Dr. Warren Young* writes:
In an article on October 23, the Herald reported that the Search and Surveillance Bill before Parliament would give “sweeping powers to spy, bug conversations and hack into private computers” to a web of state agencies.
The bill arose from a Law Commission report that recommended comprehensive reform of search and surveillance powers. The criticisms about it have been massively overblown and generated more heat than light.
They have taken two main forms. First, commentators have argued that Part 4 of the bill affords new powers (including the power to hack into computers) to both police and other enforcement agencies. These criticisms have been based upon a remarkable misunderstanding of both the current law and the provisions of the bill.
Part 4 does not provide new standalone search powers. Instead, when an agency has an existing search power, Part 4 spells out how that power is to be exercised.
Read more in the New Zealand Herald.
*Dr Warren Young is the deputy president of the New Zealand Law Commission.