"There will be an urgent public meeting on Monday 30 August at 7pm at St Joseph's Church (Basin Reserve) in Wellington to address the just returned Search and Surveillance Bill. An interim report on the Search and Surveillance Bill was issued by the Justice and Electoral Select Committee last week. The report is an admission that the bill will confer enormous new powers onto approximately 70 government agencies," said Campaign Spokesperson Batch Hales.
"The report confirms that police will get a load of new powers: video surveillance where police trespass onto private property will be made legal; the circumstances in which audio bugging will be legal will be dramatically increased from what it is at present. The threshold for warrantless searches is being lowered, as are the circumstances for setting up roadblocks."
"Speakers at the public meeting will be Michael Bott from the Council for Civil Liberties speaking against the bill next to Select Committee chairman Chester Burrows, government MP for Whanganui, who will be there to try and justify the vast expansion of state power. At the meeting, the Campaign group will be urging people to make submissions and get involved in political action on the streets to stop the bill."
"Despite the modifications to the bill, the fundamental issues remain. It makes on-going 24-hour-a- day surveillance equivalent to a one-off search. Secondly, the bill makes video and audio surveillance the first and primary means of law enforcement and crime solving. 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. The privacy implications for ordinary people from video and audio surveillance are profound.
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 police trespass to install video surveillance would be ushering 'Big Brother' into people's living rooms."
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