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Creeping erosion of civil liberties


Creeping erosion of civil liberties under anti-terrorism guise

Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke says there is a creeping erosion of our civil liberties under the Counter-Terrorism Bill, introduced into Parliament today.

"Under the guise of anti-terrorism, the government is increasing police powers and limiting our privacy," Mr Locke said.

"The Greens are particularly concerned about a provision that denies a person's right to not incriminate themselves.

"People could be jailed for refusing to provide encryption devices or other protections on their computer. This is a huge intrusion on our privacy.

"It also denies a fundamental liberty, that people should be able to remain silent. They shouldn't, under threat of imprisonment, be forced to help the police gather evidence for their own conviction.

"The new warrant provisions are also dangerous. Warrants allow the police intrusive powers, which is why the type of information being searched for has always had to be specified.

"Now, no matter what is specified in the warrant, the police can gather whatever evidence they want and use it in court. Warrants could then be used for "fishing expeditions", with the particular purpose specified in the warrant used as a cover.

"The generalising of permission to put tracking devices on vehicles is also disturbing. We should have very good reasons before we extend police powers in this way.

"The Greens are worried about a creeping invasion of our civil liberties under the cover of fighting terrorism," said Mr Locke.


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