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Monday, October 01, 2012

10 reasons why todays police big brother spying powers make us one nation under CCTV

And so it comes to pass, the cops have their new spy powers effective as of today...

New police surveillance law takes force
New police powers over search and surveillance that officials say could tidy up messy, unclear and outdated laws take effect from midnight.

Our bigotry is like our fascism - it's very casual. We like a Police State as long as it's laid back about it, no uppity Police State that thinks it's better than the rest of us!

Our culture's worship of police authority is one of our worst traits.

We are a nation of sleepy hobbits easily manipulated by Shire Volk into handing over vast unchecked powers to the State. With the passing of the draconian Search and Surveillance Bill, a little part of progressive NZ died as the Police managed to get their wet dream wish list of spying powers through without any real safe guards whatsoever. Effectively we've just handed the eye of Mordor over to the state.

In the wake of the GCSB farce, how can any NZer really be safe knowing the State isn't randomly spying on them now?

This isn't a left or right wing issue, every NZer should be deeply concerned over granting so many state departments the spying powers of the Police.

The irony here is that NZers are the first to rear up on their hind legs and bleat 'NANNY STATE' when a Government attempts to remove the legal loop hole that allows abusive parents to get away with bashing their kids, yet not a whimper from them when the State allows 70 agencies the ability to break into our homes and spy on us with all of the 'authority' of a fucking Justice of the Peace.

This is Nanny State on meth with a machine gun.

Here are the 10 reasons we should never have accepted the Search and Surveillance Bill.

1: These spying powers are not just for the police - they can be extended to 70 other Government agencies. Why the hell should the Pork Board be allowed to break into your home and plant spy cameras?

2: The so called safe guards for the other Government agencies is that to use these powers will require the signature of the Minister. Seeing as John Key signed off on the new BMW's 4 separate times and claimed he still had no idea what he had agreed to, a Minister's signature as a safe guard is as flimsy as an umbrella is at protecting you from tsunamis.

3: The ONLY submission received in support of these dizzying new powers was from the Police, EVERY OTHER SUBMISSION was against it. How can we formulate public policy as sensitive as the power to spy on one another when the only support is from the ones gaining these new powers?

4: NZers have lost their right to silence, the Police can force you to answer questions on mere suspicion of you committing a crime now.

5: NZers now have to hand over any information to the Police not if they prove you are guilty of anything, but based on suspicion and if you refuse to provide this information, you can be jailed for 12 months.

6: The Police no longer have to get a search warrant based on evidence to spy on you, they only have to get a surveillance device warrant which can be obtained by any officer of any of the 70 Government agencies who can now ask for it based on no evidence at all, just their 'suspicion' that you might be involved in a crime. This surveillance device warrant can be obtained from just a bloody JP.

7: The Police and 70 other state agencies won't even need a warrant of any kind once you are arrested if they think further evidence is at another address. So you could be arrested on suspicion, and your car, workplace, friends homes etc etc can be searched without any warrant.

8: The powers are sold as being used against 'organized crime' but the definition by the Police of 'organized crime' is 3 people who know each other.

9: Even if the agency doesn't find what they are looking for as outlined in their suspicions, any evidence they do find can still be used. This means the spying is pure fishing expedition, the 'suspicion' used to obtain the spying warrant doesn't even need to match what they find.

10: These NZ spying powers by every Government agency go well beyond anything in Europe, Canada, Australia or even the US.

I've watched the progress of this Bill from the very start and with hand on heart would have sworn there was no way this would have advanced as far as it has. I thought the fiasco of the so called Urewera terrorism trial would have put a screaming halt to these new spying powers. To my genuine shock it was used to ram through retrospective legislation legalizing illegal Police spying tactics.

This abomination that erodes so many of our civil rights should never have been allowed to pass. The history books will be far more damning of our collective apathy on this than the current entertainment driven media are.



At 1/10/12 10:24 am, Blogger Transparency in New Zealand, Kiwileaks. said...

Days after the Great Dotcom Disaster - unbelievable! Is there something in the water that causes people to just accept this? The Secret Life of Information:

At 1/10/12 3:44 pm, Blogger Thomas Beagle said...

I believe that some of these aren't quite right due to being changed in the Select Committee process. Here's my comments on the 10 points:

1. Only the Police gets the ability to put spy cameras in your home, although Customs and the Department of Internal Affairs can also apply to the Minister of Justice to be able to do so (s50).

2. Basically correct, although it implies that the Minister would have to authorise it each time. My reading is that they get authorised once and then they're good to go (subject to getting a warrant, etc). s50

3. Unsure. While some submissions were in favour of parts of the Bill, I don't remember any in particular in support of trespass visual surveillance.

4. Correct. Police can get an Examination Order (s33-43) to force you to testify or a Production Order (s70-79) to force you to hand over documents or other evidence. Only for serious crimes, etc, etc, etc.

5. As for point 4.

6. In theory a surveillance warrant will be harder to get than a search warrant. Search warrants can be issued by any authorised person, while surveillance warrants must be issued by a Judge (s53).

7. I think they can only do this if they believe the offender is at the location. (s7-9) However there are also a number of other provisions that allow warrantless searches.

8. Correct, as three people can make up an organised crime group. (Crimes Act s98A).

9. Correct. Police will have the power to seize and act upon "items in plain view" when doing other searches. (s123)

10. Arguably incorrect, as the US and Europe have also been going hard out on increasing state surveillance powers. NZ is just tagging along and doesn't yet have "police can see any digital communication without a warrant" powers.

All in all it's a damn confusing law. Anyone know of a good breakdown of what powers have/haven't been granted and to whom?


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