Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


NZ passes law allowing domestic spying

21 August 2013, 13:40

Wellington - New Zealand passed legislation on Wednesday allowing its main intelligence agency to spy on residents and citizens, despite opposition from rights groups, international technology giants and the legal fraternity.

The bill to expand the power of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) passed by 61 votes to 59 after impassioned debate, with Prime Minister John Key acknowledging the move had left some people "agitated and alarmed".

"This is not, and never will be, about wholesale spying on New Zealanders," Key told parliament.

"There are threats our government needs to protect New Zealanders from, those threats are real and ever-present and we underestimate them at our peril."

The push to change the law came after it emerged last year that the GCSB illegally spied on Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom before armed police raided his Auckland mansion as part of a US-led probe into online piracy.

‘Surveillance state’

At the time Key publicly apologised to Dotcom, who is a New Zealand resident and should have been off-limits to the GCSB under legislation preventing it from snooping on locals.

However, an official report found that Dotcom's case was only one of dozens in which the GCSB had overstepped its bounds.

Key then moved to change the law to let the GCSB spy on New Zealanders, arguing it needed to co-operate more closely with agencies such as the police and military in an increasingly complex cyber-security environment.

Dotcom has been one of the strongest opponents of the bill, saying it gives government spies legal access to New Zealanders' electronic communications, including mobile phone calls.

"This will be the birth of a surveillance state in New Zealand," he told a protest meeting in Auckland last weekend.

Tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft have also voiced concern about expanding the GCSB's surveillance powers.

"Blanket rules requiring data retention and accessibility are blunt tools, which have the potential to infringe on civil liberties and constrain economic growth," Facebook said in a submission to a parliamentary committee reviewing the bill.

New Zealand's Law Society, Human Rights Commission and Privacy Commission all made submissions raising concerns about the bill and calling for significant changes.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
S Mbinya
What to do after breakup

Your life does not end after breakup. Here are tips to move on: Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Rare gift for President Uhuru Ken...

Young Jubilee supporters have a rare surprise gift for the President. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Illegal milk nabbed in Mombasa wa...

Milk powder is considered a sensitive commodity under the EAC Common External Tariff (CET) and attracts an import duty at a rate of 60 per cent. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Athlete collapses, dies in Machak...

His coach blamed his untimely death on the supplements the athletes are given. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Popular radio presenter found dea...

Grace Makosewe was working for Capital FM before moving to Urban Radio in Kisumu. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Four wards to elect new MCAs in b...

This follows the death of former office holders between April and August this year. Read more...