I just made a submission to the Select Committee reviewing the Copyright Amendment Bill. You can too.
Here it is:
The bill is much improved from previous versions, and I thank the committee for that.
Like the other co-founders of Pacific Fibre I was driven to start the project by a sense of frustration at the digital divide between New Zealand and the rest of the world. I believe we will be left behind until we live in a country where high speed uncapped data, wireless or wired, is a fact of life, where internet access is pervasive and all of our devices are connected continuously. We seek to help NZ get to this vision. It is therefore frustrating to see a bill that drives us in the other direction.
(I write for myself not for Pacific Fibre in this submission)
I wish to object to the concept of disconnection being a reasonable penalty.
Internet access is increasingly a basic utility for everyone. The internet generation grew up knowing that is is always there, and even I, over 40, cannot function in society or work without it.
I use my home internet connection almost constantly for work and leisure, including for delivery of media such as television and movies.
I spend more time using internet telephony and video services than I do my cell phone, and have not connected a home telephone for years.
While it can be difficult to keep up with the latest social networking craze, it is important that everyone has access to these sites so that they can remain a part of their society. This is particularly true for younger people, who are those most likely to be affected by disconnection.
In short disconnection removes the right to work, to communicate with friends, to participate in society and even to make online submissions. It is also ineffective as a deterrent for the biggest offenders, who will use relatively simple methods to disguise their behaviour.
At worst disconnection may even bring a risk of accidental death – perhaps someone in trouble who has no other means of communicating, or someone who requires urgent access to medical information, or simply an alarm system that fails to operate.
I do believe that we should have a very tough penalty for the worst offenders – and if removal from society is to be that penalty, then let us use prisons for doing so. The punishment should relate to the crime.
Many thanks for the opportunity to submit on this bill. I would welcome the opportunity to appear before the committee.