Can Police use spyware?

A Police staff member has speculated that the Police may not need a warrant to use a computer keystroke recording device to intercept e-mail or other internet communications.

I am not a lawyer, but my understanding of the Crimes Amendment Act dealing with unauthorised computer access is that the Police do need a warrant. It was a point many submissions were made on, including one from InternetNZ.

It would be nice for an MP to ask a couple of parliamentary questions to the Police Minister asking for confirmation that the Police do not, and wil not, use spyware without a warrant.

At an Internet law conference late last year a related issue came up in relation to the SIS. My suggestion was that if the SIS really wants to monitor someone’s e-mail they should simply set up a open wireless Internet broadcast within range of the person’s house. There would be an 80% chance the suspect would go “Cool, free wireless broadband” and start using it as long as the network was not called “SIS1” or the like. No protection against stupidity 🙂

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