The Green Party will not support the Telecommunications (Interception Capability) Bill reported back to Parliament today.
“The bill enables the police and intelligence services to further intrude on our privacy by monitoring our email and internet use,” said Green Human Rights spokesperson Keith Locke.
“I hope Parliament will keep a very close eye on how the agencies use this legislation. It will now be very easy, technically, for them to spy on anyone’s email, although generally they will have to have a warrant. All telecommunications and internet systems are now required to be ‘interception capable’.”
Mr Locke sat on the Law and Order select committee that considered the bill.
“At least this legislation, the technical implementation of powers granted to state agencies in the Crimes Amendment Act (No 6), does not authorise some of the more draconian surveillance systems applying overseas.
“For example, it doesn’t enable the police to conduct ‘key word’ trawling of a mass of domestic communications, as the American FBI’s Carnivore system does. And it doesn’t require Internet Service Providers to store details of people’s emails for later inspection, as is being proposed in Europe.
“But it could be that once all systems here are ‘interception capable’ the police and security agencies will ask for more powers. We may be on a slippery slope towards even greater surveillance of our personal communications,” said Mr Locke.