Wednesday, February 2, 2011

OASIS - Submissions Against SIS Amendment Bill

Submission on the Security Intelligence Amendment Bill close Friday, 18 February.

Normally submissions to select committees are heard in public, but because this Bill will be heard before the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), chaired by John Key, submissions will be be heard in secrecy. So if you do a submission, demand to be heard in public.

General Instructions
Submissions are due 18 February 2011

  • Submissions can be delivered in person,
  • or posted (two copies required) to Lesley Ferguson, the Clerk of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Parliament Buildings, Wellington,
  • or faxed to (04) 472 6160
  • or emailed to
Information about the Bill and the Select Committee can be found at the following page on parliament's website:
Format of your submission
There is no specific way that your submission should look but you must include your name and contact details, and also state if you want to make an oral submission to the select committee.

Some reasons for opposing the SIS Amendment Bill include the following facts:

  1. The Bill introduces more laws giving SIS agents protection from liability, be it for
    domestic or foreign warrants. However, both the current Act and the Crimes Act already protect the SIS from liability. These existing Acts already allow SIS agents to burgle, intercept and or seize material and communications that they could not otherwise 'lawfully' obtain. That is, the current law allows them to do what is otherwise illegal in NZ law. These laws must not be expanded.
  2. The Bill introduces the concept of 'facilities' to cover electronic technology, however the current Act already allows the SIS to get warrants to spy on a person 'communication, document, or thing '. These terms are already too broad, the scope must not be expanded.
  3. The Bill gives the Director of Security powers of delegation. The Director has immense powers to snoop and spy , these should be contained rather than delegated.
  4.  The Bill will allow warrants to be given that do not name those assisting in the execution of the warrant. The actions of the SIS are already clocked in secrecy – we do not need more hidden layers. The current Act states that all people assisting the SIS under warrant must be specified in the warrant. This must be retained;
Part of the justification for this bill is that the powers of the SIS should be the same as agencies like the Police and Customs. We say that not only should the SIS not have any additional powers to conduct surveillance but that none of these agencies need the vast invasive powers of surveillance being given to them.

The totality of the Bill gives the SIS more power to covertly intercept communications, invade computers, and put tracking devices on people's cars. It gives the SIS more protection from liability, basically removing any protection offered by the Bill of Rights from unreasonable search and seizure. The Privacy Commissioner has spoken out against this Bill. She believes it impacts on peoples' so-called 'rights to privacy'.

For all these facts the Intelligence and Security Committee must reject this
Bill. It is not needed.