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Internet Party to Pull Plug on Government Spying

May 2, 2014

Internet Party to Pull Plug on Government Spying

The Internet Party will pull the plug on out-of-control Government spying by immediately repealing laws which have given the country’s spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), unprecedented and chilling powers to snoop on Kiwis.

Internet Party chief executive Vikram Kumar said the GCSB Bill and theTelecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill had put the privacy and Internet freedom of all New Zealanders in peril.

“And all in the name of national security and economic well-being. These pieces of legislation were rushed through by the Government in response to the Kitteridge Report, which found that the GCSB had been spying on New Zealanders illegally. They allow the Government and its Five Eyes intelligence partners – led by the United States’ National Security Agency – to undertake mass surveillance of New Zealand citizens and permanent residents without matching oversight or accountability.”

Mr Kumar said the Internet Party would remove the legal basis for the mass surveillance of New Zealanders.

“Kiwis going about their lives should not be subjected to having their personal information and online communications collected by Government spies and shared with foreign agencies in what is a clumsy and ultimately ineffective global spying dragnet.

“Mass surveillance isn’t making New Zealanders safer. There is absolutely no evidence that mass surveillance works, not even for national security. Even the usual ‘if you only knew what we know’ from secretive spy bosses and politicians can’t hide that fact. All these laws have done is trade away New Zealand’s sovereignty and independence to overseas powers.”

The Internet Party’s Privacy and Internet Freedom policy will also:
• ensure that the 88 people illegally spied on by the GCSB (as per the Kitteridge Report) are informed about the unlawful violation of their privacy and are issued an apology from the Government
• review intelligence co-operation agreements with a view to exiting the Five Eyes network
• initiate an end-to-end review of the GCSB Act and the role of that agency and New Zealand’s other intelligence agencies

In addition, the Internet Party will strengthen the Bill of Rights Act by elevating it to superior legislation, as well as entrenching it so that a future government could only change it under special circumstances. The Internet Party will initiate a fast-track review of the Act by the Law Commission to consider whether it is still fit for purpose in a digital age. This review could lead to an upgrade to the Bill of Rights Act or a companion Bill of Digital Rights.

The Internet Party’s members now have the opportunity to provide input into what will form full and final policy. Using an online discussion platform, Internet Party members will be able to view, discuss and contribute to high-level policy proposals before final policy is confirmed in the Internet Party’s manifesto.

“Our commitment is to making good policy by directly involving our members and taking advantage of their expertise and insights,” said Mr Kumar. “This is digital democracy in action.”

Discussion on the party’s Privacy and Internet Freedom policy is in progress on the Policy Forum https://internet.org.nz/forum, while the work-in-progress policy document is at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qTAFzZSsBEoRuO2J1s4VMRsKJF-OilpGboYR1sRK25M/.

ENDS

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