This would be a significant departure from the open, participatory, multistakeholder model that has made the internet a successful driver of social and economic growth.

If you support the continuing evolution of the multistakeholder internet, you are invited to read and sign this statement of principles.

We are calling on the NZ Government to specifically:

We request the New Zealand Government to vote against any amendments to the International Telecommunications Regulations, to be considered at the World Conference on International telecommunications 2012 (WCIT-12) which would give the ITU regulatory authority over the Internet, as it is not a truly open and transparent multistakeholder institution, but ultimately a body controlled by Governments.

We also request the New Zealand Government to take a pro-active stance in advocating to other states the benefits of retaining the current open and transparent multi-stakeholder governance of the Internet and to invest in proactive representation and promotion of the Internet as a vital, global platform for access to information and communication, and an enabler of economic and social opportunity.

Again, feel free to sign and promote the petition within your networks. This is an important issue.

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The corruption would be if politicians decided charges

March 11th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Rob Stock in the SST reports:

Labour MP Phil Twyford has tabled a petition calling for an investigation into the decision not to proceed with charges against John Banks and Don Brash as directors of the Huljich KiwiSaver scheme.

Twyford won’t comment on the petition, which is the work of former Auckland mayoral candidate Penny Bright who is incensed that Banks, the minister for regulatory reform, escaped having to defend himself in court for signing a prospectus that contained false and misleading statements.

The petition now must be considered by the Commerce Select Committee, made up of nine MPs of which five are from the National Party. 

People may not be aware that there is no significance to what has happened. An MP who tables a petition does not mean they agree with ts intent. Almost all MPs will accept a petition.

The Office of the Clerk allocate the petition to a select committee. There is no vote about accepting it. It is automatic. I could do a petition asking for the House to declare war on Australia and liberate Tasmania by armed force, and it would end up with the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

The Commerce Select Committee does not need to respond to the petition, beyond reporting it to the House with no recommendations.

Now as to the substance:

The FMA said the Securities Commission “obtained the advice of respected counsel on this issue. That advice was then reviewed and confirmed by a Queen’s Counsel. The commission considered that advice and the results of its investigation carefully.

“It formed the view that there was insufficient evidence to show that either Dr Brash or Mr Banks would have known that the prospectus contained misleading information.”

What Bright is seeking to do is in my opinion a form of corruption in itself. She is asking for politicians to overturn the decision of an independent authority, and prosecute people because she does not like their politics. This is what you get in Zimbabwe, not New Zealand.

MPs should never be involved in deciding if charges should have been laid against anyone, let alone other politicians. The sole exception is of course the Attorney-General, but even then this is almost always delegated to the Solicitor-General.  And even then it is usually that the AG has to consent to a prosecution – not that the AG can determine that someone should be prosecuted, against the decision of the appropriate prosecuting authority.

So this petition will go nowhere, and that is a good thing.

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Bring the Sci-Fi channel to Sky

April 24th, 2008 at 6:53 am by David Farrar

Mauricio Freitas blogged yesterday that there is an online petition asking Sky (or TVNZ or TV3) to bring in the Sci-Fi channel.

I am signature No 541.

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