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ISPs in AU and NZ start censoring the internet without legal precedent (privateinternetaccess.com)
202 points by Melchizedek 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 283 comments

The problem with censoring and banning the information outright (in the case of NZ) is that it gives power to the manifesto. So much of what Jacinda Ardern said after the shooting was about denying the person a platform:

"We, in New Zealand, will give him nothing. Not even his name."

"He sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety, and that is why you will never hear me mention his name."

And yet by the ISPs banning sites and with the New Zealand government classifying the manifesto as objectionable, they've done just that. They've told the people that the manifesto and the video are notorious by their decisions around it. They've put it on a pedestal and said, "this here holds power, and we should be scared of those who consume it".

No they haven't.

What they're doing is preventing the spread of radicalization to vulnerable demographics. They're breaking up the ability of alt-right groups to try and rally around it.

You don't get to shoot a bunch of people and have your manifesto spread far and wide. You get forgotten. And your manifesto gets banned. Because who cares what you had to say - it's irrelevant.

As to the video: go extract release forms from the families of the victims in it if you want to see to see it. See if they're okay with the last terrified moments of their loved ones being distributed as and broadcast worldwide, and the government okaying the sharing of that. It would be illegal to go to a hospital and film people dying in bed without permission - and it would exact significant criminal and financial penalties if you did so. This is worse.

> You get forgotten

That's the thing though - as long as something is banned, it doesn't stay forgotten. We see Tiananmen Square pop up all the time not because of its major historical significance, but because of the attempts by certain governments to censor it.

There are better ways to forget something collectively as a culture. Right now if you google "New Zealand shooting", half of the articles are about the banning of the information. The banning itself gave it more attention, and realistically it wont stop those who want to find it from finding it.

What I'd rather have seen was NZ focusing on the victims and the families. Drown out the manifesto with positivity. Focus the news cycle on the communities that have been affected; show them coming together and embracing each other. Make what is remembered not the shooter or their manifesto, but how the community responded.

> That's the thing though - as long as something is banned, it doesn't stay forgotten.

Pretty much this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

Also, govt (democratic ones, esp) are notorious for being short-sighted and taking populist measures, so no surprises here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread_and_circuses

Imo, what the govt should considering doing (if they haven't already):

1. Weed out rouge elements (sadly, extensive surveillance is one way to achieve this, another would be with help of citizen-journalists/investigators) within the state, and secure immigration points

2. A focused task force to address internal threats and give them a degree of autonomy.

3. A memorial to immortalize the victims.

4. Govt mandated security at places of congregation of all sizes (malls, stations, places of worship, parks).

Edit: /s

In fact, exactly NZ gov't should have continued doing things as usual. This tragedy, while having huge media-multiplied emotional response, is (from POV of rational security) is an absolute outlier. An average Kiwi has probably bigger chance to choke on beefsteak than to be killed by a political weirdo. Few politicians however are able to resist a temptation to pose as a "decisive leader" and play a security theater.

So basically to protect freedom we need to create a police state with permanent security everywhere and live in constant fear.

Is /r/TopMindsOfHN a thing yet?

Sorry. I guess the sarcasm was too dry to be obvious?

I listed down things that other nation states (NSA? Abu Gharib/Patriot Act? Wall along the Radcliffe Line?) have done in the past in response to persistent danger. And are guilty of taking populist measures at a great expense, sometimes.

There's always been such knee-jerk reaction from nation states, that then resort to drastic initiatives partly because they do not understand technologies involved (Secure Golden Key?), or they aren't held accountable as often and get away with a lot (WMDs?).

Here's Bruce Schneier on the topic https://youtu.be/GkJCI3_jbtg

No, because that sub is pure snark and nothing like it belongs here.

> Be civil. Don't say things you wouldn't say face-to-face. Don't be snarky. Comments should get more civil and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive.


Rouge is french for red and is usually used to describe makeup.

I disagree. I’d rather it was banned and this shit gets squashed. Yeah it’s still available and people can try seek it out, but they have to seek it out. No one on Facebook will be sharing it on their wall, etc.

And this isn’t a one or the other thing, NZ has banned that crap and rallied around the families. A huge amount of money has been raise of which the total is still rising. The whole country stopped on Friday for a national call to prayer followed by 2 minutes silence.

Other countries might be making a big deal about the banning but it’s not the key headline here.

NZ is in a state of collective shock, and, at the moment, apparently a very cool head, and bravery (understanding that you will get massive social pressure, and lots of ugly accusations) needed to stand against censorship. By no means it's a normal situation for a political debare.

> We see Tiananmen Square pop up all the time not because of its major historical significance, but because of the attempts by certain governments to censor it.

My understanding is most young Chinese know nothing about Tiananmen Square because the Chinese government has in fact been very successful in censoring it within their borders.

NZ may have quite a ways to go until their internet censorship regime is as effective as China’s great firewall though.

This is a step down that path.

I haven't read the manifesto and I have no desire to, but I still fear a government that would imprison me for reading it more than I fear terrorists. Terrorists are rare; such a government is an ever present threat.

> Because who cares what you had to say - it's irrelevant.

I do care about what everyone has to say. I'm interested to access any real footage of the reality to cross-check what we are told, and make my own opinion.

If people are expecting to stop violence by censoring information, they might first look at banning firearms...

It’s the digital age, banning something isn’t the same as it was 100 years ago. A ban won’t remove something from the internet but it will stop people freely sharing that crap around.

No, it won't.

There is a non trivial portion of the population that will resist informational control attempts at all costs.

Information is power, and it isn't always pleasant. The greatest failing of our time is the power we've built up to engage in institutional perception management.

To deal with this sort of radicalization, hiding it in the dark is the single worst thing you can do. You end up lending it moral credibility through the Streisand effect, and amplify the "unjustness" in that person's manifesto from whatever craziness it was, and add on top of it "Oh, wow. The government is willing to black hole you as a citizen."

I appreciate the logic behind contagion theory, but I reject the conclusion it leads to. Memes, like viruses can only be countered through a sufficient and omnipresent enough psycho-societal immune response. That means everyone needs exposure, everyone needs to process it, and if there are quote "vulnerable" populations, it's up to their immediate social circles to take care of business in terms of either A) rehabilitating them, or as a last resort B) informing authorities before anyone gets hurt.

The hardware/software for institutional perception management has no place in a civilized society. The policies that encourage it should be met with outrage and scorn.

You lift up your society when you can hold up the deeds of it's worst members and state "They chose this. They felt X way. How they lived led them and those around them to a grisly end. We will continue. We will thrive. We will not break. We will learn. We will care, and we will adapt."

We live in a time filled with radicalism and distrust; the only way to get past it is to air it all from the rooftops, and rely on each other to come to terms with it's impact, and be able to discuss what it means while building a common worldview in the process.

Change only happens when we can admit there is a problem. Covering our eyes doesn't do that. I understand a lot of people feel that by breaking such a taboo as resorting to violence should be treated with immediate erasure from the public eye, but the having to resort to violence is a message in and of itself, and will be a constant threat in a free society. Note that the free society should always be more important than the absence of threat, because safety only truly exists on the good will of a free people.

Vigilance is justified. Denial and petty acts of revenge are not.

>psycho-societal immune response

I like this term, I think it conceptualizes some of my looser thoughts about how we ought to respond to influences in life.

The thought process I see acted out by our institutions often looks like this: Declaring Foo is a bad influence that causes Bar, therefore we should engage in social engineering and propaganda against foo and/or bar.

Forget that the causal relationship between foo and bar can be tenuous, or that bar's badness is often motivated reasoning. The entire process just leaves people worse off to navigate the influences in their life.

Sorta related anecdote: When I was a child we had an anti-drug program at school. They taught us some of the ways "bad guys" would pressure us into doing drugs or drinking. I wasn't the only one to notice it was the exact same way parents, teachers and the media tell us to do the "good" things. ..... That put a resentful streak in my life that still exists to this day.

Why you believe you should stop other people from sharing something?

that last paragraph is something I've naively never given much thought and you're right.

The rise of facist groups has really made me realize how disproportionate 'free speech' can be.

The first example that comes to mind is police presence at protests against them. If 100 of them show up and 1000 counter protestors show up then the onus is on the police to protect their protest.

The minorities targeted by these hate groups are at a disadvantage in so many ways, they are more likely targets of the police, they are more likely to already have convictions so the risks are higher in the legal system. They are much more likely to be killed by the police.

free speech is not necessarily a level playing field and these groups are both aware and weaponize that.

The manifesto includes direct calls to violence. So promoting and spreading the manifesto in that way should be a crime. However, reading and sharing the material for informing ones self should be seen as right that one has - especially since it is being used as justification to take rights and freedoms away.

Any radical voice that made the news, in any light, has gotten a larger following. Every single time a moderate brings a radical to debate it is a net gain for the radical.

You can measure this by simply plotting the number of various social media followings such voices have, and plotting them against time and marking notable appearances.

If someone is so radical they reject all authority, whether it's political or scientific or religious, and they can justify any conspiracy that fits their world view, then they have constructed an immunity to information.

Whatever evidence you give, no matter how hot your take is, no matter what your message or framing is, hosting such voices on your platform becomes an enabler.

I'm not for expanded censorship of ideology or debate. I'm for better prosecution of incitement of violence. This should also include spreading of false information designed to create a false sense of distress and push people to violence.

Whether you think this applies to the alt-right, ISIS, or antifa doesn't matter. What's important is combating the rampant incitement of violence that social media is enabling.

> You can measure this by simply plotting the number of various social media followings such voices have, and plotting them against time and marking notable appearances.

Is there any scientific public study available to support your claim ? Plotting followers over time and correlating by media appearance time isn't doable for most citizen. Do you have any proof, source, concrete results to share with everyone ?

It's just my anecdotal observation, but I offered a possible way to measure it. It would make for an interesting report.

I didn't want to define what a radical is, or what the new incitement of violence which includes indirect incitement would be. I wanted to focus on my point that this is about interpretation of an existing law that forbid certain speech, and not about imposing new restrictions on constitutional rights.

Personally, I think it's not right that we differentiate between "Go kill them" and "They're coming to kill us. Keep your guns close. Protect your family. They are doing horrible things. War is imminent. Something will happen soon. We're in danger. You and your family will be killed."

The second example is just as much an incitement of violence as the first. But it is not only legal, it is widely practiced.

This is "won't someone rid me of this turbulent priest?" on a massive scale.

> I'm for better prosecution of incitement of violence. This should also include spreading of false information designed to create a false sense of distress and push people to violence.

I think this is the only option that ticks all the boxes for the solution I've been trying to find in my head.

