NSW Police to be given new powers to conduct secret searches, hacking

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The New South Wales Police will be getting new powers to search suspect’s homes and hack into their computers for up to three years without the suspect knowing or consenting, under a new legislation that was introduced to Parliament today.

The powers, according to the Government, will ensure the police evidence collected under the new practises will hold up in the judicial system. The practise was ruled unlawful in 2006 by the Supreme Court, but the police are still using the measures.

According to Police Minister Tony Kelly, the judge would need to authorise the search to be kept a secret for six months – but them, police could ask to have that delayed for up to 18 months, or for three years, depending on the circumstances.

“For particularly anybody who’s involved in crime or criminal activity, the police will now be able to undertake investigations and gather evidence before you know it,” Mr Kelly said. “So anybody who’s involved in serious crime, the police will now be able to get on to you, even go into your computer.”

However, the new laws have been opposed by the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, saying that the laws can be abused at any stage.

“Clearly, if the police are able to search a person’s home without anyone being present, the police will be in the position to plant evidence,” president Terry O’Gorman said to the ABC.

The laws will only apply, according to the ABC, to crimes that have a minimum of seven years imprisonment. This includes drugs and firearms offences, homicide, kidnapping, assault, money laundering, hacking, organised theft and corruption.

Image by hjem/Flickr (Creative Commons)