Posted on August 24, 2011

Racist Comments on Internet Could Become Illegal

TV NZ, August 24, 2011

Denying there was a holocaust and posting racist comments online could become illegal if New Zealand signs up to an international treaty.

Adopting the Europe Cybercrime Convention is up for consideration in Police Minister Judith Collins’ three-year plan to stamp out organised crime.

The convention criminalises “the dissemination of racist and xenophobic material” on the internet.

“We are looking at whether to sign up or not to that strategy,” Collins told TV ONE’s Breakfast .

“But it’s very important to understand that before we do so we will go through it, and look at all the pros and cons.

“We can sign up to conventions but still have some reservations on them.”

Identity theft, money laundering and hacking are other issues targeted in the plan, which aims to remove impediments to fighting organised crime.

Collins said the point is to send the message that New Zealand is “not open for business” to organised crime syndicates.

She said while New Zealand was at the bottom of the world geographically, it is not at the bottom of the world when it came to involvement in money laundering.

“The whole point of the strategy is to say that we are looking at all these areas, that we do have a plan in place,” she said.

“We believe it is quite a problem and certainly some of the steps being taken in the last year or so have been about addressing that.

“When we have things like methamphetamine being used in the way that it is in this country, quite clearly we do end up with money laundering.”

One of the obstacles in addressing cybercrime to date was a lack of information shaing among Government agencies, Collins said.

“That’s really crucial to this because we have lots of Government agencies which have lots of different bits of information.

“When they’re all put together, you can sometimes get a pattern which shows we have criminals working to undermine our country”

Collins said she did not think it would be necessary to monitor bank accounts as part of the crackdown, but the plan does propose more reporting of suspicious transactions.

If National is re-elected the plan will implemented over three years.