"This is the result of a massacre, stoked by people like you and the words you put out [...] 49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there."

Those are the words that were used to accuse Chelsea Clinton of being responsible for the attack - which means according to those who confronted Chelsea Clinton she would meet the standard you have just set.

Do you see the problem?

We don't have to wait for the massacres and wait for the accusations. Inciting rhetoric can be defined. "Go kill them" is already illegal rhetoric. Why isn't "Get your guns and be ready. Something is happening. We are at war. They're coming to kill us."

Violence, other than in direct physical self defense, should be the exclusive domain of the state.

That second example isn't "inciting violence", that's self defence!

This should be obvious but how does your law work in a situation where, in fact, there is a war and there are people coming to kill us. Or are you naively believing that we live in some sort of utopian post-conflict era, in which self defence against armed groups will never be necessary?

The difference between mob justice and lawful justice is government. Declaration of war is the exclusive right of the government. How can random citizens declaring war be any less than incitement of violence?

Self defense is legally defined. It's not about a general fear of future outcomes. It's about preventing immediate physical harm. If you're urgently telling people to defend themselves from someone not even in the room, and is actually just a description of a group of people, then that's not self defense in any meaningful way. That's also incitement of violence.

In a democracy, random citizens can take over the government by winning elections. So where do you draw the line - if someone were to perceive an external threat where others were unwilling to speak up, and campaigned for election on that basis, would they get locked up? You'd make it so a government that was insufficiently prioritising self defence couldn't self correct.

This isn't a theoretical concern. Winston Churchill is an example of a politician who was warning of the dangers of Nazi Germany much earlier than other people were, he was nearly alone in the beginning at a time when other politicians were trying to make peace with Hitler or were openly unconcerned. Your proposal could easily have criminalised Churchill at the time when Britain needed him most.

An interesting point and well made.

However, I think there is a distinction between war as a political platform, and incitement of violence. Even when Churchill campaigned for war, he campaigned for the United Kingdom to wage war. He was calling for something that is legal.

The people who inspire the terrorists are not just campaigning for lawful war. They are inciting the masses to commit violence against civilians.

We should be able to differentiate Churchill and Bin Laden.

When it comes down to it, there will always be a situation in which a law makes the right thing illegal. Drunk driving a dying person to the hospital in an emergency is illegal but it's not always wrong. I think laws should aim to maximize benefit and minimize harm rather than stay ideologically pure.

In that light I think in this day and age, it's much more important to disable the ISISs, the KKKs, and other inciters, than it is to enable the Churchills. It's a value judgment here, but how many Churchills are we expecting in the next 100 years? Because terrorists are here right now.

Any radical voice that made the news, in any light, has gotten a larger following. Every single time a moderate brings a radical to debate it is a net gain for the radical.

You literally don't believe in democracy. Not that you are obliged to, but it's interesting if you realize it?

Should we ban religious texts then too?

Preventing radicalization is a presumption without supporting evidence.

The New Zealand authorities have essentially made it illegal to disagree that that the video and manifesto is valid justification for taking away rights and freedoms because informed disagreement would require to view the content which is punishable with a sentence up to 14 years. Do you really not see the problem here?

If the video and manifesto is used as justification to take rights a privileges away from the citizens of New Zealand then its only reasonable that the citizens have the right to scrutinize their governments actions by viewing and sharing video and manifesto. Accountability is still necessary regardless how unpleasant it may be.

How do you apply what you’ve said to something like child porn. I think we can agree that we don’t need to see Subway Jared’s collection ourselves but we’re totally happy for the government to lock him up.

Good question. Child porn is illegal regardless if the content is made by force or with actors. Someone making a cp video with actors and passing it off as real would be immaterial.

I think one of the core reasons they don't want people to read it is that in the aftermath they're doing everything he wanted and more.

Some of the things his manifesto says he wanted, like stricter gun control, are indeed happening. Others, like a cycle of revenge attacks, are not, at least not yet.

Of course it would be unwise to believe that he told the truth about his aims in his manifesto. Even if we could figure out what he really wanted, figuring that out and then doing the opposite would not be a rational way to respond to an incident like this.

He wanted a the political left and right to fight over gun control. He didn't get that, at least not in NZ.

> Others, like a cycle of revenge attacks, are not, at least not yet.

This is why censorship is so dangerous. I immediately thought of 3 attacks following NZ that could be interpreted as reprisals. I was completely unsurprised to see that no further details have been released in the week between then and now. We only know that the perpetrators were migrants from troubled parts of the world, and were already known to authorities - having developed criminal records since their arrival. A priest was stabbed in Canada, 3 people were killed in the Netherlands (3 more wounded), a bus in Italy with 52 children onboard was set ablaze. The spokesman for ISIS called for attacks after several months of radio silence, Erdoğan has been stirring his people up (which has historically resulted in violence).

Were you unaware of these events, or do you consider them normal? If you were unaware of them, do you think that is a result of selective reporting? I can tell you that absolutely no in depth reporting has occurred - no effort beyond that of news wire copy-paste.

I read another powerful comment somewhere, to paraphrase:

Who cares what he wanted, what his manifesto said. He isn't some wise person we look up to, he isn't a fortune teller. He's a sick person with a twisted view on our world. He doesn't get to say what our future looks like.

Well he does now because the NZ government is carrying it out....

So pointing out hes a lunatic only highlights the insanity of the NZ government.

NZ's reaction seems pretty reasonable to me. They just had 50+ people brutally murdered. Their political and business leaders seem to be focused on preventing it from happening again.

If you want to criticize their response I think you need to show how your proposal would prevent further radicalism. The people involved in the white power movement are dangerous if enough of them get together. That's essentially what happened in Germany in the 1920s.

This white supremacist, terrorist massacre in NZ was livestreamed, I'm not aware of that ever happening before. What to do with this footage is in some sense uncharted territory.

The video is a graphic video of a massacre and simultaneously propaganda produced by the perpetrator of that massacre. It is a peculiar idea that we as a society cannot legitimately decide that this footage is objectionable in the same way child porn is objectionable, and make it illegal to share it. It is not simply a deeply disturbing act being shown, it also shares with child pornography the property that the footage that could not have been produced without devastating harm to the people involved.

The manifesto I feel less strongly about; I read it myself but would never watch the video.

> the same way child porn is objectionable

I agree with you, but a disturbing number of people on HN think that images of child sexual abuse should not be illegal.

It's weird that this got downvoted, because in every thread about images of child sexual abuse there's always one or two people, and usually different accounts, saying exactly this. They'll claim that it's ridiculous to outlaw a series of bits, or that the abuse has already happened and so how can these children still be affected by the images. A bunch of arguments are very similar (perhaps unknowingly so) to arguments made by organisations like NAMBLA.

It's easy to find these comments:



This whole thread is fucked up: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5825087

A bunch of comments in this thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4495914#4497226


There are literally hundreds of comments on HN from a range of accounts defending the posession of images of child sexual abuse.

Actual w t f reading those.

Wonder if any of the people commenting there have kids of their own.

No system is perfect but fuck me, you’re taking it to the extreme when you’re essentially defending child porn...

> No system is perfect but fuck me, you’re taking it to the extreme when you’re essentially defending child porn...

It depends on what you consider extreme I guess. I am a parent. In the past 10 years, 1470 Queensland parents saw their children prosecuted as paedophiles [0]. The kids were sexting each other of course.

To me that's beyond extreme, it borders on insanity. That may be because I come from a time when sharing a picture with your mates of your naked mud covered daughter being hosed off by her mother was considered perfectly fine. Now that same picture gets people looking at you suspiciously. The current moral panic about pedo's and pictures makes me wonder if one of the most iconic pictures of my time [1] could be published today.

Then there is the case of the fellow gets a criminal record for possessing Simpson cartoons [2]. OK, I get they weren't tasteful cartons - but a criminal record prevents you from doing all sorts of things, such as taking overseas holiday or working as a public servant. I know there weren't tasteful because I've had people email those cartoons (they are jokes which some found funny). The idea of me being banned from travelling to most overseas countries because they were in my Inbox was no laughing matter.

I have not heard anybody say anything in support of child porn, which would be my definition of defending it. I'm not sure what your definition is, which again makes me nervous - in fact I would be very nervous if I still had kids at the sexting age. What I have head a lot of people say is "hang on, you are criminalising the possession of images here, and that seems like a dangerous road do go down". And with the benefit of hindsight, they were right.

I get some delight in watching people twist themselves into knots to justify their positions, and as it happens my favourite example was child porn. There was a time when a prime minister ask his communications minister to implement a internet censorship filter to protect us Australians from the bad stuff out there. They characterised it as only preventing the worst of the worst. They were both practising Christians, and their undoing was "the worst of the worst" included things like the _Peace Pill Handbook_ (which deals with assisted suicide), so they had grey armies preparing for the filter by inviting hackers to their old people homes to instruct them on how to by-pass the filter. But that didn't come out until later. At first the example of the worst of the worst always trotted out by the Minster was child porn - something nobody could disagree should be blocked. But at the very end the Federal Police let slip child porn would not in fact be blocked by the filter, at least not a first. It was far too useful in tracking the people abusing the kids. So the Federal Police managed to convince a pair of Christian politicians on a censorship mission that letting little child porn float around the internet was actually a good idea. The irony was absolutely delicious.

[0] https://www.abc.net.au/news/8511174 [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phan_Thi_Kim_Phuc#/media/File:... [2] https://www.abc.net.au/news/233562

> I have not heard anybody say anything in support of child porn, which would be my definition of defending it.

Read the linked threads. There are people literally defending the possession of large quantities of images of child sexual abuse.

I'm being really careful with my language here: these are not people defending a single innocent image of your naked child playing in the bath. These are people defending possession of thousands of images of children being raped.

Perhaps if people actually presented convincing and consistent counter arguments to those you wouldn't see them as often.

Ok, think how many people died in sectarian violence. Religious text should have been banned years ago, right?

Considering all of the major platforms ban ISIS groups from recruiting, sharing information etc, I would say yes. What exactly makes this manifesto any different? Do you believe those groups have an innate right to recruit?

We can differentiate between how religions and the groups within behave in practice, which is why we can ban some terrorist groups using religion while not banning all religious groups.

The basis of white supremacy consists of violence and terror. Yet for some reason we consider propaganda spread by them to be covered under free speech.

We can differentiate between how religions and the groups within behave in practice, which is why we can ban some terrorist groups using religion while not banning all religious groups


Can you really define an utterly objective definition of hateful manifesto that captures what you want but does not also capture the Koran, or for that matter, the Old Testament?

