New Zealand government sneaks in anti-piracy law [Update]

With the recent large earthquake that hit Christchurch, New Zealand, the country has been in a "state of emergency" for a prolonged period of time. Part of the powers the government receives while in this state, is to rush legislation through government, without public consultation to help with whatever emergency is faced.

Today, it was uncovered that the New Zealand government is "rushing" a version of the legislation that was widely rejected last year, labelled "Section 92A." Under the bill, copyright owners could complain directly to ISP's about users "sharing files" and would be punished accordingly. For the first offence, the user would receive a written warning to destroy the data, and explaining what would happen if they were caught again. For a second offence, a user would be blocked from any internet access for 6 months. For a third and final offence, the user would be blacklisted from receiving internet in New Zealand again.

It appears that the government is taking advantage of the disaster to push through a version of the legislation that sees repeat offenders disconnected for six months at a time, Stuff.co.nz reports. Full information about the bill can be found here. If rushed through parliament, the law could be brought into effect very quickly, and would not have to go through the public consultation step that it failed on last year.

The government is definately trying to sneak this one through, with Green MP Gareth Hughes stating that ''It really surprised [him] because we haven't debated it since November," and that he opposed to any restriction of access to the web.

Update: The New Zealand government has pushed through the bill, with those voting for the bill with 111 vs 11 votes. Twitter has exploded with outrage, under the hashtag #blackout - a term used back in 2009 when the controversial law was attempted for the first time. Questions surrounding the government's understanding of the bill remain, with one MP comparing the internet and piracy to "skynet."

The bill passed within 24 hours, with parliament adjourning last night at midnight until 9am this morning, where it was voted on and accepted by 9:10am. Nick Smith, MP for Nelson, NZ, confirmed that email was included in the definition of file sharing but you cannot control who you download email from, so breaking this law is as easy as receiving an email with mp3 attachments.

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