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Vic Uni, InternetNZ welcome 3rd Cyberlaw Fellow

Media Release - 23 April 2008

Victoria University and InternetNZ welcome 3rd Cyberlaw Fellow

The recently appointed Senior Research Fellow in Cyberlaw at Victoria University’s Law Faculty is to work in the area of privacy law, focusing on gaps in the law regarding government access to private data and the degree to which threats to national security override New Zealanders’ right to privacy.

Cynthia Laberge is the third incumbent of this fellowship and succeeds Philip Greene. The inaugural Fellow, Judit Bayer, has published her paper “Liability of Internet Service Providers for Third Party Content”. It is available from the Law School office for $25 plus GST.

The fellowship is a joint project funded by InternetNZ and Victoria’s Law Faculty. It is administered through the Victoria University of Wellington Foundation.

Cynthia Laberge has a law degree from the Columbus School of Law in Washington DC and considerable experience working in US law firms, primarily in California.

Her career with San Francisco’s Hanson, Bridgett, Marcus, Vlahos & Rudy’s intellectual property and litigation departments from 1999 to 2005 coincided with the evolution of cyberlaw. “Being an IP lawyer in the Northern District of California, the home of Silicon Valley and the tech boom (bust, and new boom!) was a stimulating environment in which to practise and learn,” she says. “Many high-profile IP cases are filed there.”

The Cyberlaw fellowship at Victoria’s Law Faculty is one of the first of its kind in the world. “The internet is an area of life which is developing at breakneck speed,” says Dean of Victoria’s Law Faculty, Professor Tony Smith. “Issues of privacy, contempt, name suppression, free press and fair trial pose recurring problems for common law.

The internet has had the effect of an explosive device and it is vital the law around it develops.”

“This fellowship and the research it produces is an important part of that process and is internationally significant.”

Keith Davidson, InternetNZ’s Executive Director, says the Cyberlaw fellowship is making a significant contribution to Internet-related legal research. “Cynthia Laberge will continue the momentum already built up, and her focus on privacy law is very timely for New Zealand and the Internet at large.”

“I am looking forward to the prospect of a year’s in-depth analysis,” says Cynthia Laberge. “It is an honour to be able to contribute to the evolution of our understanding of this area of the law.”


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