I would be extremely surprised if so. Those books have a lot of nasty stuff in them. Moreover if you go look at newspaper comments sections reporting on the NZ attacks, a disturbingly high number of people have concluded that Islam is not a religion of peace and that the Koran does in fact radicalise people (helped along by radical preachers). They can point to many terrorist attacks as evidence.

There probably isn't any standard of censorship or free speech that isn't twisted in self contradiction of the form "any violent text which leads to terrorism which is sufficiently popular is ok".

What's interesting is that it really hasn't lent any power or mysticism to either the words, actions, or being of the perpetrator. Nobody's talking about them, their ideals, their actions. All focus is on the victims.

It's been far more effective, and without any apparent downsides, than I expected.

it actually seems pretty effective. i don't know his name. i'm sure i've come across it once or twice in reports on the event, but not enough times for it to actually stick.

I was thinking about I can’t remember his name earlier. I think that is a fantastic outcome.

The NZ government did not censor the manifesto. The Chief Censor is independent from government. Likewise, they don't control the ISPs.

The government of New Zealand’s entire response to the shooting incident, as well as the public’s cheering for it, is the most disturbing Orwellian thing I’ve ever seen. The level of authoritarian curbing of freedoms that has seemingly happened overnight at the stroke of a pen should seriously concern anyone who values constitutionally limited government. I’m all for the debate, but as an American it’s unimaginable to see such reactionary, arbitrary, far sweeping action taken by a supposed free country with almost no discussion or legal process.

> the most disturbing Orwellian thing I’ve ever seen. The level of authoritarian curbing of freedoms that has seemingly happened overnight at the stroke of a pen should seriously concern anyone who values constitutionally limited government.

Woah hold the hyperbole. I want to give you the benefit of the doubt.

What actions specifically are you even referring to? The change in gun laws? Australia banned semi-automatics. It’s survived. Pretty sure New Zealand will be okay without them too.

This post is about the ISPs banning sites, not something that the government of either country directed. (As the post makes clear Australia’s largest telco is also banning these sites.)

> I’m all for the debate, but as an American it’s unimaginable to see such reactionary, arbitrary, far sweeping action taken by a supposed free country with almost no discussion or legal process.

What was far sweeping and done with no discussion or legal process? You pretend like there isn’t a parliament with elected members, a far more representative and democratic parliament that any US government due to the use of proportional representation. This parliament is the legislative branch and can, well enact legislation, which is doing to ban semi automatic weapons based on the results of previous government enquiries into the matter that weren’t acted on.

(Talk about throwing stones here, seemingly nobody remembers 9/11 and the Patriot Act, and mass spying on Americans, and trillions spent on false wars that followed.)

A civil debate about the actions of these ISPs and the ability of private companies operating as utilities to censor or throttle or otherwise mess with neutrality of the utility they provide is very much warranted, but you’re not doing that here.

The ISPs aren't banning sites for kicks. New Zealanders have been arrested for distributing the video.

Note the bans on some of those NZ ISPs started before the video was classified as objectionable. So they’re not banning them to prevent their customers from facing charges. They’re doing it for other poorly explained reasons that aren’t legally required.

Under NZ law the snuff film was 'objectionable' from the moment it was created, the censor's job is essentially to just confirm that - the ISPs are not only stopping the film from being passed around by snuff fetishists but also protecting their own arses from potential legal issues if any of their customers access the illegal content

Great, please show me the act of parliament done in the light of day that made this illegal? The video SHOULD NOT BE WATCHED. It stand for everything I as a human abhor. However it is slippy slope, that leads to no good end.

Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993


Admittedly, the Chief Censor only published his decision on tuesday, so everything the ISPs were doing before then, they did on their own.

I don't know what you mean by "act of parliament". This video should most definitely be watched in order to understand this event in full. No description of what happened can impart upon you the brutality of watching him go back in to double tap the victims. There is a severe lack of understanding of the impact of our actions when we choose to censor events like this.

People lost their lives terribly, that much can be understood without watching it. What more do you really gain by watching the video? Do you have some morbid curiosity that you need to satisfy? Do you think we should disregard the feelings of the survivors or those who lost someone close? How do you think they feel about the video being shared? How would you? Do you think they deserve respect and solidarity? If so, how does sharing the video contribute to that?

If someone wants to watch it, regardless of the intent, they should be allowed to. Disrespect should not be illegal. That's silly.

That's not even an argument. So people should be allowed to watch child porn?

Plenty of parallels between the two. People are hurt in the filming of both. It's damaging to the survivors. It feeds into the fetishes of those who would watch such a thing (it's a snuff film). In the case of this film I could argue that potential perpetrators could study the film for their own plans.

In a forum discussion on the shooting, I found a link. I clicked the link, realized it's the right video from descriptions and asked myself 'WTF am I doing? If I keep watching, that's going to have consequences for life and stopped.'.

Should I also watch rape videos? Videos of kids being molested? Animal abuse? Just so I understand those events ‘in full’? That’s absurd to me.

Should the events be discussed? Absolutely. But I don’t have to watch these things to understand how abhorrent they are.

I don't want people to see X doesn't constitute X SHOULD NOT BE WATCHED no matter how loud you scream.

With respect to their semi-auto ban, I think the most questionable part of it was where the executive unilaterally banned them via Order in Council, so as to not wait for the legislative process (which is still ongoing). I'm frankly amazed that any modern democracy grants its executive an authority to outright promulgate binding legislation like that.

They didn't ban them they changed the license requirements to own them, something that they can do legally by regulation under the current law

The ban will be done in parliament over then next week or so, looks like 95%+ of the currently elected MPs will vote for the change, all major parties in parliament, left and right, have publicly said that they agree with the changes.

Remember that less than one person in 15 in NZ has a gun license, and even fewer own semi-automatics, it's a small minority affected by this change, it's not all that controversial (in NZ)

Free speech doesn’t mean the right to insult or spread unlawful things online. Whilst I do find it concerning that the ISPs are self-censoring, blocking access to a video of an act that contradicts all of our democratic rights (freedom of movement, freedom of religion, freedom of thought) can hardly offend anyone.

Free speech is the right to express an opinion without being penalised. Left wing and right wing lunatics are free to distribute their wicked thoughts online, just as the US gun lobby and alt-right fanatics are free to publish whatever they like on the fifth amendment. Fine with me. It doesn’t hurt or ‘harm’ anyone.

A video of a fascist wacko shooting 50 people down is not freedom of speech. It’s illegal and sick.

Don’t confuse the two.

> Free speech doesn’t mean the right to insult

Actually it does. Even hate speech is free speech in the US.

> or spread unlawful things online

That's not a free speech violation then. The video in question is not classified, doesn't break any laws, it just depicts a horrible act. Should we make all war documentaries illegal too?

> Free speech is the right to express an opinion without being penalised

So you just contradicted your first point. If I, for example, say "you're an idiot", it's an opinion, it's protected speech (in the US at least).

AU doesn't have free speech except political speech, and has been making some Orwellian moves.


NZ has the Bill of Rights of 1990 that states:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form."

So it seems that any censorship would directly contradict that.

You can have your views about what constitutes free speech, but the fact that US constitution is interpreted as considering hate speech to be free speech is irrelevant to your response to OP, as NZ is not under the jurisdiction of the US. The video does break NZ laws, and the steps that have been taken to prevent its dissemination follow from that. Also, war documentaries generally contain footage of conflicts which have a basis in law, while disseminating ISIS beheadings may be illegal (but IANAL).

As others have pointed out, most countries allow for exceptions to free speech in cases constituting hate speech - the fact that the US does not is a neutral fact, and an appeal to free speech absolutism doesn’t really constitute an argument for why other countries should uphold the same standards of free speech.

On Australia: we have a different political system here to the US, which is similar to NZ. While our governments are different to the UK in that parliament has enumerated powers, we don’t require fundamental rights to be explicitly defined in the constitution. The provision for freedom of political speech for instance was built up when it became apparent that the way in which we want our society to operate requires such an interpretation of our constitution. On the other hand, the US system requires a constitutional amendment for issues relating to constitutional law and fundamental rights outlined in the constitution. Both systems have their merits and demerits, but the fact that ours doesn’t work in the way that the US’s does isn’t an argument against it.

Most countries with a bill of rights, including Canada and presumably NZ, have a "notwithstanding clause" that allows the government broad power to abrogate those rights if it feels it is in the public interest to do so.

The USA is the sole major exception.

Good point. I agree with you.

>a far more representative and democratic parliament that any US government due to the use of proportional representation.

any US government? Do you understand that many state-level governments are proportionally representative?

Which aspects of the New Zealand government's response do you object to?

Off the top of my head, the government has: used the existing regulatory system to temporarily halt sales of the sort weapons used in the terrorist attack; introduced legislation into parliament to permanently halt sales of the sort of weapons used in the attack, which will proceed through the regular legislative process; announced plans to investigate how the attack was not prevented by security services; and facilitated memorial services for victims.

>Which aspects of the New Zealand government's response do you object to?

Namely the banning of the manifesto. Blocking images of violence is one thing. But making the leap to blocking ideas is on a whole other level. I’m all for de-platforming. No one should be forced to host your vile content, legal or not. But for the government of your country to ban a specific string of characters as a criminal matter is terrifying.

Why is banning a string of characters terrifying, but not a string of bits?

In my opinion aphextron was being overly reductionist in describing the manifesto as just a string of characters.

The manifesto was a presentation of a political viewpoint (and perhaps a call to action - I don't know, I haven't read it). The manifesto qualifies as speech.

The video was a record of a criminal act of great violence. I wouldn't classify the video as speech. (In contrast, a fictional portrayal of the same acts but made with actors and no-one dying would be speech).

New Zealand, and many other parts of the world, do not share the U.S.'s "free speech" concept. Speech is not protected and yet the country is high on the freedom of press index.


>Speech is not protected and yet the country is high on the freedom of press index.

For now.

The lessons learned and recorded through 2000 years of Western history, starting with the Greeks and culminating in the American revolution, was that such things can never be relied upon unless guaranteed by law.

I'm not from the USA and I didn't make any reference to the US in my comment. I've already dealt with this false argument elsewhere in the thread. [1]

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19473330

I've seen purported extracts of the manifesto, they were mostly trolling

So they haven't actually done anything to try to restrict the shooting video, at least on foreign websites (it may be illegal under existing NZ law?)

It suppose it wouldn't actually be hard for them to seize the copyright (perhaps with a new law if required) and start issuing DMCA takedowns or threats of lawsuits.

