Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Not a good idea

So, Judith Collins has negotiated a deal with the US which will give them access to all our fingerprint and DNA records:

New Zealand police will provide United States authorities with legal access to New Zealand's fingerprint database under an information-sharing agreement to combat crime and terrorism.

The US, similarly, will provide New Zealand access to its fingerprint database under specified conditions.

The agreement will also allow each country legal access to the other's DNA database, at a future stage.

It will also allow for automated access to the other's fingerprint and DNA databases in the future but the expectation is that New Zealand authorities will have to send individual requests to the US for data matching.

So, in short, we're going to give the US surveillance state the automatic right to spy on some of our most sensitive data. Given the US's fundamental lack of privacy protections and its governments habit of breaking agreements whenever it is convenient for them, I don't think that's a good idea. At the least, we should be refusing to ratify this until we see significant change in the US away from public surveillance and significant progress towards protecting privacy.