Police have been given greater powers to access citizen’s smart devices, such as phones, speakers and even fridges.
The new law, which was passed in Queensland parliament, allows police to use existing technology for surveillance.
Under the The Counter-Terrorism and Other Legislation Amendment bill, it will be lawful to remotely install software in order to use devices such as smart fridges or AI-powered home speakers as listening devices.
The powers will only come into effect during a declared terrorist emergency and will be used when the life, health or safety of a citizen was thought to be in danger.
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart suggested the powers could be used to turn even your fridge into a listening device to help investigations.
‘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,’ he told the Brisbane Times.
The laws would grant police power to search people or vehicles without a warrant.
They would also allow law enforcement to search mobile phones for communication with suspected offenders or footage of an attack.
A review of emergency situation declarations for the past two-and-a-half years didn’t identify any incidents in which the new powers would be required.
However Commissioner Stewart said the law was still helpful to allow police to fight terrorism on all fronts.
‘The threat of a low-tech terrorist organisation inspired attack is exponentially harder to detect and disrupt,’ he said.
The new law will be subject to a public interest monitor, tasked with putting together an annual report on surveillance warrants.