Law changes in reaction to the Christchurch massacre

Thomas Beagle, Chairperson of the NZCCL, wrote an article for The Spinoff about some of the possible law changes in reaction to the Christchurch massacre including mass surveillance, banning of websites, and hate speech.

Privacy Bill reported back - link summary

The Privacy Bill has been reported back from the Select Committee (see our submission).

This article contains relevant links and reactions.

Text of the Privacy Bill as reported back by the Select Committee.

Justice Dept report on submissions.

NZCCL concern at Five Eyes plan to break encryption

The NZ Council for Civil Liberties is concerned that the members of the Five Eyes spy network (NZ, Australia, USA, Canada and UK) have stated that they wish to break end-to-end encryption to allow them to spy on the contents of all communications.

Privacy International Report on NZ expresses concerns around Five Eyes membership

The recent Right to Privacy in New Zealand report submitted by Privacy International to the UN Human Rights Council highlights concerns about the 2017 New Zealand Intelligence and Security Act and our participation in the Five-Eyes spy network.

Concerns raised over protection from hate speech in NZ's legislation

The NZ Herald has published an article about New Zealand's lack of laws against hate speech.

Police and the Ministry of Justice are considering new ways of recording crimes in an effort to combat racism. But concerns have been raised over suppressing New Zealanders' right to free speech.

Government to strengthen NZ Bill of Rights

The government has announced that it plans to formally recognise the ability of the courts to declare that a law is inconsistent with the NZ Bill of Rights Act, and require Parliament to respond.

While this does not allow the court to 'strike down' the offending legislation, this move will put more pressure on the government to fix egregious breaches of civil liberties in New Zealand law.

Tim Groser approved GCSB spying that would benefit him personally

The Inspector-General of Intelligence & Security, Cheryl Gwyn, released her report of the inquiry into the issues surrounding the GCSB spying on foreign governments for the purpose of then-Minister Tim Groser's campaign for the position of Director General of the World Trade Organisation.

Four developments of note

Four recent developments we think are worth noting.

Harmful Digital Communications Act bar for "harm" lowered

Ex-judge David Harvey explains the recent decision by the High Court to overturn the decision by the District Court that the complainant had not suffered serious harm.

Whatever you think of the law overall, the decision by the District Court did seem to set a much higher bar to proving harm than Parliament seemed to intend.

Syrian-born NZ citizens forced by NZ Customs to give device & social media passwords

Andrea Vance at 1News reports that Syrian-born Kiwis are being held up when re-entering New Zealand:

1 News has talked to a number of individuals who have been detained at Auckland airport, often for hours at a time. They've been forced to hand over their phones and laptops - and ordered to surrender passwords to social media accounts.

Police tasering of man in cell "excessive and unjustified"

A South Auckland Police sergeant's Tasering of an Auckland man in his cell was "contrary to policy, excessive and unjustified" the Independent Police Conduct Authority has found.

According to an IPCA media release:

Officers arrested the man for possessing an offensive weapon and took him back to the Police station.


Privacy Commissioner to examine MSD demands for social service users' information

The Privacy Commissioner has announced an investigation into the Ministry of Social Development's requirement that social service providers collect and hand over the private information of their users, Radio NZ reports.

Corrections subjects at-risk prisoners to "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment"

The Department of Corrections has broken anti-torture laws in its treatment of prisoners at risk of self-harm, according to the Ombudsman.

Corrections finally release Crimes of Torture Act report

From the NZ Herald:

New Zealand prisoners have been subjected to degrading treatment, including being filmed while strip searched, being bullied and victimised by other prisoners, and sleeping in "deplorable" accommodation, a watchdog has found.

The Ombudsman's Office also found prisoners had endured drinking discoloured tap water, wearing dirty clothes and being held in handcuffs for an extended period of time.

Policing by force

Four police officers were found not guilty of assaulting a man in Napier. The police officers smashed the car windows, used pepper spray, tasers, and a police dog in an attempt to get a man to leave his vehicle. The man later died although the prosecution accepted that this was not caused by the officers.

The chief assessor of police dog training told the court that letting dogs loose in the car was the wrong decision.

Customs able to demand unlock/passwords at the border

The Government's new Customs and Excise Bill gives Customs the ability to demand people unlock electronic devices and reveal decryption keys at the border. The relevant section is 207 - Data in electronic devices that are subject to control of Customs.

Private eye: Big data, big questions

Kate Newtown from RadioNZ writes about just how much data private companies are collecting about us, and what they're doing with it.

Issues include:

Heavy handed Maritime Crime Amendment Bill turns democratic protesters into terrorists

We have long warned that the problem with allowing human-rights abridging special powers to cope with "terrorism" is that over time, the meaning of the word will be expanded so that these exceptional laws can be used for more and more mundane offenses.

Papanui Library's attempts to hurt the young

How can it be acceptable for anyone to use a device that deliberately hurts people in order to keep them out of a public place?