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Cyber Racism

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By bradmic
Words 1327
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Evaluating effectiveness
* Protection of Individual rights – Are individuals looked after by this law? Are people’s rights infringed? * Enforceability – Is it possible to enforce the law? * Accessibility – Is the law difficult to access in terms of expense, is it time consuming, unduly stressful or complex? * Resource efficiency – Does enforcing the law or accessing the law cost huge amounts, would there be a cheaper or more appropriate way of responding to the issue * Responsiveness – Does the law keep up with societies expectations? Does it meet our needs? Is it out of date or behind the times in some way? * Justice been achieved? – Does the law create just outcomes? Is it moral? * Application of the rule of law – Are all people treated equally by the law? Are some people privileged or discriminated by the law? * Meeting society’s needs – Does the law do what society wants it to do? Does it keep pace with our evolving needs? How the law has been out-dated by social change e.g. same-sex marriage, or by technologies e.g. protection of privacy?

Criteria: (A few of the aforementioned criteria)
Thesis: (An educated opinion on the answer to the question)
Content: (Cases/Laws regarding the question)

Legal Assignment – Cyber Racism
Assess the effectiveness of the legal system in addressing the use of technology and its impact on individuals focusing on: Cyber-racism

Technology is best described as the use of knowledge to develop or engineer useful things intended to solve problems or make life easier in general. Technology plays a large role in our everyday lives, whether we are completing complex tasks such as analysing DNA from a crime scene to even minute tasks like sweeping the floor; technology has impacted us all. Resulting from the widespread access to technology and the continuous development of new technologies our laws must change in order to accommodate these creations. One prime example of an issue resulting from technological advancements is cyber-racism.
Cyber-racism is defined as any use of information and communication technologies to convey racist attitudes and behaviour which intends to cause harm or distress to another person. This includes but is not limited to: racist material published online such as images, videos, or racist websites as well as racist comments, images and language used in text messages, email or social networking sites. The issues arising from advancements in technology are evident in our everyday life, and our legal system is generally effective in addressing the use of technology and its impacts on individuals, particularly regarding cyber-racism.
One case regarding cyber-racism is Jones v Toben (September 2002). This case involved numerous websites constructed and maintained by the defendant, Frederick Toben (the director of the Adelaide Institute). The websites contained various opinion-related comments regarding the holocaust. The prosecution claimed that the websites were unlawful under Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth). The judge found that the content was posted in violation of this act under interpretation of the law which states ‘It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if: (a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate, or intimidate another person or a group of people’ after the content was deemed ‘public’ as it was posted on the internet with no password protection. The defendant was forced to remove the material, as well as any other similar materials, from all the World Wide Web sites controlled by him or the Adelaide Institute and not to republish such materials. In this case, the legal system proved effective in addressing the use of technology and its impact on individuals. It was responsive to changing technology as this was the first Australian case where the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) had been applied to the internet, also making the law more enforceable. In doing so, it was able to better protect the rights of individuals and their Human Rights. Overall, this process highlights how the law was very effective in addressing the use of technology.
Another case arising from technology was one between two employees at a finance company. The complainant in the case alleged that his former supervisor sent him an offensive email about Muslim women. He also alleged that the respondent discriminated him in front of other employees by referring to him as an ‘Arab’ and a ‘bomb thrower’. After the complainant made an internal grievance about his supervisor, he alleged that he was further discriminated against as his higher duties were removed, his work was over-scrutinised and his performance unfairly criticised. The respondent denied sending the email and said his comments were misunderstood. The company also denied that any action taken in relation to the complainant’s work performance was because of his race or the fact he made an internal grievance. The key legal issue in this case is whether the actions of the company were based off of race. The debate focused around whether the complainant’s loss of higher duties was a result of discrimination against his racial background or his internal grievance. The complaint was resolved at a conciliation conference where respondent provided a verbal apology to the complainant. The company agreed to pay the complainants legal costs of $5000 as well as $10,000 to assist his career development. The company also agreed to hold a staff meeting to confirm that such behaviour within the workplace is unacceptable. This case highlights how technology such as emails can be used as a basis for racism. The case proves how alternatives to court such as conciliation conferences are used to solve issues arising from technology, also making the case resource efficient because of the fact that conciliation conferences are cheaper and consume less time than court. In knowledge that the company’s actions were discriminative, a settlement was reached between the two parties, further protecting the complainant’s individual rights. The case was also effective in achieving justice for the complainant, as well as proving that the law is accessible in less formal ways than court. Thus supporting the aforementioned statement that the law is very effective in addressing the use of technology and its impacts on individuals, particularly regarding cyber-racism.
In addition to the cases, the New South Wales laws have also been amended as a result of technological advancements. The Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) has been regulated many times since its creation in order to keep up with society’s needs and expectations. In June 2010, the section regarding racism was amended to include cyber racism. It states: “An act of cyber racism could be considered unlawful under this NSW Act, providing it: 1) Takes place in a public area 2) Is identified as discriminatory conduct 3) Is considered a serious incitement of violence or offence towards a racial group. This set grounds for when an act can be considered as Cyber-racism. This emphasises the effectiveness of the legal system in addressing the use of technology as it is very effective in showing responsiveness to society’s continually changing needs and expectations. It also creates equality within society by making acts of racism committed using technology suffer similar consequences to acts of racism committed without the use of technology, proving effectiveness regarding the rule of law. Therefore, the legal system is largely effective in addressing the use of technology.
In conclusion, the Australian legal system is very effective in addressing the use of technology and its impact on individuals. As technology improves, it has a larger impact on individuals – particularly regarding cyber-racism. The legal system is very responsive to changing times and is constantly improving in order to meet society’s needs. It is also further improving individual’s rights by ensuring they aren’t discriminated against and endeavouring to become widely accessible. As a result of this, our legal system is extremely effective in combatting cyber-racism and addressing impacts of the use of technology on individuals as a whole.

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