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US privacy concerns too close to home

Communications and IT Spokesperson


US privacy concerns too close to home

Revelations that the US equivalent of the GCSB has been routinely monitoring US citizens phone calls, texts and social media activity impacts directly on Kiwis, says Labour’s Communications, IT and Open Government spokesperson Clare Curran.

“The National Government is currently pushing two new laws through Parliament that would give the GCSB and other agencies here, more powers to spy on Kiwis.

“Submissions on both the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Bill and the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill are due next Thursday 13 June.

“That’s not enough time for New Zealanders to consider the implications of both bills. Kiwis care about law changes that impinge on their civil rights and personal privacy. The deadline for submissions needs to be extended.

“One of the Bills is even being considered behind closed doors, with no public discussion – that’s intolerable.

“Reports say the US National Security Agency (NSA) is collecting metadata on tens of millions of US citizens phone calls. It has now been confirmed that NSA also uses a program called PRISM to access extensive user content held by Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple. Although access is targeted at non-US citizens, it includes searches on US citizens too.

“With the bills before Parliament threatening to offer New Zealand agencies similar powers, people are rightly concerned.

“The Government can’t steamroll opposition and dismiss proper process on legislation as important as this,” Clare Curran said.

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