You’ve heard about SJWs including trigger warnings in posts and just brushed the idea off while laughing. But now, if you’re living in New Zealand, trigger warnings will pretty much become mandatory for every single statement you make online.
The Harmful Digital Communications Bill that passed through the NZ parliament this week with a 116-5 vote will also punish “incitement to suicide” with three years in jail. While the intent of this bill is to stop cyber-bullying, the consequences it may have on free speech online are impossible to fully comprehend at this moment.
Social media websites will preemptively remove content and ban users to avoid bad publicity. Internet providers will refuse to host anything labeled as “sexist or racist,” which were labels we’ve seen unfairly attached to GamerGate. Once these standards apply to New Zealand, social media will eventually apply them to all their users. Then all it takes is for national governments to sync their legislation with these draconian rules and you’ve got an Orwellian society installed through the back door.
This bill will work by having an Approved Agency (actual working name) appointed by the government, which will receive complaints from private citizens, including school headmasters. The agency will try to mediate matters and basically force the bully to apologize. If that fails, then the matter may go to court via civil lawsuit for “emotional harm.” The logical consequence is that this Agency will actually resolve playground scuffles.
Though there are bound to be highly publicized cases of teenage girls getting saved by this bill, its real purpose is to shield NZ government employees from any criticism whatsoever, since the general public doesn’t care that much nor has the means to file a lawsuit for something said on Facebook. But politicians do. Send a mean tweet to an NZ politician, accusing him of nepotism and corruption? Get ready for a lawsuit on the basis of “cyber-bullying.”