Saturday, May 08, 2010

Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd addres...Image by London Summit via Flickr
The burka is "un-Australian" claims Aussie senator...

An Australian senator reportedly called the burka "un-Australian" and claims it should be banned - causing intense anger among the country's Muslim community.

Senator Bernardi from Soth Australia claims the full veil is repressive domination of women by men, and established different sets and expectations within Australian society.

His comments were posted on his blog, after an armed robbery by a man in a burka and sunglasses.

Opposition Liberal leader, Tony Abbot, who stopped short of supporting such a ban, said most Australians find the garment confronting.

Prime Minister Rudd accused the Liberals of a cynical political stunt. Australian Muslims have condemned talk of such a ban.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Cannabis is another commonly used recreational...Image via Wikipedia
Switched on Gardener gone to pot - police now need to put forward a strong case...

"Switched on Gardener" gone to pot - police now need to put forward a strong case...

Warren Brookbanks, Auck Uni, says cannabis case involving 250 people will be complex but police have taken time to gather enough evidence

A law expert says the criminal case against a nationwide garden store chain facing more than 700 drugs charges will be complex when it gets to court.

Police raided 16 branches of the "Switched on Gardener", charging 250 people with a raft of drugs charges. Directors and managers of the companies have been arrested and will be facing charges including cultivating cannabis and participating in an organised criminal group. It is alleged that cannabis growing equipment was sold at the stores to commercial growers. The arrests follow a two year investigation.

Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope says the bust will break the cornerstone of the illicit cannabis cultivation industry.

"Cannabis is the most abused controlled drug in New Zealand. The harm that this drug causes New Zealand communities can be conservatively estimated at $430 million a year. It hurts every community in every part of the country.?

Mr Pope says undercover officers purchased equipment, were given advice on how to grow cannabis and even purchased cannabis clones and other drugs over the counter. Police also seized methamphetamine, LSD, ecstasy and firearms.

Prof Warren Brookbanks from Auckland University says even though the case will be complex, it is not unknown territory for police.

"I imagine there will be a lot of criminal litigation arising out of this as the individuals defend the charges. They will be charged with a wide range of different offences under the Drugs Act."

Mr Brookbanks believes police have taken their time to gain sufficient evidence.

The Police Minister is praising good old fashion detective work for the exposure of the ring. Judith Collins says it has been a long hard slog for those involved.

"I'm very pleased with the fact that police have been able to bring the matter to such a successful conclusion in terms of the investigation, which involved a lot of undercover work."

Ms Collins says the number of arrests and charges shows how deeply these activities have affected communities.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase

Are social network sites as safe as they claim. How private is our privacy?

Fifty-seven per cent of us think social network sites are private. Almost half of all New Zealanders now use online social networks - but most of us are hugely concerned about the information children are sharing on the internet.

A Privacy Commission survey issued today reveals nearly 45 per cent of Kiwis have online profiles - most on Facebook - which is up from 32 per cent last June and 14 per cent in August 2007.

But the rush to social networking coincides with greater concerns over online privacy, especially for children.

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff told the Herald a surprising number of people - 57 per cent - believed social networking sites were mostly private spaces.

She said there was an illusion of privacy on sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Flickr, but personal details or pictures could be easily accessed by anyone.

A high percentage of social network users were children, and Ms Shroff encouraged vigilance in protecting them on the internet.

"The internet offers a huge amount in terms of entertainment, education and ability to communicate with others, but there are risks too," she said.

"When children are online they can and do give away a lot of information about themselves, without necessarily being aware of the consequences."

Ms Shroff cited cases of identity theft of children as young as 10 which resulted in online abuse on Facebook.

"[Children] can risk themselves and their families by revealing personal and intimate information, which enables harms such as identity crime, stalking, text bullying and invasion of privacy in various ways."

Last Thursday, 19-year-old Cody Rae Allen of Gisborne pleaded guilty to forgery and criminal harassment after setting up a Facebook page to harass a teenage girl who spurned him.

In a survey by the internet safety organisation Netsafe, 25 per cent of secondary school students said they had been aggressively sexually solicited online.

Children sharing personal details online was the greatest concern among people surveyed by the Privacy Commissioner's office - 88 per cent said they worried about the information their children revealed online.

Seventy-nine per cent were concerned about the security of personal information held by overseas businesses.

Netsafe operations manager Lee Chisholm said any personal information put online should be considered public and permanently accessible.

Ackowledgements: MSN -  NZ Herald

Read more Facebook: Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don't (

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