Harmful Digital Communications Act
This Act came into force on July 3. It’s probably a good idea for all posters to check out the information about it published by the Dept of Justice. It seems to provide the opportunity for people who don’t like something that was posted to ask/demand that it be taken down. The site administrator then needs to contact the author and ask if it can be taken down. If the author refuses, so the story goes, then the aggrieved party can take the matter to as-yet-to-be-established agency and then to a District Court which can order the post be removed.
The Act seems to be a dangerous process of facilitating censorship. Site hosts will probably just remove anything that anyone wants removed because this will provide them with ‘Safe Harbour’ ensuring they won’t have to defend their site in formal legal procedures with the possibility of huge fines.
We can predict that this law like many others will be applied in a sexist way favouring women and disadvantaging men. Women who claim to feel ‘seriously emotionally distressed’ (for which there are no diagnostic criteria or other test except whether the judges believe it) will simply demand that anything they don’t like is removed. Men who claim to feel seriously emotionally distressed especially by anything apparently written by women will be laughed at in the normal way.
In both civil and criminal cases, the courts will take into account factors such as the age of the victim, the context, how widely the communication spread, and whether it was true or false. The courts will also weigh up people’s right to freedom of expression.
Ha, just watch this space. Factors to be taken into account will include whether the writer has a penis or not. And we all know that when it comes to ‘people’s rights’ this often doesn’t include male people. When it gets to the District Court, the judge only has to claim to believe that the posting ‘will cause’ serious emotional distress, not that it ‘has caused’. So the judges are being authorized to base their decisions on fortune telling.
Legislation like this always seems to be written with an agenda to provide women with the ability to repress or harm men, and in this case men’s opinions and writing. The law is written in vague enough terms to let misandry be applied, and it will be.
Interestingly, the behaviour of the White Ribbon campaigners in badly misrepresenting men’s posts after conveniently having removed them from their Facebook page, and in publishing unrelated material alongside claims about particular individuals to discredit them, would be illegal under this law. We will go back and check what the White Ribbon people still have published. It would be satisfying to show them up formally for the bullies they are. Unfortunately, no District Court is likely to be prepared to embarrass Judge Boshier’s organisation or any other feminist wrongdoing.