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Swain Bill Public Meeting & SIS Office Picket

28 February 2001

Chief Reporter


The Government proposes to pass the Crimes Amendment (No. 6) Bill, better known as the Swain Bill, after Paul Swain, the Minister pushing it. The Bill contains clauses outlawing, for the first time, computer hacking. Sounds laudable doesn’t it? But a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) to that Bill specifically exempts the Police, and NZ’s two intelligence agencies – the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB, which runs the Waihopai satellite interception spybase) – from its provisions. What does that mean?

It means that the Government is giving the Police, SIS and GCSB expanded powers to intercept and spy on New Zealanders’ electronic communications – our e-mail, in other words. The next part of the package – the forthcoming amendment to the Telecommunications Act - will force Internet Service Providers to cooperate with this spying. This is part of a worldwide drive, spearheaded by the US, to impose “global standards” on electronic spying. This NZ Bill is based on Britain’s draconian Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which passed in 2000. The GCSB already spies on international electronic communications – now it will have the power to spy on domestic ones. The Bill and its SOP were rushed through over summer – submissions closed in February. The Government says that this is essential to fight crime, that “the innocent have nothing to fear”. We say – We’ve heard that one before!

There will be a PUBLIC MEETING at 7.30 p.m., on MONDAY MARCH 5, at the WEA (59 Gloucester Street, ChCh), to express opposition to the Bill.

Speakers will be: Keith Locke, Green MP; Robert Hunt, Managing Director, Plain Communication, (Internet Service Provider); and Bob Leonard, Anti-Bases Campaign.

There will also be a PICKET OF THE SIS OFFICE – 70 GLOUCESTER STREET, CHCH (next to the Centre of Contemporary Art). 12.30 – 1.30 P.M ON WEDNESDAY MARCH 7.


Murray Horton for ABC

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