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Stephanie Dunn Poses Questions On Powers Of Online Safety Commission

Stephanie Dunn Poses Questions On Powers Of Online Safety Commission
Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre
May 03
10:17 2018

‘Invest in Police stations, improve it rather than setting up a commission.’

 

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) has welcomed the Online Safety Bill. However their concern was when this Bill was first introduce in Parliament they said there was no consultation made prior to the drafting of this Bill.

This was highlighted by FWCC legal officer Stephanie Dunn during their submissions to the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights on the Bill yesterday.

She also highlighted that the creation of the Online Safety Commission was, she said, not clear.

“There is no sense of qualification or what the commissioner should hold before he or she is appointed,” she said.

Ms Dunn added that there was also no hiring or dismissal process that was outlined in the Bill.

“In addition what is very worrying is, this legislation gives criminal immunity to the commission and has no civil remedy for action taken by the commission,” she said.

“It creates invasion of privacy because the Bill gives the commission quite a lot of powers to do all things necessary for the performance of its function.”

She emphasised that the section allowed the commission to have access to the private emails, messages online or digital communications from individual organisation, if they believe it was to be used for investigations.

“That is our concern, especially when your definition of harm is quite broad,” she said.

Ms Dunn said: “FWCC suggested that instead of creating an online safety commission, where you have to set-up from scratch. Why don’t you just invest and improve on the available institution that you already have in place.

“You have the cyber-crime unit. What is the use of having one already set up within the Police Force and then say that you are not good enough we will set up a commission?

“Why not invest on what is already there.

“So why not give them the responsibility as well to investigate,” she said.

“Because it is common knowledge that most complaints will go to the Police. The main thing here too is police stations are situated everywhere in the country. It will be very easy for a person to go to a Police station. It will be much easier than trying to locate  a commission office within their area.

“We also have to think of the outer islands as well.

“We cannot assume that they are out of touch with technologies.

“Invest in Police stations, improve it rather than setting up a commission.” Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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