The ongoing release of various leaks from Ed Snowden have drawn lots of attention and criticism of the activities of various parties in the intelligence community -- especially those who partner closely with the NSA, the so-called "Five Eyes" countries: US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. And while there appears to be real momentum in the US behind limiting this surveillance, apparently New Zealand has decided to go in the other direction, and has passed a very broad new snooping law
that will force telcos to basically hand over everything to various intelligence agencies.
The technical Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Bill will compel telecommunication firms to assist intelligence agencies in intercepting and decrypting phone calls, texts and emails.
Critics say the bill is authoritarian, limits internet freedom and impinges on privacy and civil rights. The Government says it is necessary to replace a decade-old law to keep pace with technology.
We had mentioned this bill
back when it was proposed earlier this year (before all the Snowden stuff went down). Given just how much outrage there is around the world about this kind of activity, it's fairly incredible that the New Zealand government just pushed ahead with it, as if there wasn't a giant public discussion going on. Oh, and the new legislation also lets New Zealand's GCSB spy on New Zealanders as well. Until now, its surveillance had been technically limited to foreigners, though they did spy on New Zealanders many times
. Rather than push back on the GCSB for this illegal spying, it appears that the New Zealand Parliament just decided to legalize the practice. Shameful stuff.