Traditional Civil Liberties
Civil liberties are rights in freedom that protect an individual from the government of the nation in which they reside. Civil liberties set limits on government so that its members cannot abuse their power and interfere unduly with the lives of private citizens.
Common civil liberties include the rights of people, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech, and additionally, the right to due process, to a trial, to own property, and to privacy.
There are those who seem to think that they can ignore our existing rights and freedoms just because new technology has been brought into the picture.
- The government believes it has unlimited power to intercept, search and block our communications without a warrant – if they’re done over the Internet.
- The media companies want to ignore the right to a fair trial and skip straight to the punishment phase – if you copy music files on a computer instead of copying a CD.
- It is seen to be appropriate to threaten someone with disconnection from the Internet – but we wouldn’t forbid them from reading, writing and participating in society.
We believe that our civil liberties don’t just disappear when using the Internet. We still have the right to free speech, to freedom from government snooping, the right to due process and a fair trial.
We have three main streams of activity:
- Defending our existing rights and freedoms.
- Helping society to adjust to new technology by aiding in formulating new laws in accordance with the principles underlying civil liberties.
- Recommending ways that new technology can help us further enhance civil liberties.
We are committed to working through legal, democratic mechanisms such as advocacy, civic participation, education and legal challenges.
The Tech Liberty group is inspired by the Electronic Freedom Foundation, but as individuals we look to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the NZ Bill of Rights Act, and our society’s tradition of steadily expanding human rights over hundreds of years.