Legislators inspecting the covert surveillance bill have criticised what they call shoddy drafting of the proposed law, which may reduce protections and widen police powers to infringe on privacy rights. Civic Party lawmakers Ronny Tong Ka-wah and Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, and Democrat James To Kun-sun, said law enforcement authorities should have to prove there was a 'reasonable suspicion' of a crime being committed before seeking covert surveillance authorisation. 'Say the CIA gives you a name and you tell the judge: 'Someone says he is a terrorist,' asking for permission to conduct covert surveillance on him,' Mr To said. 'How do you expect the judge to strike a balance with that kind of information? You have to tell the judge the nature of the crime, the source of the information, all kinds of background information so he can use proportionality to make a decision.' Ms Ng also said crime prevention could be interpreted widely and the bill lacked specifics on that point. 'The word 'preventing' has broad coverage. What should the trigger point be? You need to state what the limitations are,' she said. Liberal Party lawmaker Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said she agreed with Ms Ng and it was important to draft the language of the law to prevent law enforcers from conducting such surveillance on 'an unlimited basis'. Department of Justice law officer Ian Wingfield said the powers would not be unfettered as authorities would have to justify the 'immediacy' and 'gravity' of a crime before being granted authorisation by a judge or senior executive officer. The bills committee on the Interception of Communications and Surveillance Bill is scheduled to meet four or five times a week this month to go through the law clause by clause, in time for it to be enacted before the Legislative Council goes into recess early next month. But lawmakers spent an entire meeting yesterday on clause three of the 65-clause bill. Permanent Secretary for Security Stanley Ying Yiu-hong has agreed to reconsider several drafting points. Mr Ying has also said the government is considering a notification system, to inform people mistakenly targeted in covert surveillance at an appropriate time after the operation is complete.