GCSB Bill reported back to the House - improved but not fundamentally changed
"Key has been arrogant and dismissive in the extreme toward all the very legitimate concerns raised by various parties."Featured comment
RIGHT: Retired Supreme Court Judge Sir Edmund Thomas chairs the “Stop the GCSB Bill” public meeting at the Mt Albert War Memorial Hall in Auckland Thursday evening.
A shoulder-to-shoulder panel listened to a panel than included Dame Anne Salmond – anthropologist, author and New Zealander of the Year - who called the GCSB bill "a kind of electronic McCarthyism"; Herald , Dr Rodney Harrison QC (who presented the Law Society submission on GCSB Bill), Kim Dotcom and Tech Liberty's Thomas Beagle. Livestream here - Editor.
Today the results of the Intelligence and Security Committee's deliberations on the GCSB Bill were released.
The sixty-two page report, which incorporates an explanation of changes agreed by the Committee, minority reports and the amended Bill text itself, is available in PDF form on Parliament's website here.
InernetNZ policy lead Susan Chalmers is currently working through the draft, and I have had a quick high level scan. Susan may add some comments, or we may save that until the SOP is out, but my in non-lawyer eyes here are some interesting points:
- some general modest improvements to the oversight regime, such as a panel to assist the Inspector General;
- making sure warrants can't be issued for the interception of privileged (in the sense of lawyer-client, one assumes) communications of NZ citizens or residents;
- a set of principles the Bureau has to apply in carrying out its functions, including respect for human rights.
- The changes broadly look like modest improvements. Some concerns have been taken on board - but the Bill is not fundamentally changed.
This is the first part of two sets of changes - the changes agreed between Peter Dunne and the Government are to be included in a Supplementary Order Paper that we have yet to see.
Those changes will provide further marginal improvements but again, will not leave the Bill fundamentally changed.
The opposition parties have made their views clear in their minority reports in the report. Labour and the Greens maintain their calls for an inquiry into the intelligence community before the legislation is passed, and challenge the necessity of passing this before the wider debate is had.
For an insight into the Government's thinking, it is worth reading the report. Let us know what you think if you do.
Jordan Carter is CEO of InternetNZ