Common misconception that this is directed by the government, like Mubarak ordering the internet cut off or something. The Office of Film and Literature classification reviews and classified media material in NZ, similar to how the MPAA does for films in the USA. It can also classify materials as “objectionable” at which point they become illegal to possess or trade (except by certain request, eg if you’re an academic wanting to study it). This is extremely rare. It must meet the definitions under the law that the office operators under. And it is free from political influence because the role is separated and operated independently as a commission. It is checked by the ability of the judicial branch to evaluate these cases against the definition in the law. And the law can be changed by the citizens electing new representation and giving mandate for that to be done.

The takedowns that Facebook and YouTube have been performing started immediately after the attack loooooong before the video was classified as objectionable. This is because Facebook and YouTube do not want to distribute these videos. That’s all.

>Common misconception that this is directed by the government [...] The Office of Film and Literature classification reviews and classified media material in NZ, similar to how the MPAA does for films in the USA.

But the Office of Film and Literature Classification is literally a government agency, according to Wikipedia. Maybe it's staffed by bureaucrats rather than elected officials, but it's still government censorship. MPAA, on the other hand, is a trade association, and compliance with its ratings is purely voluntary.

>It must meet the definitions under the law that the office operators under. [...] It is checked by the ability of the judicial branch to evaluate these cases against the definition in the law.

I wouldn't count on this, given how vague the the law is, and how useless constitution is (see comment elsewhere in this thread).

>And the law can be changed by the citizens electing new representation and giving mandate for that to be done.

That's a final backstop, but if there's active government censorship going on, how can the results of the subsequent election be trusted?

In fact, such material is already illegal to possess or trade. The official classification just clarifies that after the fact.

The law that makes this material objectionable is the same one that makes child pornography illegal, and it should be obvious that it wouldn't work very well if each video involving sex with children had to be classified as objectionable before it became illegal.

The criteria are here:


Is that a typo in your first sentence? Saying the government is NOT directing an action, when it's a government agency makes no sense. It would be like me saying the US government doesn't have any control over boeing's planes because that's the FAA's job.

And the government is literally arresting people for distributing the video.

I'm really struggling to see how this could be construed as a non-government action.

"The Government" (in NZ at least, I imagine also in many other countries with parliamentary systems) is very often used to mean the parties/politicians in charge. Short for "the governing parties," basically. Clearly that's what was meant: that arrests can not be directed from the top.

"Independence from central government The Classification Office is an independent Crown entity under the Crown Entities Act 2004, and so it performs its functions at 'arms length' from central government.

As a Crown entity the Classification Office is accountable to the New Zealand public - it must perform its functions efficiently, transparently, and in a financially responsible manner.

The Minister of Internal Affairs is responsible for managing the Government's relationship with the Classification Office."

That's more or less what I thought. So it's not even illegal in NZ unless the Office of Film and Literature Classification actually bans it?

Edit: I see now they have banned it, and the "manifesto" too. https://www.classificationoffice.govt.nz/news/latest-news/ch...

Maybe putting a teen in jail, now facing 10 years for sharing the video with an edgy comment.

Not just this 18 year old you referenced: https://gizmodo.com/18-year-old-arrested-in-new-zealand-for-...

But also these people:

22 year old: https://abcnews.go.com/ABCNews/zealand-man-22-arrested-alleg...

44 yo male: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&object...

This woman was arrested for hateful commentary (not distributing the video, just comments): https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12214654&ref=t...

Bingo. I find it strange how all the replies to aphextron's top level comment automatically assumed it was about the assault rifle ban, and didn't even consider the government's ban on distribution of the shooter's video and manifesto. Maybe it's OP's fault for not being more specific, but the replies are definitely opting for the "easier" argument.

Do you have a reputable source for this? All I can find is from fringe sites.

random search:


>The accused teenage Facebook poster appeared in Christchurch District Court on Monday and was granted an interim name suppression order, but he was denied bail by Judge Stephen O'Driscoll.


actions have consequences; whether those actions take place online or not. If what he did was hate speech, then it makes sense to charge him with it.

That he did it online, or didn't realise that saying vile things would have undesirable consequences shouldn't excuse the behaviour.

(N.B I think he should be charged with something, but I don't think prison time is a fair response to his actions).

Hate speech, is protected speech in my mind, no matter how abhorrent. The founding fathers of the USA had a reason for the 1st amendment. You milage may vary in your location, but at the end of the day, censorship of speech is very very slipper slope. This type of speech needs to be countered by education and by people standing up and saying "we will not listen", not a bureaucrat. Allowing the government to censor what you do not like is an aberration of personal responsibility.

that's a very American stance to take. I don't mean that as an insult; I mean that Americans value individual liberty above all else.

That isn't the case in NZ; Most of the population trusts the government and value's collective good above individual liberty, the policies and responses to events like these are born out of our culture and focus on those values. It's apples & oranges with the US culture of valuing individual liberty.

I do feel that to say that it's solely personal responsibility is to disregard easily mislead demographics (specifically the youth). Of course the plan is to educate them so that they can reason these situations out for themselves, but until then it's societies duty to look out for them, and to ensure they're not being exposed to unnecessarily harmful views.

Personally, I believe some people can't actually be reasoned with all that well; You can try, but eventually you exhaust yourself without ever changing there mind; What's the saying about "the world changes when old men die"?

As a final counter-point. My understanding is that Osama Bin Laden never personally attacked the US. It was his hate speech that incited violence, it was his ideology that was his weapon. The response to that was to condemn a man who was not US citizen to death without ever having a trial. I'm not saying he shouldn't have been killed; I'm asking why one incitement of violence, of hate speech; is acceptable and should be allowed when another is not? (keeping in mind that both are in relation to a terrorist attack).

that's a very American stance to take. I don't mean that as an insult; I mean that Americans value individual liberty above all else.

It's a modern American stance that dates back to the 1969 case of Brandenburg v. Ohio. The reason that this particular standard for free speech, formulated by the US Supreme Court has permeated segments of the English-speaking world is an example of the cultural dominance of the United States, and internet culture.

Besides bin Laden, another even more striking case is the cleric, a US citizen, who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen because of his advocacy of violence. And no sane person who values their freedom, in the English-speaking west, would dare advocate on behalf of ISIS today.

No society in human history has permitted absolute free speech, and the United States doesn't either.

Individual liberty is a huge part of it, however it is not the final arbitrator of society. It is an act of the individual that inspires change. One person can make a difference and change to course of history. They do so by having the ability to speak freely, or baring that the ability to speak and then except the consequences of that speech, in order to insure change (MLK, Ghandi, etc.) Regulated speech can lead to a dictatorship. Look at the Nazis or the USSR. The first thing to go is the right to disagree without threat of imprisonment or worse. I do understand that you trust this government (I have visited NZ a number of times and I am a huge rugby fan). But that is this government. It is not a good idea to set the precedent on the limitation of speech as it can be used in the future to limit it by those that do not have the ideals of the government you currently support. The regulation of speech is a slippery slope. Only the collected efforts of the people can counter those that speak hate. Making it illegal only strengthens those that hate, giving them another boogie man for their own cause. Yes, I am being an idealist. Oh, for what it is worth, half of my family is Muslim and they share my thoughts on this. That half came here because of the limits on their freedom.

Bin Laden was directly responsible for the planning and support for attacks on the USA and others. Wikipedia is a good place to start with links to items, including transcripts etc.

I emotional agree it is hard to trust the masses to do the right thing, never the less, we have to. It’s the only way. Everything else leads to opression.

Personally I think hate speech is a term which cold use more precision - I personally term it the rather uncatchy '<ethnic> intimidation' with ethnic substitute for the appropriate other term as it encompasses the parts of it that cause harm.

To use an example of an obscure half-joking religion just say calling Pastafarians a bunch of stupid useless colander-heads is hateful speech but not hate speech. Saying that we should all go out tomorrow and lynch Pastafarians would be religious intimidation and captures where the wrong is - not the speech but the actual 'verbal assault'.

> The founding fathers of the USA had a reason for the 1st amendment.

When the 1st amendment was written the US had approximately the same population as new Zealand does now (4M versus 5M). New Zealand is about the size and popolation of Oregon.

Our political landscape is wildly different, simply because we are so much smaller, and we don't have states.

Our politicians and our government are not "them": they are us. This is the general feeling towards the Muslim community too We all (including our politicians) see the affects of policy upon our friends and family, because most New Zealanders have direct connections to a range of backgrounds.

The founding fathers of the USA had a reason for the 1st amendment.

The US Supreme Court only set the modern boundaries for freedom of speech in Brandenburg v Ohio in 1969.

The question isn't whether what he did was "hate speech", but whether the definition of "hate speech" that can be utilized for this purpose makes any sense in a free society.

Actions do have consequences, and the New Zealand government should be aware of this. Sentencing an 18 year old to 14 years in prison has the consequence of making them a non-functioning member of society in the future. This is not a reparative way to respond to what he did.

Nobody's been convicted of anything yet. And certainly not 14 years in prison. Mentioning the maximum sentence for a class of crime is hyperbole.

Guh, I'm done with the internet for today. No one has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for this and they won't be, the lack of informed people participating in these discussions kills me.

Perhaps nitpicky, but I believe the potential ban and existing re-categorization of certain types of weapons would only ban 2/5 of the firearms he used.

All of the firearms he used were banned.

Are you sure? I thought the ban only applied to semi-automatic guns, not pump or lever action.

The new restrictions also restrict shotguns with detachable magazines that can hold over a specific number of rounds, but I retract my statement as I have not been able to establish exactly which model of shotgun the perpetrator used.

He also had a lever action rifle although I don't know if he used it

Almost everyone in NZ that I've talked to, which includes a few gun owners, has been in broad agreement with the moves to ban MSSA weapons - cheering for it is probably a good assessment. I cannot fathom how anyone could call that Orwellian, it feels more like plain common sense.

You're not likely to hear from people who are not in broad agreement right now for this exact reason - they'd be tarred and feathered by the supermajority in favor.

"Guns are too dangerous, give them to us or we'll shoot you and take them from your cold, dead hands" might be a little bit totalitarian.

Attitudes are different in NZ from the US. There is no right to bear arms, and self defense is not a valid reason to hold a firearm licence. An overwhelming majority of people believe that military style weapons have no place in society, and that those guns - though not all guns - are too dangerous, and that accordingly yes, you must hand them over.

Even if an overwhelming majority of people believe state shootings (with guns) of people who won't hand them over is moral and ok in society.. the point of my reply still stands and has nothing to do with the right to self-defense etc.

There are plenty of times in history when overwhelming majorities beliefs took away minority rights.

When reading the wrong words can get you 10 years in prison, it probably does trend towards Orwell's future though.

Minorities are always at the mercy of the majority opinion, no 'rights' or whatever is going to change that.

