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Thursday, June 28, 2007

NZ Police want big brother powers

Alt Tv/Fleet FM Breakfast News
NZ Police want big brother powers
Police want the power to fingerprint people without the need to arrest or lay charges against them. The proposal was among those presented at the first in a series of public meetings last night outlining possible changes in the review of the 1958 Police Act. The new Act is expected to be passed into law next year. Police would like to be able to use the latest technology -- which includes mobile fingerprint scanners and, in the future, eye scanners -- while working on the streets, for checking against the national database. Chairman of the Council for Civil Liberties Michael Bott said this would be a concern. "The ability for police to, in a sense, fingerprint anyone, not even for the suspicion of a crime is a worrying trend and it's got Orwellian overtones that should be resisted," he said. At a time when there is an investigation into ill tempered, low intelligence recruits, at a time right after a major inquiry into Police rape culture which discovered that there was evidence of Police Officers raping, assaulting and lying to cover one another and concludes that Police Culture will not be able to change on their own, at a time when top police chief Clint Rickards and two of his cop mates were put on trial for 3 separate rape allegations – at this time do we honestly want to give cops MORE unrestricted powers like taking your fingerprints or eye ball scan for no reason whatsoever? We live in a democracy where the individual has rights and these rights are protected by the government a society that allows it’s Police to take anyones fingerprints, not even for the suspicion of a crime, that’s called a police state.


At 28/6/07 11:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to mention the cops that use police computers to get private information ...


At 28/6/07 10:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

does this mean they will be able to fingerprint me the next time they catch me drinking 750 mls of wine from my pump bottle in the street?

At 29/6/07 7:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Hated by most

At 1/7/07 11:58 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There has been surprisingly little publicity about this. So little, in fact, that anybody I've mentioned it to has denied its existance and accused me of "making it up". I heard this first in a brief news item on the radio, it was only mentioned three times in one day and then it was gone. That was last week. So I waited to see what the media's reaction to this announcement of "police want ...... powers" would be - expecting of course a massive response. I went to the local news site on the computer and came up with the half page news item "Police seek extra powers in new police act". This was dated Wed. 27 June and I accessed it in the early hours of the morning (I work night shift hours) and the item was only available for about half an hour. When I tried to get the page back to show someone the next day, the "search engine" told me that it "did not exist".

This was discussed briefly on Danny Watson's talkback on Newstalk ZB on Thursday. He introduced it by saying "Do people feel that it time we had a national id card? This would help police with their new powers". I was horrified at this attitude, but more horrified at the many "agreeing" responses. People somehow seem to think that these things will just be used against "the crims".

So when I finally got time (earlier today) I went to the site "Issues, paper 5, powers and protections - police act review". And guess what?
"How to make your views known
Consultation on this issues paper has CLOSED!!!!

Gee, it can't have been "open" for very long!

Just in case people don't actually believe that NZ police are trying to cash in on new technologies (which have been proved to have questionable worth overseas) here's an excerp out of document:
"What particulars can be taken?
If section 57 is to be updated, there would also be an opportunity to recognise the availability of new technologies to confirm people's identities. This could clarify Police's ability to collect a wider category of biometric information, sourced from passive technologies like facial recognition (made possible by photographs); impressions taken from the exterior of a person's body (e.g., fingerprints); and non-intimate samples (e.g., hair or oral fluid) which allow DNA to be used as an identifier.

In jurisdictions like England and Wales, police powers to acquire identifying particulars have been extended to include the ability to take DNA samples from people while in detention following an arrest for recordable offences (see section 63 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 [PACE], as amended by section 10 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003). Similarly, Scottish police can take a DNA sample from anyone arrested or detained for an imprisonable offence. If there is no conviction or the case against the alleged offender does not proceed, the profile is removed from the Scottish DNA Database.

Developments like these suggest the possibility that, subject to more detailed policy work and consultation, there might be similar empowerments for New Zealand Police.

Question 6: Do you favour amending section 57 to allow a wider range of biometric data to be used for identity confirmation purposes? If so, what added safeguards might need to accompany such amendments?

here can particulars be taken?
In a similar vein, any updating of section 57 could help ensure police are able to make full use of advances in technology to quickly confirm identities. Currently, section 57 only allows identifying particulars to be taken at a (deemed) police station.

