May 062013

The Government Communications and Security Bureau will be able to spy on New Zealanders under proposed law changes unveiled today. But it will need the prime minister’s permission.

New legislation to overhaul the rules governing the GCSB was released this afternoon by Prime Minister John Key.

The GCSB has been under scrutiny since it was revealed the intelligence agency illegally spied on internet millionaire Kim Dotcom.

The agency was meant to assist with international intelligence and cyber security, but was not supposed to spy on New Zealanders, that was the role of the Security Intelligence Service.

However, under proposed changes the GCSB would be able to monitor New Zealand citizens and residents with the permission of the responsible minister – usually the prime minister.

“The GCSB will require an authorisation from the responsible minister and the commissioner of security warrants when its cyber security and information assurance functions are being performed in relation to the communications of New Zealanders,” Key said.

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