DISCLAIMER: If I didn’t post some of these opinionated rants I feel I would never blog at all.“Mother should I trust the government?” I’ve been reading a few articles about the revised Search & Surveilence bill that’s going before the select commitee in a few days time. None of the article’s I’ve read have anyhitng positive to say about it, and after doing a quick search, none of the articles on Google’s first page do either. I’m not surprised that the ‘aim’ of those pushing the bill forward is to combat organized crime. I’m just sad that they feel they it’s right to give some very invaisive, and suspecting powers to companies and consortiums who really don’t need them.
To quote from ‘The Standard:’
“- If they have a policy on strip-searching they may use it. If they have suspicion they may conduct a warrantless search, and seize items of interest in plain view.
– They may hack into your computer and conduct fishing expeditions for crimes you may have committed.
– 24-hour video and audio surveillance (and any future sort of surveillance) gets classed the same as a search, making it much more easily authorised. And where warrants are required they need not be obtained from a judge, but from a ‘registrar” or possibly a JP.
– Police trespass on private property? It’ll now be fine.
Along with search and surveillance powers it introduces a new ‘Examination Order’. This requires someone to report to the police for questioning and removes the right to silence. The new version of the bill allows you to go before a judge to have them determine if you are incriminating yourself, thereby incriminating yourself…
Another new power will be Production Orders this allows ‘enforcement officers’ to sit back and order you to produce documents that you have, or will have in future, on an on-going basis if they suspect that an offence has been committed.” I simply do not buy the defence that ‘if you’ve done noting wrong, you have nothing to worry about.’ I don’t trust any organization run by human beings to use these powers in a completely upright manner. I wouldn’t be surprised if I woke up one morning to find that big content had hacked my computer and removed any music that hadn’t been purchased from the iTunes store because I ripped a copy from the CD I paid for. I wouldn’t be surprised if every car enthusiast in Christchurch had their cars and cellphones bugged (except for the Mayor’s V8 falcon, of course). I wouldn’t even be surprised if it was made legal or police to raid student flats because the purchase of a keg of beer came up on a student’s transaction history, or a text message about a friday night piss-up. It’s not just this bill that bothers me either. Research In Motion received ultimatums from several countries in the middle east, as well as India to hand over the technology that has made Blackberry phones so popular. Their so-solid encryption. These governments are claiming that the terror attacks and insurgent activities that take place within their borders are being conducted on blackberries because of their encryption. Frankly, if I were a terrorist I wouldn’t be stupid enough to use the same phone twice. The problem with that logic is, because the smart ones use burner phones, eventually the search and surveilence will cover everything everybody says in a phone call or sends in an email, or types in a text message. And for that matter, what about Marion high school in the states turning on the webcams of the macbooks it issues out to studetns wherever they are? If that wasn’t a case of dirty old men, then I don’t know what is. This is all enough to make me consider giving up electronic technology, the one thing that has been my bigest hobby for the majority of my existance, to go off the grid. Find a cave in fijordland and live out the rest of my days there, or disappear into the heart of Africa with my wife, (she would definitely like that idea) never to be seen by the west again. But really, does that help anyone? I guess we’ll have to wait, pray and see. I’ll keep using this stuff. I’ll give it exactly what I’ve been giving it up to this point. I’ll watch the news to see if this bill gets passed with unanimous applause inside the parliament house, or thrown out after a tsunami of outcry from the rest of the country. I’ll try, with God’s grace, to be as good a Christian as I can, and I’ll keep telling people that if they don’t want the world to know, don’t put it on the internet. But if I still see teenagers in Christchurch arrested for merely having a flash car, or see reports of officers bugging bathrooms to watch ‘suspicious individuals’ shower then screw it. I’m gone. If You don’t see me on the internet again, I’m (probably) not dead. Just out the back of the back of beyond.