16 Sep 2010

Law on surveillance devices unclear

3:42 pm on 16 September 2010

The case of a man who was able to stalk his ex-wife using a tracking device fitted to her car is being cited as evidence of potential loopholes in the current law.

A Lower Hutt man, who has name suppression, pleaded guilty this week in the Upper Hutt District Court to breach of a protection order.

The GPS tracker was discovered when the woman took her car to a garage because it kept breaking down.

A remotely-controlled device had been installed to shut off the car's engine. Such devices are sold as anti-theft measures.

The Law Commission has recommended new legislation to safeguard privacy against the misuse of visual surveillance, tracking and interception devices.

Associate Professor Ursula Cheer from Canterbury University says there are inconsistencies in the law on covert surveillance because technology is developing so quickly.

She says the commission has also recommended making it an offence to trespass in order to install devices.