Ask for your GCSB file: Shroff

Last updated 13:21 11/04/2013

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People who suspect they're one of the more than 80 whom the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) may have illegally spied on should ask for their files, Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff says.

The GCSB is intended to provide foreign intelligence to the Government and is not allowed to spy on New Zealand citizens or residents., but a report released this week said the agency had monitored New Zealanders when asked to by Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and police.

Shroff said people who suspected they had been spied on could request their files from both the GCSB and the SIS.

"If they don't receive the information they've asked for, as they're entitled to under the Privacy Act, then they can complain to me and I can consider . . . the reasons that those files may have been withheld," she said.

"If someone suspects they're one of the 88, they could request information from GCSB."

Shroff refused to comment on the wider privacy issues as a result of the GCSB's allegedly illegal spying.

"Yes it's a privacy issue but I have to work within the confines of my legislation, and my legislation gives me only limited oversight of GCSB," she said.

Prime Minister John Key is expected to announce his response to the report when he is back from China next week.

It is likely to include law changes, possibly making it legal for the GCSB to monitor New Zealanders on behalf of other intelligence agencies.

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