Let's talk about he thorny issue of the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) and the
way that public and industry concerns over the sweeping powers this gives to
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
Late last week, a parliamentary committee dismissed a raft of genuine concerns
raised by the public and moved another step closer to passing this controversial
Whenever a government passes legislation that gives them, or the agencies
they administer, rights which the public are denied then we have a very
Of course we're all told that empowering the police or whoever to snoop on
what should be private communications, and to hack into our computers is
okay because they'll only use such powers for the public good by catching
the bad-guys who threaten us.
Unfortunately, the only time you can ever believe this is when the government
can provide an absolute guarantee that there is no graft or corruption within
is ranks, or the ranks of those agencies who are granted such powers under
this new bill. Of course the government can't provide those guarantees --
so they are in effect telling us that "yes, these powers and privileges
will be abused by a tiny few, but don't worry about it."
I'm sorry -- but in my book that's just not good enough!
We don't have to cast our minds back very far to recall instances where
corrupt IRD workers were found to be selling personal information to debt
collectors do we? And how many times in recent years have we seen members
of the police force hauled up before the courts, having abused the
privileged position of trust given them by that position? This kind
of thing doesn't appear to be limited to lowly members of the rank-and-file
--we've seen MPs and high-ranking members of the police appearing on drunk-driving charges
when they are supposed to have been responsible for the passing and enforcement
of laws which prohibit such behaviour.
Sure, the level of such disgrace is small and the vast majority of those charged
with such responsibilities and granted such privilege conduct themselves
in a professional and ethical manner -- but that's likely to be small consolation
if it's you, your data and your computer who become the victims of corruption
and explotation of the powers granted under this proposed new bill is it?
So one must ask -- do we really need this new anti-hacking legislation?
Well I find it very strange that just last week we saw a
Kiwi hacker convicted
on several charges relating to his activities. If our laws are really so
ineffective as to require such major changes that the police and other agencies
will need special dispensation to avoid them -- why wasn't he acquitted?
Quite frankly -- when those who wield the power start dictating that we "do as they
say, not as they do," and when geniune worries and concerns are brushed aside
as they were last week, then we really ought to ask whether they are being
totally honest with us?
Perhaps the most important question we can ask is: "Exactly what guarantees
do we have that the powers granted to law-enforcement agencies under this
legislation will not be abused?"
Public acceptance of the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) must be completely
contingent on a satisfactory response to this question -- and proof that
the assurances given are valid.
Or perhaps I'm just playing devil's advocate? :-)
However, this is a very important
issue, tell me (and Aardvark's readers) exactly what
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