Well that got my attention

I’ve not yet had time to read the Search Surveillance Bill, but have added it to my weekend reading, after viewing this story:

Sweeping powers to spy, bug conversations and hack into private computers could be given to a web of state agencies as diverse as Inland Revenue and the Meat Board.

The yesterday warned of the “chilling” implications of a proposed law that would see the intrusive powers usually only available to the police extended to all agencies with enforcement responsibilities.

It said that under the law, council dog control officers would be able to enter homes to install a surveillance device and the Commerce Commission would be able to detain people.

Inland Revenue would get the powers to assist its tax investigations, while the Meat Board would get them to enforce breaches of export rules.

The Human Rights Commission chief commissioner, Rosslyn Noonan, said the Search Surveillance Bill was giving the powers away to a “grab-bag of every possible agency”.

This summary sounds very bad:

WHAT’S IN THE BILL

THE POWERS:

Video surveillance, watching private activity on private property, installing tracking devices, detaining people during a search, power to stop vehicles without a warrant for a search, warrantless seizure of “items in plain view”, power to hack into computers remotely, power to detain anyone at scene of search.

WHO WILL GET THEM:

Every agency with enforcement responsibilities, such as: Inland Revenue, Meat Board, local councils, Overseas Investment Office, Accident Compensation Corporation, Environment Risk Management Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Pork Industry Board.

I feel bad I haven’t been more up to date on this issue. At first glance it looks pretty horrific. Select Committee submissions have already closed but if the Select Committee doesn’t pare back the range of agencies and powers, then amendments can be done at the Committee of the Whole stage.

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