This is the Message Centre for Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

Just out of curiosity...

Post 1

Tube - the being being back for the time being

... and since you're the only Kiwi I know currently living in NZ. smiley - winkeye
I happend to stumble across an the following article at

"International co-operation in internet surveillance
Nicky Hager 22.11.2000

The police, Security Intelligence Service and the Government Communications Security
Bureau of New Zealand are pushing for major new surveillance powers including the ability to spy on emails

All of this will soon be possible. New surveillance laws, devised under a National Government and now promoted by Cabinet minister Paul Swain, include legalising spying on Internet communications, allowing Police and intelligence agencies to "hack" covertly into individuals' computers and forcing people to hand over computer passwords and encyption keys so that e-mail communications and computer files can be read. The new legislation would also impose "requirements" on Internet service providers and telephone companies to co-operate with intelligence agencies and police and install systems to assist spying on their customers. "

The article then goes on for a couple of pages. What I wondered about is, how much public dicussion does/did this plan create?


Just out of curiosity...

Post 2

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

It has generated quite a bit of debate. What they are really trying to do is write laws that let them prosocute hackers and fraudsters on the internet. At the moment in NZ it is open slather. No rules.

The police and other spooks want to have the power to intercept emails in the same way as they now have the power to tap telephones. Some large businesses are concerned about industrial espionage. Customs agents already have the power to check our snail mail - as they have in other countries

The government will probably end up enacting laws similar (though not as draconian) to the ones the Poms (Brits) recently adopted.

The police etc would have to apply to the courts to get an interception warrant first. The warrant would specify for how long the emails could be intercepted. They won't be able to trawl through everybodys mail.

At least here in Kiwiland we are having an open debate. smiley - bigeyes

Just out of curiosity...

Post 3

Tube - the being being back for the time being

Thanks for the reply!
Interesting. Over here the (German translation of) the article raised some discussion in the internet forum. Mainly it centered around the connection of ECHELON, Carnivore and the advancing national legislation regarding rights of the law enforceement authorities to "invade" the electronic personality.
The other main string of discussion was about the question of whether these new powers are serving a cause or are just abusive. I think it has to be mentioned that both the readers and the editors of Telepolis (URL removed by moderator)are a fairly liberal mob. (Actually, Telepolis won a prize for their quite critical series of articles on the new European (Internet) Police (Enfopol)).

Just out of curiosity...

Post 4

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

An Echelon base still operates under great secrecy here in NZ. Protesters periodically try to storm the place. This appeared in a New Zealand newspaper, The Dominion, on February 28, 2000.

System intercepted calls by Princess Diana

The international eavesdropping Echelon system, which has a listening post near Blenheim, NZ, targeted calls by Princess Diana, Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul 11, according to former intelligence officers.

The monitoring system is part of a worldwide network that operates at least 10 stations around the world, including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Britain and the United States.

Two foreign intelligence staff quoted in the British Sunday Times newspaper yesterday said the system was used to spy on Princess Diana, the Pope, Mother Teresa, Greenpeace, Amnesty International and Christian Aid.

Mike Frost, a Canadian intelligence officer for 20 years, said the system was just a "great vacuum cleaner" that sucked everything up.

Wayne Madsen, an American intelligence officer for more than 20 years, said anybody who was politically active ended up on the radar screen. Material on Diana was collected because of her work to ban land mines.

Information overload

Post 5

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

Tube, this article appeared today in a NZ magazine called the "Listener". The writer is the magazines computer columnist - a pretty liberal guy.

Changes to the Crimes Act will kneecap amateur eavesdroppers, but not the police.

In matters of electronic interception, scepticism is compulsory. And it ought to be applied as much to those who sound the alarm as those who would do the snooping.

For all the virtue of his work in bringing the Echelon satellite surveillance network to light, Nicky Hager consistently gives the impression in the media that all our email and web journeys are subject to inter-governmental satellite spooky. This is simply not true. Leaving aside the difficulty of plucking individual emails from the teeming bitstream between here and California, the vast bulk of our data - especially since the commissioning of the Southern Cross Cable - does not even go by satellite. Likewise, the Greens have exercised their traditional right to object to things that sound a bit iffy to the public and declared that they won't be supporting proposed amendments to the Crimes Act to allow the police to intercept email.

The government has responded that the police - and anybody else who wants a crack - can legally intercept email right now. The proposal would make interception illegal, thus enhancing the privacy of Internet users, but then exempt the police subject to conditions similar to those now required for a phone tap. Viewed as a move to bring the law into the Internet age, the proposal is worthy of debate, but hardly cause for civil panic.

The same cannot be said for some of the measures the police would like to see thrown in. In response to a request originally made by the police to the last government, the Ministry of Economic Development is drawing up a plan to require all public telecommunications networks to be capable of interception. To this end, the police either want access to the keys with which calls on Vodafone's GSM network are encrypted, or for the GSM encryption to be switched off altogether, as it is in the US.

Know this. the police's ability to intercept calls as provided under the law is not hampered by GSM encryption. They just need a warrant to go to Vodafone's (or anyone else's) switch and tap the number being investigated. It is my understanding that the same applies to emails (assuming they have not been otherwise encrypted - another issue altogether) and faxes.

The only real benefit of either turning off GSM encryption or handing the police the keys would be to allow "fishing expeditions" -scans in search of evidence that might be to used to apply for a proper interception warrant. Anybody with the right knowledge and equipment can, of course, do the same sort of fishing around Telecom's analogue mobile network (on which calls are not encrypted) right now.

The Crimes Act amendments would make it an offence for anyone other than authorised agencies to intercept digital communications. For those protections to be undermined by the changes to the Tele-communications Act being drafted by the MED would be a poor result indeed.


Just out of curiosity...

Post 6

Tube - the being being back for the time being

Ah, right!
That's a slightly more informative/less populistic article of the subject. Thanks a lot for typing the whole thing! It sheds light on the current situation vs the new one to be created; different from the piece I mentioned which looks like a rant compared to it. It made a lot of things clearer to me.
In case you are interested, there are a whole bunch of further informations about Echelon to be found at (URL removed by moderator)
Sometimes it seems that the only "safe" way of communication is a handwritten and wax-sealed letter... back to the times of romance...

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