What did they do? I'm only aware of the gun bans, which strikes me as reasonable. The TSA, for example, with the random luggage and body searches strikes me as an order of magnitude more Orwellian.

Don’t forget the 60,000 strong force that is allowed to stop anyone within 100 miles of a border, ask for papers, and put anyone they like, including American citizens in jail without trial or normal legal process, sometimes for years.

> put anyone they like, including American citizens in jail without trial or normal legal process, sometimes for years.

So in a country of ~330 million, with 32 million flights every year across the US, would you mind listing the total number of times that actually happens? Where people are detained for years with no due process by that 60,000 force. If something happens a few times per year at that scale, while being shameful non-the-less, it's a freak outlier in fact and is not a legitimate example of common outcomes to support your comment.

The bans will, for the most part, be useless, as most gun bans based on features usually are. To see why, look up e.g. "MARS action rifle", or "lever release AR-15".

At the same time, countries that don't bother with stuff like that, but instead regulate who can own firearms much more stringently than US does - e.g. Czech Republic - are doing fine.

This ban while strict is actually more than the cosmetic 'assault rifle ban' given the strict magazine size limits for all but essentially 'varmint gun' calibers. One can debate the effectiveness of it but the features of some actual substance in this case.

It's more substance than usual for sure. My point was that it's still not going to prevent the next terrorist from doing more or less the same thing. The only way to make this kind of regulation sensible is to stop chasing implementation details, and have some standard testing protocol for actual performance (e.g. rate of fire), then set limits on that.

Magazine capacity limits are relevant in principle, but the problem is enforcement - they're just too simple to effectively regulate. Even defining what a limit is can be hard, given that it's a box with a spring, so the limit inherently depends on what cartridges can fit and feed. As Canada has found out, this means that a 5-round magazine can be a 15-round magazine sometimes. But even when you have a clear definition that accounts for all such shenanigans, good luck enforcing it when one can make high-cap mag bodies by cutting legal ones, and duck taping them together. Again, it's a metal box with a spring, not even curved in many calibers; most complicated parts are the follower and the feed lips, and those are the same regardless of capacity.

I'd still look at their definitions first, though, because in most countries (and US states) that limit magazine capacity, a full-sized magazine that is blocked internally by some kind of pin is perfectly legal, and yet that pin takes about 50 seconds to remove without breaking the magazine. There's a lot more security theater about gun laws in most places than people realize.

> At the same time, countries that don't bother with stuff like that, but instead regulate who can own firearms much more stringently than US does - e.g. Czech Republic - are doing fine.

I think you'd have said the same thing about New Zealand a week and a half ago, yet here we are.

And are they any better now? If you looked up the things I mentioned in my earlier comment, you know that UK has firearms available to civilians that aren't particularly less lethal than what the Christchurch terrorist used. They haven't been used in a similar way yet for the same reason why New Zealand didn't have any problems for over 20 years before this - because these events are so rare in general.

OTOH, looking at New Zealand's eligibility laws, one thing that stands out to me is the lack of a mandatory mental health exam. So it's like US in that regard - only already-diagnosed mental health issues can block ownership.

"is the most disturbing Orwellian thing I’ve ever seen"

I think you need to go re-read some Orwell books.

All the political parties of NZ government agreed on the ban of semi-automatic military style weapons, which should have been illegal long ago.

What 'curbing of freedom' do you see happening, exactly?

The Chief Censor is independent from the NZ government.

> the most disturbing Orwellian thing I’ve ever seen

Even compared with the patriot act and the war against Iraq?

Thank you, very well said! I'm also disappointed with the response on HN as supposedly free governments cut off entire chunks of the Internet. Any concern about this is met with "but if we don't kill the Internet then the Nazis will win!"

I'm most horrified by people's defense of the government getting really good at arresting people for "trolling"[1]

[1]: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/police-arresting-nine-peo...

If NZ is actually, as is widely reported, a great bolt hole for the elite, then the last thing you as a member of the elite want to have in a massive economic downturn and crisis, is a ticked off bunch of natives to the area with firearms and a real time communication system, isn't it?

While not an official statement, this forum post from a Spark employee is worth a read: https://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=184&topicid=24...


I am NOT officially empowered to talk about this but I want to shut down any conjecture right now.

No actions of Spark taken now or over the next 24 hours or so should be considered representative of policy. They may turn out to be temporary, they may even with hindsight not be considered the best move. However the number of direct links going around to certain sites and threads where some truly horrific and almost certainly illegal material was being hosted met a threshold for immediate and extraordinary action. We're killing the DNS entries for a couple of sites.

I should note that this had approval from the highest levels, and we're not the only ISP doing this.

Right now is where we all get a chance to demonstrate our humanity in the face of a terrible tragedy. Reach out and help people. I know many people in Chch and around the country that are in shock. I know I am - and I know there are hundreds or thousands of people that are directly massively impacted by this today.

At some point in the near future we'll evaluate what to roll back. But not today.

Cheers - Neil Gardner

> No actions of Spark taken now or over the next 24 hours or so should be considered representative of policy.

That's not how it works. When you claim to have a policy, and don't bother to even pretend that it governs your actions, your actions will be taken to represent your policy, because what people care about is your actual policy, not a document you happen to call your "policy".

Of course a US ISP could do this too, completely legally - the 1st amendment only binds the government - and the Trump administration's removal of net neutrality gives ISPs carte-blanche to do whatever they like in this area

The mobile operator Jio does the same thing here in India. Any content that offends their conservative interests, is routinely blocked without any legal repurcussions.

If ISPs want to act as curators to content they just provide access to, then they should be held legally liable for illegal content. Else, just act as a dumb pipe and give up all responsibility.

"then they should be held legally liable for illegal content"

Thanks for bringing this point.

Not everyone holds the same absolute views on freedom of speech as those drawn up in the American constitution. There is also plenty of opposing views of a "constitutionally limited government" that seems to be at the heart of American culture.

Frankly, it's pretty disturbing how many Americans are unable to comprehend that their way isn't the "only way" that can be valid.

The New Zealand Bill of Rights provides freedom of expression, but it's also limited by the human rights act. Racial disharmony is illegal. Even if the shooter didn't follow through with the shootings, he could have been punished for simply publishing that manifesto of his.

The New Zealand Bill of Rights is the single most toothless, feeble, pointless piece of legislation I have ever read.


Literally everything else overrides it, if I'm reading this right:


Other enactments not affected

    No court shall, in relation to any enactment (whether passed or made before or after the commencement of this Bill of Rights),—

        (a)hold any provision of the enactment to be impliedly repealed or revoked, or to be in any way invalid or ineffective; or

        (b)decline to apply any provision of the enactment—

    by reason only that the provision is inconsistent with any provision of this Bill of Rights.

So if every other law automatically overrides it, what is the point? Are they even rights at all, at that point?

We need a stronger set of rights.

Well, your Bill of Rights is just a law passed by the Parliament. As such, it can be repealed by the Parliament, if and when they feel like it. This is your parliamentary sovereignty system at work.


I mean i don't disagree, but speaking as an Aussie, at least you have one..

Man that's not worth the paper it's written on then....

How is the NZ government related though...

This is ISPs just deciding to block sites.

Why do you think supporters of Free Speech look to the American constitution? This seems like a strawman to me.

Support for Free Speech has a very long and broad history, a great deal of which predates the founding of the USA and a great deal of which has been outside the USA. People across the world and throughout history don't like being silenced.

Not all peoples. Some cultures are "collective" (as opposed to the West's "individualistic") and value social harmony more than individual rights. In these cultures, speaking your mind when it causes any kind of disagreement or conflict is not encouraged and can lead to social penalties. This is not "the authorities" censoring free speech; this is family, friends and neighbours trying to maintain a harmonious community.

Yes, there is a contrasting dynamic of restricting/stifling speech "to promote social harmony". This is also present in the US, cf. the deplatforming movement.

My point is that a desire for free speech is not endemic to the US and framing the promotion/defence of it in other countries as referencing the US is misleading. I'm Australian and affected by this censorship. I wouldn't think to reference the US Constitution in arguing against it. When I argue for free speech I argue from principles, not from the example of another country's constitutional framework.

Agreed. I grew up in NZ and now live in America. There are distinct cultural differences that really do separate the two countries.

The need for freedom and privacy (although really is a bit of a joke considering the power of the federal government) is one that's really important to Americans. Kiwis don't really have that inherent distrust of the government in the same way, and our equivalent idea is that we're all more or less equal citizens. That's why gun bans are pretty easy to put through in NZ (the safety of the collective is less important than the personal freedom of the individual), and why America has a political class unwilling to do something like socialize healthcare (even at a regional level).

In my experience, if you're selling a political ideal to an American, emphasize personal freedom. If you're selling a political ideal to a New Zealander emphasize fairness.

> and why America has a political class unwilling to do something like socialize healthcare (even at a regional level)

I don't see how that's a correct statement. Half of Americans are in some form of government, socialized, healthcare system. Socialized healthcare is not only common in America (a quarter of the population is on fully socialized programs just in Medicaid/CHIP/etc), it's quite popular with about 2/3 of the population and the majority of politicians. The US spends about $650 billion just on the Medicaid + CHIP programs. Republicans hardly dare to go anywhere near Medicaid or Medicare these days. 30-40 years ago, the exact opposite was the case, Republicans (the traditional opposition party to socialized healthcare) frequently, commonly argued against nearly all forms of government healthcare. In the Reagan era, it was routine for prominent Republican politicians to call for privatized alternatives to Medicare. Today they won't dare go near that for fear of voter retribution. The most likely outcome over the next 10-15 years, is Medicaid will see continued expansion up the lower economic tiers and will cover 1/3 of the population on traditional socialized healthcare. Within probably 20 to 30 years, it'll only be the top 1/4 that will still be in the mostly private system. Socialized healthcare is taking over the US by default and necessity, its popularity will only increase by the year with the bottom 2/3 of the economic ladder.

> it's pretty disturbing how many Americans are unable to comprehend that their way isn't the "only way" that can be valid.

Don't assume everyone advocating for US-style free-speech is American - I am not.

> Not everyone holds the same absolute views on freedom of speech as those drawn up in the American constitution

You are right about that. 99% of countries on Earth have weaker constitutional rights than the US in terms of Free Speech - if any right at all.

What you might call 'weak' might be called 'sensible' by others. At the same time, not everyone peddling the 'constitutional' stuff actually knows what it contains or how it applies. Imagine other countries copying the slavery-like rules for jailed persons...

