Thursday, November 06, 2014

Brownlee wants a "no-fly" list

The latest war on terror madness from the government: Gerry Brownlee wants a domestic "no-fly" list:

Suspected foreign fighters may have their domestic travel movements restricted as part of ramped up national security measures if surveillance indicated they were looking to commit illegal acts, the Government says.


Close tabs would be kept on the people concerned, and if a person was under surveillance the government would want to know "where they're going and what they're going for and what they're up to", Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee said today.

Asked if that would involve stopping people boarding domestic flights, Brownlee said: "We are looking very carefully at these people and where they would be engaged in illegal activity we'd be wanting to stop that."

What would this entail? Either the government has to give every airline in NZ a list of people it doesn't want to fly (unlikely), or every airline in NZ has to provide the government with an advance copy of their passenger list. This has huge implications for privacy, not to mention for freedom of movement. The idea that the government can say "you're not allowed to fly" not because of a specific, immediate security threat at the airport (something already covered by pre-flight security theatre), but because they do not like your politics is frightening. And looking overseas, we know what it leads to: false positives, and a restriction of movement of the government's political enemies.

New Zealand is supposed to be a free country. The idea that the government gets to decide when and how we travel within it is abhorrent. We have laws to stop people from hijacking or bombing planes. And that's all we need here. Restricting travel serves no purpose other than political repression. And that seems to encourage the very terrorism the government purports to be trying to stop.