VirtualMV/Internet and Web/Legal/Content

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Computer crimes and New Zealand Law

  • Simpson Grierson (2001)[1]


Quote by Sun Microsystem’s CEO Scott McNealy concerning internet privacy in 1999: “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.”

  1. Individuals on the web site (photos, email addresses, bios)
  2. Where they may be included in the images
  3. Privacy Policy should be included on the site

Using Photos of Individuals

In New Zealand you can pretty much take a picture of a stranger in a public place (unless you are using it as a means of harassment) and publish that image without breaching the privacy act. However, putting yourself in the subject’s shoes - it would of course, be good manners to ask permission. If you do intend to sell or license photographs of people it is good practice to use talent release forms and a release from liability for the actions of the purchaser. Example talent release form.

Commercial use of images - considerations

Images of strangers used commercially without permission can cause problems - if that person takes exception to being seen to be endorsing a product, the company advertising that product can be prosecuted under the fair trading act (however it is unlikely the photographer would be prosecuted) Reference: NZ Photographer Issue 16 June 23 2010 – sourced from pdf file.


  • When a person is "doxed", all their personal information is made available for all users to see. Names, addresses, phone numbers and school/work are not spared, and this usually leads to the person ceasing all ties with said websites, if not the interwebs as a whole (Doxing, n.d.)[2].
  • Doxing: What Is Doxing and How Do They Do It (YouTube)
  • Sites
    • pipl Try entering your name to see what appears
    • whois To identify data about someone with a web site
    • ancestry Allows a "hacker" to trace a person from your family tree

2011 May 02: Sony PlayStation Network Hacked

  • The Privacy Commissioner is watching Sony closely after the hacking of its PlayStation Network placed personal information, which could include credit card details, of potentially more than 300,000 New Zealanders at risk.
  • 77 million accounts were exposed to the attack on the network - an online service that lets PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable owners play multiplayer games online and purchase content such as games and music.
  • personal information such as names, addresses, email addresses and login passwords had been stolen, but could not say whether credit card data which it had encrypted had been accessed.
  • Sony Australia said more than 1.5 million Australian user accounts including potentially 280,000 credit card numbers were in the hands of hackers
  • "This is a chilling example of the danger of personal data 'honeypots', a single point of failure that provides networked access to the data of thousands or millions of people and thus proves an irresistible lure to hackers, crackers and cybercriminals from around the world," David Vaile, executive director of UNSW's Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, said.

Ref: 300,000 Kiwis' details may have been exposed (Rogers, 2011)[3]

2011, March 24: Government email interception

Google allege China is interfering with Google's Gmail service, blocking email messages and making them appear as technical glitches. "There is no technical issue on our side--we have checked extensively," a Google spokesperson says. "This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail." The unrest in the Middle East is believed to have prompted China to tighten communications access. Google says an attack from within China causes the Web application to freeze when users click the send button or take other actions. Gmail is blocked sporadically, halting access to the site for only a few minutes before the user's connection is restored. Security experts say China is likely using invisible intermediary servers to intercept network messages. Such transparent proxies would enable the government to quickly modify the content of communications before relaying the messages. How China and Others Are Altering Web Traffic (Lemos, 2011 March 24)[4]

2010, Dec: Wikileaks

An example of how difficult privacy can be to contain on the web is wikileaks.

WikiLeaks Avoids Shutdown as Supporters Worldwide Go on the Offensive

(Warrick & Pegoraro, 2010)[5]

The resilience of WikiLeaks despite attempts to shut it down is a testament to the extreme difficulty governments face in their attempts to control the Internet. "The Internet is an extremely open system with very low barriers to access and use," says Google's Vint Cerf. "The ease of moving digital information around makes it very difficult to suppress once it is accessible."

When WikiLeaks was blocked from using its primary Internet host, it shifted to another, while the number of mirror WikiLeaks sites exploded to more than 1,000.

Angry WikiLeaks' advocates launched attacks against sites that have severed ties to the group, including sites that stopped taking donations; PayPal, Visa and Mastercard, and the lawyers used to try to shut down the site.

WikiLeaks was targeted for shutdown because it disclosed sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables, but continued to publish them online, defying efforts to impede its access to funding and Web resources. WikiLeaks' lack of a central headquarters makes it immune to legal and political pressure, while outsiders' closure attempts are complicated by the organization's multi-continental Web infrastructure. "Something that's illegal in some countries but not others is very hard to keep off the Net, even though there's been some success in keeping it out of the countries where it's illegal," notes Internet Systems Consortium president Paul Vixie.



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