At the same time: freedom of speech goes about as far as what it causes; you are free to say what you want, but nobody has to give you a soap box or audience. That is the same thing that is basically happening in NZ. If you think the colour of your skin is better than the colour of someone else's skin, that's your issue and the internet/press/media etc aren't going to provide you with a platform. And if you try to do it anyway, you will get a reaction. (i.e. jail)

In the US, even with your constitution, you have similar situations. If you want to start a clan of people who dislike other people and try to have club meeting and put those in the newspaper or on TV, you will also get a reaction (jail, fines etc.).

Or it might be called "weak" by others. I'm not an American, but I agree with him.

You say that one is "free to say what you want", but then immediately describe a case of a person literally saying what's on their mind and getting jailed for that. You're welcome to argue in favor of such censorship, but whether it does or does not have a valid reason, it's still censorship - and so not free by definition.

Oh, and the scenario that you describe is impossible in US. It is perfectly legal to start a private club that discriminates in membership, even against otherwise protected classes, and to advertise it as such. It only becomes illegal when you offer a public service.

> I'm not an American, but I agree with him.

You've been living in the US for more than a decade, so I don't think your "even me, a non-American, agrees with him!" card is as strong as you think.

I didn't change my opinion while in US. Quite the opposite, it was one of the reasons why I moved here in the end - I was a Canadian permanent resident already when I had to choose between pursuing citizenship there, or starting it all over in US. I do not regret that choice.

> "Racial disharmony is illegal."

Why? Why should racial disharmony be illegal? It sucks when people don't like you, maybe they have good reasons, maybe not - but legislating "harmony" just sounds wrong.

Also, why are people allowed to loudly proclaim "white people are evil" loudly, and broadly, without issues - isn't that also racial disharmony?

Why? because Australia and NZ have large immigrant populations (in fact, are large immigrant populations) that contain many races. Racial disharmony causes huge problems, and creates the real possibility of violence, mayhem and bloodshed. As reasonable societies, these things are seen as bad and to be avoided. Consequently, actions that will create racial disharmony are illegal.

You can hate on whoever you like, but you can't grab a megaphone, head down to the mall, and encourage other people to hate the same people that you do. I don't know about you, but that seems like a pretty benign restriction to me...

> but you can't grab a megaphone, head down to the mall, and encourage other people to hate the same people that you do

Your example is a misdirection. What you describe is being a public nuisance in a public area, not free speech. I don't want to be subjected to nasty, racist rhetoric in a public space, just as I don't want to be harangued to repent of my sins and "Let Jesus into my life" in the same place. But I support the right of people to be able to express these views in a published form, or in closed spaces such as on a talking tour or in a church. In both cases audiences are seeking to be exposed to these views and are actively going to a place to find them, not having them pushed on them as they go about their ordinary lives.

> In both cases audiences are seeking to be exposed to these views

If people only hear what they want to hear then issues will never be resolved. It’s necessary to hear things sometimes, even if it’s personally revolting or bothersome. Everyone has to deal with annoying people in life and laws won’t fix it.

>You can hate on whoever you like, but you can't grab a megaphone, head down to the mall, and encourage other people to hate the same people that you do. I don't know about you, but that seems like a pretty benign restriction to me...

Where do you draw the line? All of the items in this list (going from least inflammatory to most) could possibly be construed as causing "racial disharmony":

"We shouldn't give special benefits to [minority group] (eg. affirmative action)"

"[minority group] commit x% more crime than the rest of the population" (factual)

"I personally don't like [minority group]"

"We should enact legislation that specifically penalize [minority group]"

"I wish [minority group] would die/get hurt"

"We need to kill/hurt [minority group]"

"Let's go kill/hurt [minority group]"

For reference, the US criteria is somewhere between the last two (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clear_and_present_danger).

NZ has a large immigrant population? Compared to what, exactly? The country has 5 million people. The _county_ that I live in has (damn near) that many people.

> Also, why are people allowed to loudly proclaim "white people are evil" loudly, and broadly, without issues

Source? And I don’t mean calling the individual(s) in this case evil – which they are practically by definition – I mean broadly painting “white people” as being evil.


Edit: any explanation for the downvote? Maybe the list was overkill, but I was responding to someone who accused another of being 'disingenuous, ignorant, or lazy', then presented very weak evidence for a claim that was supposed to be so obvious that questioning it justified those insults. (Basically no evidence at all, since it had nothing to do with New Zealand, the country which this discussion was specifically about)


When I looked at the top 20 results, they didn't back up your point very well. (I didn't do any cherrypicking -- I don't know what the 21st result was. If I wanted to be sneaky I would have only presented the first 10.)

I counted four people actually making that claim (one of whom qualified it with 'sometimes', but generalised it with 'all'). None of the four seemed to be from New Zealand.

The rest were mostly complaints about other people who supposedly think or say white people are evil. Some were definitely right-wing extremists.

The full list was:

- 'sometimes all white people are evil'

- complaint about white people being blamed for things and called evil

- anti-semite complaining about a Jewish man calling himself white

- someone saying "not all white people are evil, judge people by their character not their skin color"

- white supremacist

- person complaining about white people being called evil

- 'There’s still evil white people in the world, and we all know about the history between us and them, but y’all need to stop acting like EVERY white person is evil bruh. The people that do are a part of the problem too.'

- 'While Candace Owens can't believe this she is letting white conservatives at #CPAC believe this is true. This emboldens their view that the real victim of racism in America is white people. These words by Owens are beyond irresponsible-they are truly evil. '

- someone disagreeing with the view that 'Hitler is only considered to be evil because he killed white people'

- anti-semite

- person complaining about 'assholes ranting about how white people are evil'

- description of Jordan Peele's movie as 'the white people are evil movie'

- person saying it unironically

- person saying it unironically

- person complainiing about people who think that Democrats 'hate "white" people'

- complaint about people who say white people are evil


- 'These fucks here and people like these give white people a horrible rep. Can’t generalize a whole race like that tho.'

- person saying it unironically

- ' seeing conventionally attractive white people having excuses made for their evil actions is irritating AF'

The point wasn't to say that the percentage of X posts to Y posts was Z%. The point was to say that these posts and sentiments exist and here is a way to find some almost guaranteed with one simple search; i.e. it's not hard to find this sentiment around the internet.

If you've lived at any point in a social circle that involved wholeness you will see this sentiment displayed and defended. The whole idea of racism in critical theory is a defense of racism against white people by saying that it's not actually racism, which is a dog whistle, as they put it, to those outside of academia, giving them the go ahead to express such racist sentiments in the colloquial sense.

I'm saying all of this as a liberal who is against hatred and bigotry of any form, and as someone who at one point used to echo such white woke SJW sentiments without realizing that I was trying to find acceptance among my woke friends. I know what these circles are like; you almost certainly are being dishonest if you travel in these circles and say you haven't heard these sentiments.

What does this have to do with New Zealand?

What does new zealand have to do with my addressing the parent comment to my original comment? My point was directly relevant to that comment and it's sad that someone flagged it.

"Racial disharmony" is clearly the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law. Of course you can legislate against racial disharmony: in the US, race is a protected class.

Is proclaiming "white people are evil" racial disharmony? Depends on the context. Is proclaiming "Muslims are evil" and shooting up two mosques racial disharmony? Definitely.

Your last paragraph shows the entire problem with this concept.

Whiteness is definitely a race. Thus saying "white people are evil" would seem to satisfy any definition of racial disharmony - how can it possibly depend on context? You appear to just be proving the original posters point that these laws are never actually enforced fairly: white people get targeted by hate all the time and the authorities don't care.

But Islam is not a race. There are white Muslims. Thus whatever hatred of Muslims is, it's not racism.

People routinely lump religious hatred under the rubric of "racism" partly because that word has been granted extraordinary power in our society, partly because there isn't a nice short word for "discrimination against certain religions" and partly because Muslim people tend to overwhelmingly come from certain parts of the world originally.

But regardless of why people do it, no logical definition of racial disharmony could cover shooting up a mosque. You'd need some other type of crime for that to be logically applicable. Or you'd need to define in law that Islam is a "race" you can opt in and out of at will.

>Also, why are people allowed to loudly proclaim "white people are evil" loudly, and broadly, without issues

Because, this far, your point is pure whataboutism decrying an issue that doesn’t exist.

Come back with this argument when someone walks into a church/mosque and mows down dozens of people. Comparing a few trolls crying on twitter that “white people are evil” to Charleston or Christchurch is asinine

Also of note is the Australian Bill of Rights.

Here's a link to a PDF of it:

Americans are unable to comprehend it in the same way that the civilised world cannot comprehend enslaving another. Just as enslaving others is wrong, limiting free speech is wrong, and inherently contradictory. Limited speech is not free. It is time for the rest of the world to understand this, and the US could use a refresher as well.

Not even the USA permits unlimited free speech. Memorably the US once limited speech against speaking out against conscription - under the 1918 sedition act - which led to the now famous free speech quote of "calling fire in a crowded theatre".

The US still has a crime of, and recent prosecutions for sedition! A crime abolished as a relic in some other places. Pot, kettle, black? :)

You need to reread what I wrote. I very explicity acknowledged that the US has problems with freedom of speech. Just the other day an executive order was signed in an attempt to restore free speech at public universities.

The US constitution is very clear in its wording on free speech: "Congress shall make no law [...] abridging the freedom of speech". It is unfortunate that our judiciary has chosen to turn a blind eye to this and many other affronts to the rights of American citizens.

I also am unequivocal about the fundamental human right of free speech, I also don't think it should be limited to US citizens. But I do accept that the effects of speech need necessarily be taken into account.

If an immigrant overstaying their Visa publicly declares their status to an immigration agent, they can get deported. Did this violate their right to free speech? If a person's public speech is so vile that everyone agrees to not listen to them, does this violate their right?

What we are actually talking about in this case, is morally (because of course, we have no rights to free speech in Australia) what are the acceptable restrictions that should be placed on people or businesses, to restrict others rights to speech?

And is the restricting of the right to silence others (say on your platform), in itself not a kind of restriction of right to your own speech?

This is much, much more difficult to answer consistently.

For your second example, I don't think that violates freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is the freedom to voice an opinion without fear of retaliation. Forcing others to listen to your speech seems tantamount to slavery.

I think that your first example is also not a violation, as it is not an opinion. I think that this example reveals a more potent problem: what do we classify as opinion? As to that, I have no answer; I am no philosopher.

As for the morality of restricting others' right to free speech, it is definitely a difficult problem. Morally I think that you have no right to silence others because you disagree with their opinion. There is some nuance here; if HN deletes a post advertising viagra I don't think this is silencing someone. Similarly, deleting a post containing the results of a football game to a programming forum is also not silencing someone. There is an aspect of relevancy at play. If you choose to operate a general purpose forum, morally you are pretty limited in what it is acceptable to silence.

