Kiwiblog and the Harmful Digital Communications Act

I have updated ’s complaints policy to take accounts of the Hamrful Digital Communications Act 2015. The policy is here.

The new section is below:

Harmful Digital Communications

If you believe a comment or post on Kiwiblog is harmful to you as defined by the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015, please e-mail complaints@kiwiblog.co.nz. You may also text the editor on 021 940 045 to alert me to the complaint, but the complaint must be submitted via e-mail and include the information detailed below.

If the material is in a post written by the editor, then I will consider the complaint and amend or remove the material if I agree it is harmful. If you do not agree with my decision, then from 2017 you will be able to complain to the Approved Agency and/or the District Court.

If the material is in a post written by another author (such as a guest poster or a commenter) then Kiwiblog is an online content host under the HDCA, and safe harbour provisions will apply.

Kiwiblog will refer your complaint within 48 hours to the actual author and notify them that a request has been made for the material to be removed or amended.

The author has a maximum of 48 hours to respond to the complaint. They can do so in three ways:

  1. Not respond at all – which will lead to the material being complained about being removed or amended
  2. Agree to have the material removed or amended, which will will be done by the Kiwiblog Editor
  3. Not consent to having the material being removed or amended, in which case it will remain online unless a takedown order from the court is issued.

In all cases I can decide to remove or amend comments, regardless of the above procedure, if I believe it is in breach of Kiwiblog policies. These HDCA provisions are in addition to existing policies.

The safe harbour provision means that Kiwiblog does not have liability under the HDCA for material authored by others, so long as I follow the procedure summarised below. So any disputes are between the complainant and the author – Kiwiblog is merely the online content host.

The details of notices and counter-notices are in s24 of the HDCA, specifically:

(3) A notice of complaint must—

(a) state the complainant’s name and a telephone number, a physical address, and an email address for the complainant; and
(b) state the specific content, and explain why the complainant considers that the specific content—
(i) is unlawful; or
(ii) breaches 1 or more communication principles and has caused harm; and
(c) sufficiently enable the specific content to be readily located; and
(d) state whether the complainant consents to personal information that identifies the complainant being released to the author; and
(e) contain any other information that the complainant considers relevant.

(4) A counter-notice must state—

(a) the author’s name and a telephone phone number, a physical address, and an email address for the author; and
(b) whether the author consents to personal information that identifies the author being released to the complainant; and
(c) whether the author consents to the removal of the specific content.

The details of both complainant and author will remain confidential, unless permission is explicitly given to share your details, or ordered to by a court.

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