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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NSW relaxed and comfortable about surveillance

Surveillance - or the use of surveillance devices - is a hot topic in most places. The UK Information Commissioner warned last year of the danger that Britain was heading towards a "surveillance society". Similar concerns have been raised in the US, most recently in this report by the American Civil Liberties Union.

In NSW however, the Government appears to be much more relaxed.

Eleven years ago it gave the NSW Law Reform Commission a reference on this issue. The Commission released an issues paper in 1997 and undertook further research before releasing an interim report in 2001. The then Attorney General, asked for further work to be done, and a final report was made available to the Attorney General in 2005.

There the report sat in the 'in tray' until last week when the new Attorney General tabled it in Parliament, and then said the recommendations in the final report were rejected. The full text of the news release said that issues concerning surveillance in the workplace had already been the subject of specific legislation, and surveillance for law enforcement purposes was being looked at on a national basis.

And the result of nine years work by the Commission, thanks but no thanks.

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