Intruder Alert: State snoopers in your computer

Green Party MP Keith Locke is concerned that the new Search and Seizure Powers Bill will further intrude on New Zealanders’ privacy.

“Much of a person’s life is increasingly on their computer these days, so it is worrying that the bill provides more general powers to search computers, even by remote access or hacking,” Mr Locke says.

“While such provisions might help police apprehend law breakers, we do have to worry about the growing intrusion on our privacy – or a creep towards a surveillance state – inherent in the wider use of electronic interception, tracking devices and the searching of home computers.

“The bill could encourage ‘fishing expeditions’ because it will now be permitted for information to be gathered on a range of crimes, not just those mentioned in the search warrant.

“It is good that the bill does introduce more consistency in search and surveillance activity, and more systematic reporting, but as a whole it tips the balance towards more intrusive police powers as against privacy protection.”