These are just my off-the-cuff thoughts. I might be missing something obvious here; it seems like a confounding problem.

Agree, it is difficult. The examples were meant to illustrate this.

>If you choose to operate a general purpose forum, morally you are pretty limited in what it is acceptable to silence.

I sort of agree, but isn't this almost tantamount to forcing people to listen? Philosophically, rather than actually of course, there is no clear line.

And why should speech be limited to opinion? It is free isn't it? And where has there ever been any verifiable line between opinion and fact? I would argue fact is a subset of opinion, and that all speech is actually opinion.

That is why I stressed the importance of only limiting the effects of speech, rather than the content. It maintains the rights, but also the responsibilities of the speaker.

Point is, it appears to be solely the US that holds its constitution in divine reverence as having already achieved perfection. (Only slightly tongue in cheek here)

Other nations have been more free amending their constitutions. Nations without written constitutions often consider that a feature not a bug. These can bend things out of shape differently. :)

It is perfectly possible to speak against the government, any government, without being racist, or inciting hate. It is not possible to speak against a government if you can't ridicule or caricature the head of state, or party a. Thus you can have free speech without also giving unlimited licence to be an offensive, racist jerk without consequence.

"fire in a theater" was a bad decision.


> limiting free speech is wrong

Enabling the spread of terrorist propaganda, like the blocked websites have been doing by hosting the Christchurch shooting video. You'd better believe if websites like Twitter and Youtube didn't self-censor ISIS propaganda like they did in 2014, many countries would be having their ISPs block those sites.

> if websites like Twitter and Youtube didn't self-censor ISIS propaganda like they did in 2014

People posted ISIS beheading videos to YouTube and caused a policy crisis (within YouTube). YouTube responded by deciding that the beheading videos should stay up because they were newsworthy. As shocking as one of those videos is, it notionally shows why ISIS is bad.

Or at least, that's what they said. YouTube simultaneously took down murder videos from South American gangs, on the theory that the gangs uploaded those videos themselves and whatever they wanted, YouTube wanted the opposite.

I can't reconcile the two policies. The video shows what it shows. ISIS is, presumably, proud to have its propaganda videos displayed to the world, even if the uploader's accompanying commentary is "how horrible".

And by the same token, when a gang uploads one of their own propaganda videos, that video illustrates how horrible the gang is in exactly the same way that ISIS's videos illustrate how horrible ISIS is. They are equally newsworthy. But policy was that uploads of ISIS propaganda videos for the purpose of criticizing ISIS were good, and uploads of gang propaganda videos for the purpose of scaring the local citizenry were bad. The fact that ISIS's local populace might be scared or attracted by propaganda videos, or that people outside of South America might be repulsed by publicly-available gang murder videos, apparently doesn't enter into it -- it's all about whether the uploader is pure of heart.

You're right, it doesn't make sense. Just like it doesn't make sense to hold Gab.com to unreasonably high standards, while letting Twitter and Facebook get away with exactly the same things.

YouTube also left up Elliot Rodger's YouTube channel for like three years for similar reasons, until they changed their minds and took them down again.

What it looks like to me, is that they just like censoring things and throwing their weight around, and this moral grandstanding is only after the thought.

The shooter's video is pretty weak sauce, compared to ISIS propaganda. It's a really bad look for him and his ideology, even, I imagine, for people who glory in violence. Who imagines that shooting a women in the back of the head as she's lying in the gutter crying for help will cast anything associated with the shooter in a good light?

Twitter's censorship was wrong, and those countries and ISPs censorship would have been wrong as well. Free speech is a human right and censorship is immoral.

Twitter (and Facebook and any other online site) has Terms of Use policies that all customers must abide by if you want to use their platform. If you don't follow their rules, they can remove your content or your account. That is their right since it's their platform and you agreed to their rules when you signed up. If you don't like their policies you have the freedom to not use their platforms.

This has nothing to do with what I said. When I said it was wrong, I meant in a moral sense. Freedom of speech is a human right, which is ensured in the United States by the first ammendment of the constitution. Twitter is morally culpable for its censorship.

How do you know if they're terrorist propaganda, once they're blocked?

IIRC the Australian ISPs refused to even release the list of the websites that they block - what we have is just things that are known not to work.

What happened to checks and balances in a democratic society? Why is the private industry acting on its own on behalf of the government? Where's the oversight?

How do we know its terrorist propaganda if its illegal to view it? Motive for reading/sharing obviously needs to be a factor.


First, I agree that the US has an incarceration problem. We're certainly not perfect, and I think much of the problem is due to the US's drug problem. Regardless, comparing incarceration to slavery is disingenuous as slavery requires no wrongdoing whereas incarceration should require wrongdoing.

As for my comparison of disallowing hate speech to slavery, it is a very valid comparison. The two are morally reprehensible for similar reasons; one is slavery of the body, the other is slavery of the mind. History has shown time and again that what is en vogue today may be hate speech tomorrow.

what about "collective" cultures that don't prize individualism? If you are discouraged from saying something because it will cause social disharmony within your community, is that as morally wrong as slavery?

I think not.

I think capturing someone from their home, their country, their loved ones, transporting them across an ocean, beating them, making them work for the rest of their lives without pay, while starving them, raping them, and imprisoning them, is a long, long, long way more morally wrong than not letting idiots spout whatever crappy opinion happens to wander across what passes for their mind, regardless of what damage it causes.

To be frank 'collective' cultures seems to be a cop-out trope to excuse authoritarianism as 'just part of their culture' mixed with exoticism. It would be like excusing warlords as 'just a part of the culture' when everyone who isn't a part of his army wants him dead but is too afraid to take action and is essentially complicity in manufactured consent.

A true collective culture would have no need for laws as cudgels for such matters because doing something 'selfish' would already make them an outcast surely as becoming an outspoken NAMBLA supporter.

Having lived and worked in a collective culture, no it's not a cop-out. They literally value harmony over truth. It's very hard for a western mind to understand (as I have discovered).

Isn't the logical conclusion to your argument anarchy? Isn't democracy just a populist brand of authoritarianism?

The utility of all laws and enforcement in general can't be used to argue against a specific law.

"I think capturing..."

This is a very American-centric view of slavery. Most cultures have participated in slavery at some point in history without the extraneous parts. Even if you treat your slave as family, the slavery is still immoral.

Similarly, your views on free speech are very narrow-minded. Many people have been murdered by oppressive governments for speaking out against injustice. Were they "idiots spout[ing] whatever crappy opinion happens to wander across what passes for their mind"?

If you are discouraged from saying something for _any_ reason, this is slavery of the mind. As for collective cultures, I don't think I know enough to effectively comment. I will note that many cultures that were okay at one time are now viewed with disgust as primitive, including your depiction of slavery in the Americas.

I don't see any problem with a government who is freely elected enacting laws that disallow hate speech.

To assist with balancing these rights and restrictions there is an independent judiciary and court system that moderates these laws and works out whether they have gone too far.

So long as you can ensure that discussing what is and isn't hate speech is never classified as hate speech itself.

Note that in the US the prison population has exploded since the mental institutions were closed (i.e. there was a transfer of people with mental problems to prisons) which explains also why you have this increased percentage compared to other countries.

It should be noted that the first amendment doesn't apply to companies, ie you have no rights with respect to them. For example Facebook is doing the exact same thing.

Companies may not be legally culpable for freedom of speech, but they are still morally culpable. Rights are not a legal construct, but a moral imperative. The founders of the United States recognized the importance of these rights and created a tiered system of laws in order to ensure these rights would be maintained by the government. Sadly we have no such guarantee from companies.

These “freedom” and “liberties” discussions have been fascinating to read.

The American Constitution is the longest standing implemented constitutional document in the world. Clearly they have done something right. The American Constitution isn't optimized for perfect social harmony. Its designed to work and stand the test of time. The New Zealand constitution is only 33 years old - which is peanuts. If it doesn't stand the test of time then your opinion really doesn't hold water does it?

The American Constitution is the longest standing implemented constitutional document in the world. Clearly they have done something right. The American Constitution isn't optimized for perfect social harmony. Its designed to work and stand the test of time. The New Zealand constitution is only 33 years old - which is peanuts. If it doesn't stand the test of time then your opinion really doesn't hold water does it?

Brandenberg v Ohio dates back to 1969. That was only 50 years ago.

Say more. You haven't made a point. The American Constitution was ratified June 21, 1788. Thats 231 years ago.

Those websites were distributing material that was illegal under New Zealand law (content relating to the recent terrorist attack).

Any person in New Zealand who possesses objectionable content is liable for imprisonment for up to 10 years. Distributing the objectionable content can result in imprisonment for up to 14 years.

The ISPs were simply declining to distribute or possess the objectionable content (which would have be illegal for them to distribute or possess).


Reminds me of the first episode of Black Mirror, when the British PM is preparing for his act with the pig, his aides try to calm him by saying that the parliament have just passed a law that prohibits the possession of the material that’s about to be broadcasted.

Do ISPs in NZ have no safe habour provisions? If one of their customers downloads or uploads something illegal, the ISP can be prosecuted too?

I don't believe so in this case, in NZ these laws were written with film in mind - more generally the safe-harbour laws are largely written for copyright issues on behalf of the content people

Should youtube be banned for storing 100 000s of copies of WTC attack?



The ISPs blocked within hours. It wasn't declared objectionable until much later.

There are catch all rules for objectionable content, but our ISPs weren't applying those rules to those websites even though they carry much equivalent content.

I don't know if they blocked at request of the politicians or police. But it is very possible the ISPs management and techos just did it. These are not huge organisations!

So just like after 9/11 in the US, the terrorists win. They scare the powers that be into making life worse for an entire country's citizens. I guess people never learn from history. Both corporations and the government end up doing the terrorists' bidding while thinking they are protecting people. The people have no say. I bet the shooters are laughing from their cells just like al quada did from its caves. Terrorism all around. I'm sure this is just the beginning just like 9/11 was just the beginning of a terror campaign mostly waged by our own government here in the US.

Why do you say life is worse here?

We’ve banned most semi auto guns.

And his writing and video have been classed as objectionable...

Why’s my life worse off for the governments actions?

For one, your ability to defend your self and your family has been partially abrogated. Now it depends more on physical strength and the wealth to live in a safe area with other defenses.

Second, your ability to access the internet has been shown to be arbitrarily limitable, kind of like China's great firewall.

Third, your ability to speak and communicate about political issues has been tamped. Today it's possessing somebody else's anti-Muslim manifesto that gets you 10 years, tomorrow it's an anti-party manifesto. Let me take a look through all your private messages and documents, and believe me, I will find something that I can "class as objectionable".

