QUEENSLAND’s state parliament has passed a bill which gives Queensland Police the power to use smart devices, including mobile phones, refrigerators and TVs, as surveillance tools during a terrorist emergency.
The laws include remote installation of surveillance software that would turn fridges, connected sound systems, TVs and other IoT devices, into listening devices and could be actioned without warrant.
A public interest monitor will deliver an annual report on surveillance warrants to be handed to the state's Police Minister and tabled in parliament.
"It is not outside the realm that, if you think about the connected home that we now look at quite regularly where people have their security systems, their CCTV systems and their computerised refrigerator all hooked up wirelessly, you could actually turn someone's fridge into a listening device," Police Commissioner Ian Stewart told the Brisbane Times.
Meanwhile, acting Police Commissioner Peter Martin, said the laws were an important tool for police.
"The security environment around the world is ever-changing and that means we must constantly review how to best deal with the threat of violent extremism," he said in a statement after the laws were passed,” Martin said.
"These new laws will give our officers the ability to deal with these threats quickly and hopefully minimise the risk to the community."
Police Minister Mark Ryan said the laws weren't a response to a specific threat, but simply planning for every eventuality.
"Notwithstanding that reality, we should never lose sight of the fact that Queensland is a harmonious and multicultural society where there is a fundamental respect for the rights and liberties of all individuals," he told parliament.
Meanwhile Opposition Police spokesman Tim Mander said hopefully the new powers will never be needed.
"We all hope that the powers being implemented in this legislation are never needed in Queensland but we should also be realistic," he said. "These are extensive powers needed at this time but we must also ensure that they have the appropriate judicial oversight."♦