Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Submission hearings will be public

In a very unusual move, the Security and Intelligence Committee has decided to hear submissions in public. A number of submitters have been given speaking slots of ten minutes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of next week (July 2 – July 5).

Usually submissions are heard with only the five committee members and a number of unidentified members of the “Intelligence Community” being present. The opening of the process to the public is a sign that the government has realised that there is more opposition to the GCSB Bill than it anticipated.

Submissions for the GCSB sister bill, the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill (TICS) were heard today. The two bills must be seen in conjunction to get an idea of the magnitude of surveillance the government wants to legalise. An overview of the bill is here. For both bills, after the submissions are heard, they are likely to be made public on the parliamentary web site.

The Security and Intelligence Committee will report back to parliament on the GCSB Bill by July 26, the Law and Order Select Committee will report back on the TICS Bill on a later date.

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