NZer's weren't stock piling guns to defend themselves with so your first argument just isn't valid to begin with.

This isn't a government ordered blocking. NZ does have a govt blacklist but it isn't enforced, ISP's opt into it. My ISP didn't block anything.

No one needs to read that manifesto to debate far right fascism.

One is not a stockpile under any reasonable definition.

Your government doesn't allow the ownership of guns for self-defense but so far it doesn't outright prohibit them from being used that way.

You are correct. To quote the arms code - https://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/... (page 41)

"Citizens are justified in using force in self-defence in certain situations. The force that is justified will depend on the circumstances of the particular case. Every person is criminally responsible for any excessive use of force against another person.

A firearm is a lethal weapon. To justify the discharge of a firearm at another person the user must hold a honest belief that they or someone else is at imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm.

Discharge of a firearm at another person will result in a Police investigation and what ever the consequences of the incident you may face serious criminal charges."

It's worth keeping in mind that we still have guns, it's just a certain type of gun that's getting banned. And it's worked well in Aus so far.

Certain types of gun. It's not just one type being banned.

He evn wrote in the manifesto that the current nz goverment reaction was what he wanted.

I would encourage everybody who was taken aback by the shooting to read the manifesto, if you are legally allowed to. It helped me better understand this groundswell of overt racism we've seen in the last few years and, by an inverse reading of it, provided some strategies on how we might resist it.

If you're there type of person that reads this manifesto and thinks, "yes I agree with this and I should do what it says" then you'd also react the same way to Mein Kampf and you're already a violent racist. These writings provide really valuable insights into what drives these abhorrent political movements and how to counteract them. They don't go away if you close your eyes.

I just checked, and only three of the thirteen "blocked" sites are not working. Of those eztv.is appears to have a DNS problem (no A record, only an SOA record pointing at a parking address of the registrar), and traceroutes archive.is and archive.fo get as far as an address in the Netherlands, so I don't think they're blocked in NZ. ISP is 2degrees, Cloudflare DNS.

On a side-note, I'm probably now on some watch list.

What I'm finding somewhat interesting is that Cloudflare ( appears to be sinkholing that DNS request for me (I'm currently inside Australia - is being returned) whereas Google ( does not ( returned). Doesn't look like it's just me either - ViewDNS [1] is currently showing 'www.archive.is' returning from Sydney.


archive.is intentionally returns the wrong result to us:


We've asked them, repeatedly, to stop doing this. They refuse. It's bizarre.

CloudFlare UK is returning the same results. This is not good.

Edit: It is a known misconfiguration at archive.is nameservers: https://community.cloudflare.com/t/archive-is-error-1001/182...

Did anyone else notice that ZeroHedge is apparently now a site so dangerous that entire populations can't be exposed to it?


Jeez, I've been reading articles on and off there for years and have never hurt a fly. What are they afraid of exactly, mass outbreaks of gold hoarding, extremists who disagree with central bank monetary policy?

I just visited and one of the top stories is objecting to an apparent trend of US cops shooting dogs. How is this site considered systematically dangerous by New Zealand ISPs?

Or is this what we always see censors do - decide terrorist attacks by white men justify blocking large swathes of ordinary conservative political opinion that has nothing to do with race or religion?

Interesting that https://www.archive.is/ is on the list. I find that a little hard to believe, but perhaps there were popular links to it being shared.

If they censor in this way then they are not a real internet service and should not call that (nor should they be given the enough IPv4 address ranges like ISPs; so, maybe they will run out if they are not a real ISP!) (unless perhaps you can get rid of the censorships by disabling NAT which you would freely be allowed to do, maybe). Real internet connect through proper protocol routing to the address based only on the packet header, and not the port number or payload (unless the packet is directed to the ISP's servers anyways), for the purpose only to routing to the correct destination and to receive the correct reply (if the payload is incorrect, they should send it anyways; that is not for the ISP to consider unless the packet is directed at their own servers) (however, if the header is incorrect (including specifying addresses that are impossible, but not only if they are merely censored), then they can block it; note I mean the IP header, and not the TCP or UDP header, which is at the other level than the routing, so they should not tamper with). (For example, if the packet specifies as the source or destination address, then they are allowed to block it; and if you do such thing too much, they can even warn you to correct your computer.)

I think that the main thing missing here is that the NZ ISPs started blocking access to the snuff film within hours of the terrorist's slaughter, the government started making proclamations days later.

The snuff film fetishists started passing it around within minutes of it being broadcast, if anything one can argue that the ISPs started too late.

Remember by NZ law something like this snuf film is created 'obscene', the censor just confirms that it is, you're legally responsible for not breaking the law by copying it, or publishing it from that first moment that it exists ... and so are our ISPs, these laws were written for film, transient copies caused by their customers accessing the illegal content puts them at legal risk, all they can do is to refuse to let people access the places which could put them (the ISPs) at risk

New Zealand has operated a country-wide content filter for years. It is primarily used to filter out "content depicting the sexual abuse or exploitation of children and young persons" [1]. Filtering of objectionable content is entirely within the social norms of New Zealand.

For comparison, since the video and manifesto have been labelled "objectionable" [2] it would be illegal to burn either to a disk and then carry the disk across the border. The argument the government will make is that this is applying the same rules to content imported into the country via the Internet instead.

If the population expects the social networks to take this content down, they will expect ISPs to remove access to social networks which do _not_ take the content down.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_New_Zea... [2] https://www.classificationoffice.govt.nz/news/latest-news/ch...

Questions of appropriateness in this scenario put aside, the fact that an internet filter which started for "please think of the children" reasons has expanded in scope is eminently predictable.

Ironically, this page itself is unavailable from AU - or is it just me?

I can read it just fine from here (Telstra 4G)

I can't reach it either

All the sites in the article were hosting illegal (in NZ) content - they were temporarily blocked till the video (of a terrorist killing innocent people) was taken down.

Nobody needs to see that.

It's not about free speech.

The sites in question are used to spread hate, racism, violence and bigotry.

Why are we tolerating this kind of media in our lives? Why are we letting people upload this?

It is not free speech. It is targeted hate.

"Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses - because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened."

― Dwight D. Eisenhower

I have yet to see the video, don't really intend to as I've seen enough other material, but for you to say "Nobody needs to see that" is to deny people an education about a grotesque part of human nature. Denying that education leads to denial of the nature itself. Nothing good comes from denying that reality.

The more that people understand about what leads to these kinds of attacks the better. But we aren't going to get much depth of truth from the kinds of sanitized messaging coming from corporate media.

The manifesto is a window into the mind of the killer. It's a distasteful document, but a strong culture that trusts its people would encourage citizens to read it and understand the danger.

As it stands, authorities really don't trust people and instead prefer to nanny them by deflecting from any issues that lurk below the surface for fear of empowering another lone attacker.

This is a poor strategy because it will surely backfire. Instead, frank discussion is most conducive to lasting peace. But after seeing the response of the NZ government I hold little hope of that happening.

I think the American legal stance on this is right - it is not up to governments or people like you to decide what media other people consume, just because you fear they might be negatively influenced.

Hate speech is free speech that you happen to not like.

Except this is hate speech. Or are you saying it isn’t

I dislike it, so it's hate speech, of course!

But I tend to believe that I should not have the power to determine what can or cannot be said, and that no one else should have that power either.

If you were to say, make a pro-ISIS video, or Tweet, would you expect to remain unmolested by the authorities in the United States? All societies set boundaries on what is acceptable speech.

I would expect making a pro-ISIS video/tweet to leave me without additional molestation from the government, yes. Probably wouldn't stay up on YouTube, but other sites don't seem to have a problem with such things. (stereotypically, that would be LiveLeak)

You can check out the list of exceptions to free speech in the US here [0]. I disagree with a number of them, but an "ISIS is awesome and this is why" video would fall under none of them. (the same goes for a "Hitler was awesome" video, a "Trump is awesome" video, or a "Trump is a fascist and we need to rise up in violent rebellion" video)

0: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exce...

I would expect making a pro-ISIS video/tweet to leave me without additional molestation from the government, yes

If you made pro-ISIS materials, you can expect the US government to closely monitor you, and quite likely attempt to entrap you.[1]

If you made large numbers of pro-ISIS videos, even if you were a US citizen, there would be a strong possibility that you would be killed [2]

[1] https://www.cleveland.com/metro/2018/07/fbi_arrest_of_clevel...


This is not hate speech, this is a snuff film

That's fair. Of course, I haven't heard many "censor the internet" calls in regards to 3guys1hammer, though that may just be because of the age. (3guys1hammer was the first that came to mind, though the quantity of ISIS and Cartel execution videos is also rather high)

There is free speech, and then there is sensible. In NZ we don't use the perpetrators name and we don't want you looking at his messages. Get over it!

From the article: "Let’s be clear, each and every one of the blocked websites operates lawfully – that includes removing illegal material when requested."

So being 'sensible' means conceding censorship to corporations, without involving the legal system?

The hole in information caused by the censorship is causing people to come up with and perpetuate all sorts of crazy accusations and conspiracies about what "really" happened or why. The truth and fact of the what (video) and why (manifesto) is important clarification to the situation. Censorship is causing mystery, unrest, and false blame.

There is no mystery whatsoever.

The video is footage of someone murdering people, and the manifesto is a mess right wing islamophobia and strange call-outs.

Both are offensive both at a basic human level, and under the legal definition here in NZ.

There's no information hole - the contents of the video and the manifesto have been very widely reported.

What do you really expect to learn that you can't already learn from the reporting?

> and the manifesto is a mess right wing islamophobia

Except it's not - it's a mess of a "third position" white ethnonationalism.

And I know it because I could read it.

>we don't want you looking at his messages. Get over it!

Do you realize how authoritarian you sound?

Yes. I know!. It's been a bad week.

There will always be a bad week, a tragedy, a heinous crime, an 'attack on your way of life' - that is when you must fight for your freedoms the hardest, because that is when they will be taken if you don't.

Well, we could just turn the entire internet off, then the messages would surely be hidden.

Archive.is has a lot more than one page.

You joke, but I'm convinced our police and government know even less about technology than in Australia where they tried to ban encryption.

Well that would be silly.

the point is, you have to draw a line somewhere, and if the line is "nobody can see anything this guy wrote" then the collateral damage is going to be perhaps just too much.

When I said Archive.is has more than one page, I meant we're blocking millions of non-offending pages for the sake of blocking one that offends.

So, how far will we go? Block Archive.is? Block Facebook? The whole internet?

This level of heavy handedness was unprecedented in the west, and is more characteristic of China than anything else.


He has no name! Not now.

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