The argument for compulsory government registration of cellphones is ... threadbare.
But sadly the opposition to the proposal coming from the local plod is ... almost non-existent.
"The use of prepaid cellular phones is a common use amongst the criminal fraternity," says Detective Senior Sergeant Darrin Thomson, from the Wellington metro crime unit. I'm sure he's right. But if Detective Senior Sergeant Darrin Thomson thinks criminals will actually be registering the cellphones they use, instead of just stealing them when they need them, then he's spent far too much time in meetings, and not enough catching crooks.
To paraphrase a popular slogan, when you outlaw unregistered phones, then outlaws will just steal your registered phones -- and that's "outlaws" as in "the criminal fraternity." The crooks will steal your phones, the state will steal your privacy, and Detective Senior Sergeant Darrin Thomson won't have caught one more crook because of it.
in communist Romania the Securitate required all typewriters to be licensed. In the former East Germany, the Stasi kept meticulous notes on everything suspects did, down to the minute.
Do we really need to bring the surveillance society here?
UPDATE: Blair Anderson reckons the police aren't so much "supporting" calls for legislation as they have a Google search watching what other countries are doing and saying "Yes, please." He points out to that "the kind of crimes NZ police are 'interested' in surveiling are more often 'consensual' and 'victimless,' and relating to certain substances" than they are the real crimes like robbery, murder and violence that most New Zealanders actually want addressed.
Police should practice getting good at solving crimes.
They have been pretty lousy at predicting them.
Having (yet another) list of a million citizens will only confuse them.