Telco Interception Bill Completes Second Reading

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 — 4:52 PM

The second reading of Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill was completed by 61 to 58 with National, ACT and United Future supporting.A controversial spying bill made progress in the House this afternoon.

The second reading of Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill was completed by 61 to 58 with National, ACT and United Future supporting.

Governmentss usually hope to get support from leading opposition parties when dealing with national security issues, but in this case and the recent GCSB bill, Labour declined to support saying privacy rights were being trumped.

This Government says the bill seeks to repeal and replace the Telecommunications (Interception Capability) Act 2004 in order to ensure that interception obligations applying to the telecommunications industry are clear, do not impose unnecessary compliance costs, and are sufficiently flexible to respond to current and future operational needs and technological developments.

The bill is opposed by Labour and the Greens who say it oversteps the mark and is an intrusion of privacy.

A number of minor changes were made in select committee, but these did not satisfy a number of those opposed to many provisions in the bill.

Local telecommunication and internet companies have issues with the requirements on them to comply with Government instructions on network requirements.

Internet giants such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others also say the bill is onerous and out of step with similar legislation in other jurisdictions.

The responsible minister Amy Adams is introducing further amendments in the committee stage and said today there had been many useful submissions to the committee which had led to them making changes.

Adams said the bill ensured interception laws were kept up to date and reinforced the Government’s powers to require telcos and others complied with national security requirements.

The bill was now more targeted and clear about what the sector would have to report on to the Government on network operations and security.

Adams said some criticism of the bill was inaccurate. The bill did not open “backdoors’ to networks or provide open access to networks by security agencies and privacy was maintained.

“The Bill does not change in any way agencies capabilities to intercept communications, Adam said.

Labour Leader David Cunliffe said his party continued to strongly oppose the legislation as it did not provide protection for the privacy of communications from spying by the state.


MPs began the third readings of the Maritime Transport Amendment Bill split into two bills, Copyright (Parallel Importing of Films) Amendment Bill and the Local Government (Auckland Council) Amendment Bill (No 2).

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