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E-Mail Interception Plans Step Down Slippery Slope

E-Mail Interception Plans Another Step Down Slippery Slope

26 July 2000

E-MAIL INTERCEPTION PLANS ANOTHER STEP DOWN SLIPPERY SLOPE

United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, is extremely wary of Government plans to allow interception of e-mail correspondence.

"It is one more step down the slippery slope of intrusion into individual rights."

"Over recent years there have been many steps taken in the name of protecting the community that have had severe implications for the individual's right to privacy, and I doubt that the cumulative effect of those measures on individual privacy has ever been properly considered."

"The furore over the digitised photographic driver's licence is a good example of what happens when technological bafflement gets in the way of common sense, and this measure risks going the same way."

"Of course, there is a legitimate balance which needs to be struck here between the rights of the individual and the wider rights of society to be protected from criminal or terrorist actions, but the way the Government is going about resolving the issue is grossly inadequate and far too ad hoc."

"With all due respects to Mr Swain, this issue is far too important to be dealt with on the basis of proposals dreamed up by a Minister and his officials and then flicked to a Select Committee for the proverbial once over before being passed into law," Mr Dunne says.

Rather, he is calling for an independent public commission to be established involving the Privacy Commissioner, Police and Intelligence authorities, civil liberties groups, the information technology industry and the judiciary to hear submissions and develop a full proposal on all aspects of individual privacy, electronic communication and surveillance and computer systems generally.

Such a commission should be required to report to Parliament as a whole, not just the Government, and comprehensive legislation developed only as a consequence of its report.

"This is a deliberately more comprehensive approach than the sort of 'quick fix' Mr Swain seems to be proposing, but is infinitely more sensible and likely to produce a fair and reasonable result," Mr Dunne says.

ENDS


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