DO NOT GIVE THE NZ STATE THESE POWERS!
Select committee backs police spycams
Police should soon be able to install wireless cameras to spy on suspects in their homes after politicians signalled they will give new video surveillance laws the green light. Police will be able to covertly film people for up to two months with a warrant, and three days without a warrant in "limited circumstances" under the controversial Search and Surveillance Bill, currently before the justice and electoral select committee.
Brothers and sisters, it doesn't matter what part of the political spectrum you come from, giving the Police the power to break into your home, plant spy cameras and spy on your for 3 days without a warrant and expand those powers to 70 other state departments (including the bloody Pork Board) is unacceptable in a progressive liberal democracy.
Fundamental problems remain with the Bill:
One of the fundamental problems with this bill is that it makes on-going 24-hour-a-day surveillance equivalent to a one-off search. That conclusion is not accepted; the two are very different. The ability to watch and/or listen to people on a continuous basis is not the same thing as capturing evidence at a distinct moment in time.
Secondly, the bill dramatically shifts the centrality of video and audio surveillance to being the first and primary means of law enforcement and crime solving. The privacy implications for ordinary people from video and audio surveillance are profound. The current law says that audio surveillance can be utilized effectively as a last resort when other methods have not worked or are not available. We would argue that even this tight restriction is being abused by police.
Thirdly, the bill makes no differentiation between video and audio surveillance. Again, most people would not agree with that conclusion. The old adage, ‘A picture speaks a thousand words’ illustrates well why video surveillance is indeed a far greater invasion of privacy than audio surveillance. It is without hyperbole to say that legalising trespassory video surveillance would be ushering ‘Big Brother’ into people’s living rooms.
The authors of the Bill seek to balance ‘human rights’ with the State’s right to violate them. The State, however is the one making the rules, and as such, there is no ‘balance’. When our ‘human rights’ are not convenient for the police or other enforcement agencies, they are simply and routinely ignored. We believe that the so-called ‘Oversight’ provided by review clauses, the Privacy Commissioner or Ombudsman are simply incapable of holding any of these agencies to account.
Some of the most disturbing provisions:
1. Warrantless Searches- Circumstances in which ‘enforcement officers’ can search with no warrant are being expanded, now only ‘suspicion’ will be required to conduct a warrantless search.
2. Plain view searches – Grants ‘enforcement officers’ the right to seize items in plain view. We believe that this will apply to computers and other data storage devices. Once seized these items can be copied in their entirety.
3. Remote access searches of computers: agencies will be empowered to search computers (including for things like web-based email)
4. Examination orders: These orders require someone to report to the police for questioning. The right against self-incrimination is totally compromised by this law. You may have to go before a judge to have them determine if you are incriminating yourself, thereby incriminating yourself...a catch-22.
5. Production orders – allow ‘enforcement officers’ to sit back and order you to produce documents on an on-going basis that you have or will have in future if they suspect that an offence has been committed
As NZers we should resist giving the state these draconian powers at all costs, NZ - DO NOT LET THE STATE HAVE THESE POWERS, I call on all bloggers and anyone else with an interest in the balance of state and democracy to get involved and send a clear message to John Key that this massive erosion of our civil liberties is not acceptable to anyone of us!