Kiwis Drop Online Piracy Ban, Get Hit with New 419 Scam
Article by George Norman
On 24 Mar 2009
Internet users in New Zealand can now rejoice as the authorities have decided to drop the “3 strikes you’re out” law which would prohibit file sharers that were suspected of copyright infringement from accessing the internet. Get three notices that you are sharing copyrighted material without the owners consent and your ISP (internet service provider) is forced to cut your internet access. While the rest of Europe decided not to adopt such a legislative measure, New Zealand thought otherwise.

The whole thing started last year when the “Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Act 2008” was proposed, passed and signed to law. It added section 92A which stated that an “Internet service provider must have policy for terminating accounts of repeat infringers.” Enforcing the legislation also required a code of practice, so last month representatives from the music industry met with ISPs and tried to set one up. Since they failed to do so on their own and in the time frame allocated by the authorities, Prime Minister John Key came out to announce that an agreement will eventually be found, just that it will be delayed for a while.

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As it turns out, the parties involved could not agree on a proper code of practice, leading the New Zealand government to scrap the whole thing (section 92A). Simon Power, New Zealand’s Minister of Commerce commented: “Cabinet today decided that section 92A of the Copyright Act 1994 will not come into force on 27 March as scheduled, but will be amended to address areas of concern. Allowing Section 92A to come into force in its current format would not be appropriate given the level of uncertainty around its operation.”

Section 92A, as it is currently written, will not come into effect. The thing that bothers a lot of people is whether the authorities will rewrite it completely (and if they do, what will the new version state) or will they patch it here and there.

In related New Zealand news, it seems that a new 419 scam is going around, but this one has a new twist to it. 419 scams, for those of you that do not know this, are some spammer’s attempt of getting you to part with your hard earned money. Regularly you will get an email from one of your friends, saying that they ran out of money in some distant corner of the world and they would like you to wire them some cash – or similar variations, ranging to the gruesome 419 death scam, when you are warned that unless you wire a certain amount of cash, you will be killed. Most times these scams are pretty obvious to spot: poor English, improper spelling, the email address is not your friend’s address, and so on.

In this latest New Zealand case, one businessman received a desperate message from one of his friends, saying that he had been robbed while in Alabama and that he urgently needs some money. Nothing new so far, but upon further inspection one had to notice that the message actually originated from that friend’s account. The business man in question is one Gary Hopkinson, architect, and his friend is Lynn Whyte, Greymouth builder and business associate. According to security experts, the most likely scenario is that Whyte’s email account was hacked by a computer virus; once access to the account was granted, bogus emails were sent out to all the people in his contacts list.

As a rule of thumb, you should exercise caution with any email message that is somehow related to money – either asks you to send money, or claims you won some huge amount of money and you need to claim it. Just as in the Wal-Mart SMS spam case , you should take the time to investigate the matter before deciding on a proper course of action.



Tags: New Zealand, ISP, Copyright infringement, 419 Scam
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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Kiwis Drop Online Piracy Ban, Get Hit with New 419 Scam
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