Wait, what? The Police are having a mass surveillance stocktake?!?!


Fresh from learning that the NZ Police used mass surveillance facial recognition software from an Orwellian company that illegally sources photos without any sign off from the Privacy Commissioner or their own Police Boss, we suddenly hear this…

Police ‘stocktake’ surveillance tech after Clearview AI facial recognition trial

Last week, RNZ revealed police conducted hundreds of searches, including for suspects, using American software Clearview AI.

The trial, conducted between February and March, did not have the necessary sign-offs from the Police Commissioner, the Privacy Commissioner and the Cabinet.

Police said they do not intend to use Clearview because it was ineffective in New Zealand.

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Police Commissioner Andrew Coster today said he had ordered a stocktake of any similar software being used.

“I’ve commissioned a stocktake of any surveillance-type technologies that we may be using or trialing to make sure that there’s nothing equivalent [to Clearview],” Coster said.

…wait, what?

How many other surveillance programs were the cops using here?

The Police Leadership seem to understand the line they need to walk between abuse of power and civil rights…

Coster also said police had not searched any homes without a warrant under controversial new powers granted by legislation passed by Parliament last week.

The legislation grants police the ability to search premises if they believe Covid-19 epidemic rules are not being followed.

Coster said police needed the powers to take action against things like out-of-control parties.

…but the Police themselves seem to be trying it on.

If Police leadership have to call for a stocktake of mass surveillance programs the Police are currently utilising, that should concern everyone.

The Police were boasting about their gang raids during Lockdown 4 & 3, and I’m not sure national emergencies are the best time to be prosecuting the war on drugs when there are so many open questions about Police power at this stage.

There is already the push for incredibly intrusive mass surveillance to combat the pandemic being mooted with the most unsuitable tech partners pushing for contracts, we can’t allow a long standing curtailing of of civil liberties once NZ is plague free.


  1. Unbelievible Martyn,

    Perhaps they know something is up here?

    Perhaps the Chinese mafia is here and planning shit inside our borders should we go against China at any time?

    • Cleangreen: “Perhaps the Chinese mafia is here and planning shit inside our borders should we go against China at any time?”

      Enough with this sort of furphy. It’s beginning to sound a good deal like “the evil Ruuusians!” With about as much substance, I suspect. That is: none.

  2. We have the weakest police minister we have ever had who is simply run by his department, the Police are just doing whatever they want.
    Over reach, bad decisions and confusion is everywhere.
    Warrantless searches?
    Police manned/unmanned roadblocks?
    Police writing (gun) laws?
    Illegal mass surveillance?
    Where is Nash?
    * confused screaming coming from the gym.

    • Ha, Clearview AI… just the tip of the iceberg which floats in the 5 I’s ocean. I’m so glad our Police Commissioner is doing something about it. As government departments share info perhaps he could look at the other departments too. Reading your referenced article , couldn’t help noticing such as: (quote)…the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA)’s flagship “Safe Home” project, uses “artificial intelligence and machine learning” to analyze data scraped from personal electronic devices (smartphones, Alexas, FitBits) and provided by healthcare professionals (!)
      Information shared equals information hacked, if you remember Murphy’s Law.

  3. If the Cabinet & the Police Commissioner were unaware of the use of this snooping then what are the names of the cops who were responsible?I suspect in the interests of their privacy we will never know.

  4. Here’s what I think.
    The greedy, exploitative old white swine who donned the moniker ‘neoliberal’ to help them get away with the otherwise crimes they committed against us are now freaking out so much at being talked about daily that they’ve instructed the cops to keep an ear on the ground and an eye on everyone to see if there’s any dissent needing to be nipped in the bud.
    AO/NZ is now a Co Ltd run by a parliament more reminiscent of a dodgy advertising agency. I think we can all agree that it’s not an inclusive egalitarian society run by us, for us in our best interests unless we appear to enjoy seeing wretched homeless people down in the dirt of the beautiful streets of our beautiful cities on rich-as AO/NZ.
    If that were the case, that’d make us all a bit fucked in the head and I hope that’s the case.
    Therefore, my only conclusion is that a cadre of old, white, politically self legitimised crims are still running the show and they have our cops on a leash and the cops will surveil anyone they’re told to fucking surveil.
    Lets ask Mike Meurant? Mike? What’re your thoughts on that?
    Hello Mike??

  5. “Police said they do not intend to use Clearview because it was ineffective in New Zealand.”

    I laughed over this. At the police, you understand, not with them.

    It seems that our local police do not take note of what at least some of their counterparts are doing about this issue in other polities. Some years ago, the London Metropolitan police,having found that facial recognition software was ineffective, turned to a trial of so-called “super-recognisers”. They are people with better than average ability to recognise faces. A UK university (think it may have been Oxford, but I’m not now certain) was running trials and had put up a test online, so that people from anywhere could try their luck with it.

    Given that I’m pretty good at recognising faces, I took the test. Sure enough: I received an e-mail advising that my results were better than average, and inviting me to take another test. Unfortunately, I was about to go overseas, so couldn’t do anything further. In any event, I’m here in Godzone, not there in Old Blighty.

    But super-recognisers are something our local police would do well to consider.


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