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NZ: Nicky Hager und die Ermaechtigung der Polizei Druck mich
Date: 2000-11-17T13:17:39

NZ: Nicky Hager und die Ermaechtigung der Polizei

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Die neuen Ermächtigungsgesetze für Neuseelands Behörden
scheinen nicht so einfach durch zu gehen, wie geplant. Dass
sie eine verdächtige Ähnlichkeit mit allem haben, was rund
um das ETSI und die Cybercrime-Initiative des Europarats
Hierzukontinents im Schwange ist, sollte nicht überraschen.

Backgrounds wie immer in der Infobase
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WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- It was supposed to be an
easy bit of legislation to reflect the advance of new

But a soft approach to changes to computer hacking laws in
New Zealand has failed. Now the proposed changes are
under intense scrutiny

Researcher Nicky Hager, author of the 1996 book Secret
Power about the existence of the Echelon surveillance
network, argued in New Zealand's Sunday Star Times
newspaper that planned extensions to New Zealand law,
when taken together, have the same effect as Britain's
controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

And Hager says the proposed laws have their genesis in an
FBI-led meeting on surveillance laws in 1993 that New
Zealand representatives attended.

The first proposed change is an amendment to New
Zealand's Crimes Act, which would make it illegal to access
a computer system without authorization. But the
amendment would exempt New Zealand's law enforcement
and security agencies, working with appropriate authority.

This amendment also extends the definition of "private
communication" to include not only oral communication but
also e-mail, faxes, and message pagers. The second phase
of the changes will be amendments to the
Telecommunications Act, expected to go before parliament
next month. That proposal would require telecommunications
network operators to ensure their networks are capable of
being intercepted.

The minister sponsoring both pieces of legislation, Paul
Swain, introduced into New Zealand's parliament the
amendment that would outlaw hacking. "We need this
legislation to protect the privacy of law abiding New Zealand
citizens," he said Thursday. "Just as it is not cool or clever
for a criminal to break into someone's home or workplace, it
is not cool or clever to break into some one's computer."


But even though a majority voted for the bill to go to the
select committee, there is no chance it will pass without

One group of lawmakers, the parliamentary Green Party,
wouldn't even support the legislation's referral to a committee.
Green MP Keith Locke says his party sees the anti-hacking
legislation "as a fig leaf to cover the main purpose of the bill:
to allow snooping by the security agencies and the police."
Hager's article suggests the new legislation would allow a
permanent "interception interface" to be built into every
Internet and phone company's system, which could be
remotely controlled by intelligence and police agencies.

The major opposition party, the National Party, latched onto
this. "What I am concerned about," National's Tony Ryall
said, "is the government having a permanent line into every
Internet service provider in this country. And the reason why I
am concerned about that is that this government can offer no
guarantee that those lines will only be used for authorized
and warranted purposes, because privacy is at stake."

New Zealand's Act Party also has reservations about the law.
Stephen Franks, the party's spokesman on justice and
commerce, is adamant that he'd want to ensure that the
government sticks to its proposals to leave traditional
safeguards for interception warrants in place. "They shouldn't
be allowed to do routine monitoring of traffic," Franks says.
According to David King, manager of telecommunications
policy at the Ministry of Economic Development, the
proposed changes to the Telecommunications Act are also a
result of advances in technology. The police are unable to
intercept calls on digital mobile networks and have pushed for
the changes to require network operators to make their
networks and any encrypted messages capable of

Hager has argued this might mean new provisions to force
people to hand over passwords and encryption keys. The Act
Party, Stephen Franks says, will look closely at anything
that forces people to facilitate interception.
The man who looks out for New Zealanders' privacy, New
Zealand's independent Privacy Commissioner Bruce Slane,
has serious concerns about the powers the proposed
legislation could give police.

"I'm concerned that proposal should not establish search
warrants as legal authority for remote access to computers
... a sort of 'police hacking' provision," says Slane. "I
consider that the exception should be limited to having
access to computers on premises which the police have
entered pursuant to a search warrant."

"If the exemption were to enable the police to have access
without ever having entered the premises, it would be an
entirely new surreptitious means of carrying out
investigations which would carry worrying privacy and
accountability issues," Slane said.

A new set of safeguards to govern the practice would need to
be developed, he added.
The Internet Society of New Zealand is keen to discuss the
issues the proposed legislation has raised and plans to hold
a forum early next year to do it. The society supports the
proposed legislation that would make hacking illegal,
according to Frank March, the secretary of ISOCNZ.

Nicky Hager's article has ensured that passage of the
legislation will not be a mere formality. The Law and Order
Committee, which must consider the legislation, has until the
end of May 2001 to scrutinize the amendments to the Crimes

Hager's article had suggested that the legislation would be
pushed through the committee stage in just a few weeks.
Rank-and-file Labor members, annoyed at a lack of
consultation, helped ensure this legislation did not face a
truncated committee process.

Nonetheless, Hager remains skeptical about the scrutiny.
"The trouble is that when the government has committed
itself, internally before the issues are even made public it's
much harder to make them change their minds. However, I
don't think they have appreciated at all how big the public
reaction may be," Hager said.

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World-Information Forum
24 11 2000 Technisches Museum Wien
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relayed by Harkank
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