New Zealand to change spy laws after Dotcom bungle

May 06, 2013
Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom is pictured during a press conference at his Auckland mansion on January 20, 2013. New Zealand unveiled plans Monday to allow its foreign intelligence agency to spy on local residents, to fill a loophole exposed when Dotcom was illegally snooped upon.

New Zealand unveiled plans Monday to allow its foreign intelligence agency to spy on local residents, to fill a loophole exposed when Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom was illegally snooped upon.

Prime Minister John Key said the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) needed additional powers because the challenges facing intelligence agencies had changed enormously in the past decade.

"In large part, this is due to the rapid evolution of technology in areas like cyber-security and the threat of ," he said.

"It's vital that legislation in this area is fit for purpose and keeps pace with changes in the , while also safeguarding the rights of law-abiding New Zealanders."

Existing legislation says the GCSB is supposed to focus on foreign intelligence and , explicitly forbidding it from spying on New Zealand citizens or residents.

But it was revealed last year that it spied on Dotcom, a German national with New Zealand residency, before armed police raided his Auckland mansion in January 2012 and arrested him for online piracy.

Key issued a public apology to Dotcom and a subsequent inquiry released last month found another 88 New Zealand citizens or residents may have been illegally spied on. Details of the cases were not released.

Under reforms to be introduced to parliament this week, the GCSB will be able to spy on New Zealanders provided it receives permission from Key, who holds ministerial responsibility for the agency.

Dotcom has received clearance from the New Zealand courts to attempt to sue the GCSB and police, alleging wrongful arrest.

The opposition Labour Party said extending the GCSB's powers was a "band aid" solution that did nothing to address a lack of oversight which had shaken the public's trust in .

"The state should not extend its powers to spy on citizens lightly... (John Key) is asking New Zealanders to trust him to personally to decide who can be spied on, despite his record of lax oversight of the GCSB," Labour leader David Shearer said.

Dotcom, 39, was arrested by New Zealand authorities cooperating with a massive US probe into online piracy.

US authorities allege his Megaupload and related file-sharing sites netted more than US$175 million and cost copyright owners more than US$500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows and other content.

Dotcom, who changed his name from Kim Schmitz, denies any wrongdoing and is free on bail in New Zealand ahead of an extradition hearing scheduled in August.

Explore further: Four questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NZ court backs Dotcom's right to sue spy agency

Mar 07, 2013

An appeal court Thursday backed Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom's right to sue New Zealand's foreign intelligence agency for illegally spying on him as part of a US probe into alleged online piracy.

NZ PM apologises to Dotcom for spy bungle

Sep 27, 2012

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key apologised Thursday to Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom over an "unacceptable" bungle by government spies leading up to the arrest of the Megaupload boss.

Megaupload New Zealand extradition case delayed again

Dec 20, 2012

A US bid to extradite Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom from New Zealand for alleged online piracy has been delayed for a second time and will not be heard until August next year, his lawyers said Thursday.

Decision due in Megaupload founder's N.Z. bail bid

Jan 24, 2012

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is set to learn Wednesday if he will remain behind bars in New Zealand while US authorities seek his extradition on allegations of massive copyright theft.

Megaupload N. Zealand extradition case delayed

Jul 10, 2012

Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom's extradition case against US authorities has been delayed until next year amid legal wrangling in New Zealand over evidence disclosure, his lawyers said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Four questions about missing Malaysian plane answered

17 hours ago

Travelers at Asian airports have asked questions about the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Here are some of them, followed by answers.

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

Apr 18, 2014

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...

Freight train industry to miss safety deadline

Apr 16, 2014

The U.S. freight railroad industry says only one-fifth of its track will be equipped with mandatory safety technology to prevent most collisions and derailments by the deadline set by Congress.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Sean_W
5 / 5 (1) May 06, 2013
We're sorry we illegally spied on you and we're going to change the laws to make it legal to spy on you. It will be great; you'll love it.

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...