Friday, March 2, 2012

It's Back!

It's back with a vengence - the debate over the Search and Surveillance Bill is definitely on the books again.

The legislation passed its second reading on Thursday night by 61 votes to 59, with National, ACT and United Future voting in support. Next week the Bill will probably move to its committee stage.

National say they have changed the Bill, but there isn't much difference. This Bill still dramatically increases state power. It still removes the so-called right to silence. It still allows a dramatic 'legal' increase in powers of state search and surveillance.

Some of the most disturbing provisions still include:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Remote access searches of computers: agencies will be empowered to search computers (including for things like web-based email)
  • 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.
  • 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
This Bill must be stopped.

Judith Collins says they have adequate safeguards to protect us against unresaonable surveillance. These include prior approval from judiciary before warrants are granted. She also says that anyone feeling their rights are infringed after this Bill becomes law, she says that we have the 'ability to seek redress through the courts when the search or surveillance is unreasonable'. She makes a few basic misassumptions there, including the fact that she thinks 'justice' is accessible and affordable for all.

Meaningless words from her. Anyone following the trial of the 'Urewera 4', arrested as a result of police Operation 8, will know that 'prior approval from judiciary' for the issuing of warrants is worthless.

The state already has unreasonable powers of search and surveillance in this country. We all need to be doing as much as possible to stop this Bill now.

We managed to get it put off in 2009, we can't let them sneak it into law now. We must fight back.

Organse demonstrations, harass members of Parliament - do whatever you can do.

Stop the Bill Now!