An example of the practical need to address section 57's current limitations is the emergence of Livescan fingerprinting. Mobile fingerprint scanners have been introduced by a number of police forces around the world, and New Zealand Police will soon introduce similar technology here. Hand-held Livescan devices allow electronic fingerprint images to be taken anywhere and uploaded for comparison with Police's national fingerprint database.

These new technologies promise to reduce the amount of time police spend on administration, and increase time spent on frontline operational duties. It is important any new Police Act reflects these developments in policing, and that powers such as those in section 57 are 'future-proofed' if at all possible.

There may be support for revamping the current section 57 power to enable police officers to require a person to provide identifying particulars (biometric data) outside of a police station, in situations where:

the person is reasonably suspected of having committed an offence; and
the officer has reasonable grounds for believing the identity given by the person is false, or it cannot satisfactorily be verified by other means.
If there is general support for extending police officers' powers in such areas, suitable safeguards could be designed to protect the rights of individuals. For instance, the extended power might come with a specific requirement that, once used for their intended purposes, biometric data like electronic images of fingerprints cannot be retained or added to any Police database. Further protections might seek to take account of people's privacy interests, to provide parameters around how police might physically collect such data.

Question 7: Do you support amending section 57 to enable police to require production of identifying particulars (biometric data) outside of police stations? If so, why; and what additional safeguards (if any) do you think may need to be provided for?

Future benefits of new technology
Taking this line of thinking a step further, it may be felt appropriate to ensure police powers under related legislation supports modern technology when it is deployed in the field. Again, Livescan fingerprinting offers a good case study. For example, under section 114 of the Land Transport Act 1998, enforcement officers are empowered to require the drivers of vehicles to give their name, address, date of birth, and other such particulars; with a matching power to arrest any drivers who are suspected of giving false or misleading information. If enforcement officers were also provided with the power to conduct on-the-spot checks of drivers' fingerprints, using mobile scanning devices, it should be possible to reduce the need to make arrests, in order to take drivers back to the station to confirm their identities.

As further developments like Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) start to take effect, the need for police to be able to quickly confirm drivers' identities will become even greater. (Again looking to United Kingdom experiences, around 60% of disqualified drivers are providing false details to police during targeted vehicle stops, following the use of ANPR information.) Awareness that roadside Livescan checks may be conducted should help deter drivers from offering false details, especially those seeking to avoid recognition as recidivist offenders. In turn, this should help to support the integrity of the Traffic Offence Notice system used to police illegal driving.

In the future, biometric data submitted for comparison with Police's central database from the roadside may also allow for matches against biometric data recovered from unsolved crime scenes. Any matches achieved in this way would guide officers whether to detain a suspect for further questioning, or to escort him or her to a police station to conduct more detailed inquiries. This would provide direct benefits to both Police and the wider community in terms of detecting, apprehending and bringing offenders to justice.

In all such cases, the rights of the individual could be safeguarded with a requirement that any biometric data taken in a roadside context would not be retained or added to Police's national database. In other words, it could not become a 'catch and release' exercise, whereby ever-greater biometric data holdings could be added to Police's database. However, if a person is summonsed or arrested for an offence after initial checks are carried out, then a full set of biometric information would be taken, as part of the normal investigative and detainee handling process.

Question 8: Do you have any suggestions on how to ensure police powers like section 57 under other legislation might most effectively support modern technology? Do you have any suggestions for how the rights of individuals would properly be safeguarded?"
In other words our gov't is saying "it's not fair, the Poms have these powers and we don't, we want them too, and we're going to get them no matter what people think".

Well IMHO at least we don't need Tony Blair's weird control-freak ideas (that have turned so many Britons against him) exported here.

I know it is "trendy" to go round shrieking ""I'm happy to give up my civil liberties for safety", and (as I read the other day) this is a "post-privacy and human rights free world", but isn't this going a bit too far?

At 4/7/07 10:51 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I wouldn't have any problem with having my fingerprints and DNA on a national database. If it helps crime fighters do their work with more accuracy and helps lift our pitiful detection levels whats the harm. Would love to see a poll on the issue?!?

At 4/7/07 6:51 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I just HAVE to ask you, "Anon." (above). Exactly HOW do you think that having your fingerprints and dna on a national database would "help crime fighters do their work with more accuracy" or "help lift our pitiful detection levels"!!!!!!!!!!

Do you realise that this "proposal" reverses the centuries' old cornerstone of democracy - the onus of proof? That is the "harm"!!!!

"Big brother" may get your fingerprints and DNA but this crazy government will never get mine!


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