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InternetNZ calls out Govt's Intelligence and Security Bill

16 Aug 2016

​InternetNZ says it has concerns over the Government’s Intelligence and Security Bill.

In May 2015, Hon Sir Michael Cullen (former Deputy Prime Minister and Chair of NZ Post) and Dame Patsy Reddy (an experienced barrister and solicitor, company director and law lecturer who has led performance reviews of government departments) were appointed to review New Zealand’s Intelligence Community.

Called the Independent Review of Intelligence and Security, Cullen and Reddy reviewed the NZ Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), sought public submissions and reported back to the Government on 9 March 2016.

The Independent Reviewers of Intelligence and Security released their report on New Zealand’s intelligence agencies, titled Intelligence and Security in a Free Society, in March this year.

While the Intelligence and Security Bill broadly implements the recommendations of the Independent Reviews of Intelligence and Security, InternetNZ chief executive Jordan Carter says the report is a mixed bag.

“We have already considered the review and, while we support greater oversight and accountability, we remain concerned by matters such as the breadth covered by the proposed definition of national security,” he says.

InternetNZ’s briefing says that while the reviewers acknowledge human rights, and the need to keep New Zealand a free and open society, “Unfortunately, those priorities, and the consequences for liberty, freedom and an open and uncapturable internet are not reflected in the recommendations.

“We are very concerned about some of the recommendations in the report. While it does acknowledge human rights, the recommendations do not always reflect these rights and could result in more extensive surveillance of New Zealand internet users,” it says.

“The internet is a powerful tool and helps to create a better world for us all,” the report says.

“However this requires an open and uncapturable internet. Giving the GCSB powers to spy on New Zealanders' use of the internet goes against the very purpose they state in their report - the protection of New Zealand as a free, open and democratic society,” InternetNZ says.

Carter says InternetNZ will be making a submission to the Select Committee in due course.

“We encourage members of the Internet Community to engage in the Parliamentary process, and we will be talking with the Internet Community as we prepare our submission,” he says.

You can read more about InternetNZ’s briefing on the Independent Review of Inteligence and Security here

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