Graffiti outside the Whanganui Police Computer before an anarchist blew himself up.
The irony of what the State can now do would have that young anarchist reassembling in his grave. In this week the NZ Police were caught threatening researchers wanting to use that data with bans if they publish anything critical of the Police.
It seems every worst fear of Neil Roberts 33 years ago this week have borne fruit.
It should surprise no one that the Police have strangled off Academic Freedom by denying Canon Media Awards Blogger of the Year, Dr Jarrod Gilbert access to the Police data base.
Academics could be blacklisted by police
Academics sourcing crime data from police are forced to sign a contract giving officers the power to “improve” research which shows “negative results” and then “veto” its publication.
A copy of the police-drawn contract given to academics wanting to access the publicly owned data shows those who do not comply will be placed on a blacklist which could extend to shutting off access to an entire university.
Conditions in the contract have been described as an attack on academic freedom and an affront to the Education Act’s legal obligation on academic institutions to be a “critic and conscience of society”.
…so if the Police don’t like what you say, they can withdraw their permission to use the information and blacklist you. Put this type of threatening behaviour alongside their practice of getting your personal details from banks without warrants alongside much larger search and surveillance powers and you have a Police force that has fewer and fewer checks and balances.
In the wake of David Dougherty, Teina Pora, David Bane and huge questions over Scott Watson, those checks and balances are more necessary than ever before.
Dr Gilbert is one of the best and most respected bloggers for a reason – he’s really good! His insights into crime demand answers not bans.
Every day in every way, big brother grows. Neil Roberts is who activists should celebrate on November 5th – not Guy Fawlks.