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Telco Security Legislation Passes First Reading

Hon Amy Adams

Minister for Communications and Information Technology

Telco Security Legislation Passes First Reading

A Bill that will modernise telecommunications security legislation passed its first reading in parliament today, Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams says.

The Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill will ensure the legislation remains effective in a rapidly-changing telecommunications environment.

The Bill will replace the current Telecommunications (Interception Capability) Act 2004, following a review that started in 2011.

There are two parts to the Bill. The first part relates to obligations for telecommunications companies, and is focused on modernising the existing interception capability regime.

“The intent of the legislation is to update existing obligations on the telecommunications industry to make the obligations more proportionate, flexible, and certain. It will also improve the existing administration and enforcement processes in order to lift compliance levels,” Ms Adams says.

The changes will not in any way alter the authority of police or intelligence and security agencies to intercept telecommunications, or reduce the checks and balances on how these agencies can access and use private communications information. These matters are dealt with under separate legislation.

The second aspect of the Bill introduces a formal and transparent network security regime. New Zealand does not presently have any formal scheme to effectively manage and address potential national security risks associated with the design, build and operation of the telecommunications infrastructure.

The proposed changes will mean network operators will be obliged to engage with the Government through the GCSB on network security, where it might affect New Zealand’s national security and economic well-being.

“Updating the legislation will ensure New Zealand’s telecommunications companies have a clearer understanding of how to meet their interception obligations while ensuring their network infrastructure does not pose a risk to New Zealand’s national security or economic well-being, as we move to an increasingly online world.

“I am open to considering any reasonable suggestions made during the select committee process that will help to ensure a robust and durable telecommunications security regime.”

ENDS

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