Intelligence review risks rubber-stamping Internet surveillance

9 March 2016

InternetNZ is concerned with a report from the Independent Review of Intelligence and Security, released earlier today.

InternetNZ submitted on this review last year due to our concern that the our surveillance agencies were misusing the Internet as a tool for mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

"It is not acceptable if this review rubber-stamps even more mass surveillance of New Zealanders via the Internet," says InternetNZ's Work Programme Director Andrew Cushen.

The outcome of this review stretches to over 170 pages of detail, and over 100 recommendations. Amongst those recommendations is an increased ability for the Government Security Communications Bureau to monitor the digital activities of New Zealanders.

"These recommendations appear to treat the private digital communications of New Zealanders as fair game for our intelligence agencies," says Cushen.

The report also recommends a number of clarifications about rules, tools and approval processes for conducting surveillance.

"We are particularly pleased to see some of our recommendations about Rule of Law reflected in the Independent Reviewer's report such as more independent judicial figures involved in approving warrants and strengthening the independence of the Inspector-General." 

InternetNZ is still absorbing the content of the report in order to understand what the practical implications might be for New Zealanders, and whether our private communications will actually remain private.

"Concern about terrorism shouldn't - and doesn't need to - come at the expense of being private online."

ENDS

A link to the full report is here:

Intelligence and Security in a Free Society