Friday, October 14, 2011

Video Bill Passed

The Video Surveillance Bill is law. It was passed on October 6th, 2011.

The Bill makes it explicitly lawful for government agencies to use covert video surveillance under a warrant for private property. In plain language, it legalises police breaking the law and planting secret surveillance cameras inside peoples' homes.

The bill has retrospective effect, ensuring that all video footage can be used as evidence and that previous convictions that relied on video evidence are not open to appeal.

Another law, the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act, was updated in April. It allows private security to install video cameras to assist their work, however they are still unable to legally record in a private residence but that allows, for now, video surveillance and records made in all other areas.

This is in contrast to Germany which bans companies from spying on employees, and they are even banned from checking out employees on Facebook and other social networking sites.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Urgent Action Alert – Stop the Video Camera Surveillance Bill!

It is only days now until Parliament votes on the law that would legalise covert video surveillance by Police, Fisheries, SIS and Customs. This bill must be stopped! It is the most serious assault on our fundamental freedom and rights in our lifetime. As it stands, no warrant is even required to conduct video surveillance.

We are asking everyone to take two minutes to email members of Parliament who have not decided which way to vote and tell them to vote ‘NO’ on the bill. It is likely to be voted on this Thursday (October 6). At present, the National party does not have the numbers to pass the bill. It only has the support of United Future. It needs 3 more votes – so we want to make sure that neither the Labour Party nor the ACT party support this dangerous bill from becoming  law. The Green, Maori and Mana parties do not support the bill at all.

Please email any member of parliament you like. We would certainly encourage in particular emails to:

ACT party
Rodney Hide –
John Boscawen –
Roger Douglas –
Hilary Calvert –
Heather Roy –

Phil Goff –
Annette King –
David Parker –
Charles Chauvel –
Grant Robertson –
David Cunliffe –
Ruth Dyson –
Clayton Cosgrove –
Maryan Street –
Trevor Mallard –

The most important thing to say is:

Other things you can say are:
  • It is an assault on the rule of law as it retrospectively legalises illegal police actions
  • It is an assault on the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure
  • It is an assault on the right to privacy
  • You don’t want any expansion of the power of the state to surveil people
The police and government have been misleading the public by saying that the bill will ‘restore the common law position’ - the police have never had the power to do trespassory video surveillance. The police knowingly broke the law and should be prosecuted.

The ONLY submission received in support of this law was from Police. All other submissions – including the Law Society, Criminal Bar, civil society organisations and hundred of individuals all opposed this bill.