greenrightsThe New Zealand Green Party today released what is the first Crowd Sourced Internet Rights and Freedom Bill. Beating out Kim Dotcom’s promises from the Internet Party, which fails to have an actual registered political party, leader, MP’s, or formal policy.

This is a minor coup and regardless of what you think about the rest of the Green’s policy, or the way that your political allegiance swings, it’s damn good. It’s better than every other party so far, in my opinion. Labour remains to throw the curtain off their policy, which I expect (listening to the rumours around town) to be as good if not better. But I’m guessing.

A moment. I have no political allegiance. Never have. I’m an observer when it comes to these things and I have a keen interest in the way that government policy influences the ICT industry, and more importantly, the way it influences over 45,000 ICT workers in New Zealand. Added to that, the Greens and Labour are the first out of the gate on ICT policy while the others are either late, or have no idea.

“The Bill proposes 10 rights and freedoms for the Internet:

1. The right to access
2. Freedom from search, surveillance and interception
3. Freedom of expression
4. Freedom of association
5. Right to privacy
6. Right to encryption technology
7. Right to anonymity
8. Right to a safe and secure Internet
9. Freedom of innovation
10. Freedom from restriction”

Source

One of the other statements the Greens makes is the introduction of the Government Chief Technology Officer. You could assume that this will replace the Government Chief Information Officer, currently buried in the Department of Internal Affairs. Seriously people, as technologists, you really want your own ministry and advocate, not a wall of DIA bureaucracy. Especially when you consider that ICT, on the growth map, will surpass dairy. That’s right, if you read the stats then we will outgrown the traditional industry in the next few, short, years.

Not everyone is impressed, and they make some good points, critics of the policy (via a recent NBR article), make some points that are interesting:

“As for us ICT workers – yes our days can be long, but our skills aren’t common and so in exchange we get a much higher than average wage – and the ability to change job readily if we dislike our current one. This policy sounds like a push to unionise IT- something that the vast majority of IT workers in my sphere would heavily resist.

In short – much waffle, little useful substance or anything that shows any depth of understanding of ICT- about what I expect from the Greens.”- Source

I think that while the policy itself may be lacking some detail, at least there is an actual policy.

Labour, granted, are working on theirs.

We’ve heard nothing from anyone else big or small, they still seem to be stuck on the idea that ICT is married to broadcasting, if at all.

What is most interesting is the fact that the Greens have used the word “Crowd Sourced”.

Members of the public will be invited to shape the proposed law, which will protect ten basic rights and freedoms for Internet users, as well as providing for an Internet Rights Commissioner and a Chief Technology Officer for the country.”

They need to move fast. Because while they have the march on Kim Dotcom and his … “party”… it won’t last long.

 

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