I wrote this post on the Public Address blog the other day, and because it pretty much sums up what I feel about the new TSA legislation, the raids themselves, the likelihood that we have "terra" here in little old NZ, - and pretty much everything else to do with this contentious issue, I thought I'd add it to my blog, too.
The thing that's really niggling at me (amongst all the other things that I'm concerned about with this case...) is the whole "we had to use the TSA in order to get a warrant to bug/video/listen in to people's private conversations - because otherwise we wouldn't have been allowed to do that" from the police.
Now I'm not entirely sure whether that's an assumption that people have made about the police's reasoning behind using the TSA, or if that's a paraphrase of a direct quote from the police - but if it's the latter, then that really worries me.
Because what that's saying is "we wanted to get evidence about a bunch of people in a way that the laws of New Zealand don't normally allow (bugging etc). The only way we could do it is by invoking a very very serious law (the TSA), that deals with a very very serious crime (terrorism)."
As we all know, the Solicitor-General felt there was not enough evidence to meet the high threshold required to authorise prosecutions under the Act, which means that whatever evidence the police obtained during their year-long bugging operation wasn't sufficient to show that the Urewera 17 (and their mates) were actual, you know, terrorists.
So we have a number of people (who knows how many) whose private conversations have been listened into for a year by police. Nothing any of them has said is sufficient for them to be charged under the TSA. Their right to privacy has been breached, some of them have been remanded in custody for a month, and those 17 individuals will most likely never be able to travel overseas without tremendous hassle if at all.
I'm veering away from my point here - let me pull myself back to it...
My point is... it feels to me as though the TSA has been used to justify a fishing expedition in which our individual right to not have the police listen into our private conversations has been breached.
It's all back to front - to me, it seems wrong that the police were able to invoke the TSA in order to get evidence that they hoped would convict people under the TSA. Seems to me, you shouldn't be able to use the TSA to bug people unless you already HAVE a bunch of evidence which VERY strongly points in that direction anyway.
Otherwise you're using a law that may not actually apply to your suspects in order to gather evidence in a way you normally wouldn't be allowed to do in New Zealand.
And that, to me, is wrong, wrong, wrong.
I'm in the same camp as Stephen Judd with the monkeys flying out of one's butt thing. (heh) If the price we as a nation have to pay to "protect" ourselves against the (IMO) teeny weeny threat of "terrorism" in this country, is a gradual and insidious loss of our rights to privacy, our civil liberties and our freedoms to express ourselves and engage in legitimate protest, then I for one think that's way too high a price to pay. (See USofA as a perfect example of where I do not want to end up...)
My first post (this one) is on p10 of the blog comments.
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