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[FYI] (Fwd) NZ Proposes RIP Act

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Sun, 29 Oct 2000 07:07:56 -0500
From:           	David Banisar <banisar@privacy.org>
Subject:        	NZ Proposes RIP Act
To:             	Global Internet Liberty Campaign <gilc-plan@gilc.org>
Send reply to:  	gilc-plan@gilc.org


Sweeping powers for spy agencies
29 OCTOBER 2000

Police and government spy agencies are pushing for major new
surveillance powers - including the ability to intercept e-mails.

In a move the Council for Civil Liberties labels a "major and
disturbing intrusion" new surveillance laws are being planned which
will allow police and intelligence agencies to hack covertly into home
computers and intercept email and other electronic communication.

Researcher and author Nicky Hager, says the proposed legislation
strongly resembles the British Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
passed amid huge controversy three months ago.

But he says unlike the British experience, the New Zealand
legislation is being slipped through in stages, as extensions of
present laws. The first is to be tabled in parliament in about 10

The laws were devised under the National government and can be traced
back to a push by the FBI in the United States for standardised spy
systems to intercept mobile phones and emails.

The changes are now being promoted by Associate Justice Minister Paul
Swain, and would also impose "requirements" on Internet service
providers and phone companies to co-operate with intelligence agencies
and police and install systems to assist spying on their customers.

Hager, whose 1996 book on the global Echelon surveillance network
prompted a year-long investigation by the European parliament, said
the public had a right to demand proof that the new intrusive powers
were so crucial that individuals had to give up privacy and freedoms.

He said the way the changes were being introduced, piecemeal and in
secret, was "a model of bad government".

The first legislation expands the interception powers of the police
and the Government Communications Security Bureau to cover all forms
of electronic communications (including email, faxes and text
messaging) and, for the Security Intelligence Service as well, to
cover hacking into computer systems to view and copy people's files.

This would be achieved by amending the Crimes Act to make it illegal
to intercept emails or hack into computers - and then exempting all
the intelligence and law enforcement agencies from the new law.

The legislation will also increase the status of the GCSB, moving its
existing powers into the Crimes Act.

The other half of the plan is changes to the Telecommunications Act,
requiring telephone companies to make systems "interceptable".

Hager says New Zealand officials secretly agreed to implement the
surveillance changes after attending a meeting at the FBI headquarters
in Quantico, south of Washington DC, in 1993.

Swain says the driving force of the law changes is the wish to
protect privacy because there is no legislation to say "wandering into
someone's internal communications system is illegal".

The exemptions for the government agencies came later, he said.

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