Thursday, November 06, 2014


The government is currently pushing for the SIS to be allowed to spy on people without a warrant in an "emergency". Listening to Chris Finlayson in the House yesterday, it was clear that this was because of the SIS believes that the internet, phones, or indeed aircraft do not exist, making it impossible to gain agreement from the Minister in the event that they are out of Wellington, and that they view the required signoff by the Commissioner of Security Warrants (whose checks are apparently very thorough) as an unacceptable burden. But no problem! They won't abuse the power, because there are "safeguards"!

The risk of evidence being thrown out of court will stop spies going on "fishing expeditions" with their new powers, the Government says.


Talking to Morning Report this morning, Brownlee said there were safeguards to prevent the power being abused.

"I think what stops them going on a fishing expedition for two days is that without a warrant issued retrospectively, any evidence they might have gathered is inadmissible, and any charges that might ensue from the investigation [may not hold].

"The point is that if they want to be able to collect information speedily, for use and prosecution, they're going to have to be very, very certain that had normal processes been followed they would be able to get a warrant," he said.

But to point out the blindingly obvious: not a single one of the 40 people the SIS says they have under surveillance for supporting ISIS has been charged, despite the government claiming that some of them are breaking our existing anti-terror laws. In fact, no-one has ever been charged with breaking those laws in the 12 years they have been on the books, despite continued claims from the SIS that there are Dangerous Jihadists among us. The only attempted prosecution - which did not gain the leave of the Attorney-General - was brought by police.

So, the government's "safeguard" is that if the SIS abuses its powers to break into people's homes and plant cameras in their bedrooms without a warrant, they won't be allowed to do something they don't do anyway. Some "safeguard".