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Study on net spying - NZ rated "middling"

Study on net spying - NZ rated "middling"

New Zealand

Population : 3,846,000 Internet users : 1,908,000 (2002) Average charge for 20 hours of connection : 10 euros DAI* : 0.72 Situation** : middling

The country is more connected to the Internet than the United States or Australia and is in the front ranks of those pushing e-administration - online access to public services.

Like most Western nations, it set about fighting terrorism in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks and passed laws to increase Internet surveillance. The media revealed that year that New Zealand was a key link in the huge US Echelon spy-network set up to monitor online messages.

Surveillance of Internet traffic

A new law, the Anti-Hacking Bill, came into effect on 1 October 2003 to fight cybercrime and supposedly protect individual privacy better. It was strongly criticised in parliament because it allowed police to hack into private computers as part of investigations. Debate also focused on the expanded powers of the Security Intelligence Service (SIS), which would be allowed to filter e-mail messages using keywords. This was strongly attacked by civil liberties organisations and ISPs.

Convicted for sending "offensive" e-mails

Pacifist Bruce Hubbard was convicted on 3 November 2003 of sending allegedly "offensive" e-mails to the US embassy in Wellington protesting against the war in Iraq and denouncing US foreign policy in general. He was banned from approaching within 250 metres of the building in Auckland housing the US consulate.

Links

The Internet Society of New Zealand www.internetnz.net.nz

The Government Communications Security Bureau www.gcsb.govt.nz

The Privacy Commissioner www.privacy.org.nz

The daily New Zealand Herald www.nzherald.co.nz

* The DAI (Digital Access Index) has been devised by the International Telecommunications Union to measure the access of a country's inhabitants to information and communication technology. It ranges from 0 (none at all) to 1 (complete access).

** Assessment of the situation in each country (good, middling, difficult, serious) is based on murders, imprisonment or harassment of cyber-dissidents or journalists, censorship of news sites, existence of independent news sites, existence of independent ISPs and deliberately high connection charges.

ENDS

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