Letter: Spy bill concerns

Last updated 12:15 22/08/2013

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OPINION: The Washington Post has reported through The Southland Times print edition of August 17 that the US Government's National Security Agency (NSA) has overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since it was given the rights that our New Zealand spy organisation will get, through the Government's pending legislation.

However, Mr Key assures us, that, this will not happen in New Zealand, because the cost of us going to the extent that the US does, would be ''far too expensive''.

Evidently, our government will adopt a more targeted approach.

Nevertheless, our spy agency will not restrict surveillance to security risks, as the Kim Dotcom case showed - that heavy-handed action came after the US Government will have told our government Mr Dotcom had breached copyright laws in the US.

Our prime minister has highlighted the protections the pending legislation provides for New Zealanders from unwarranted invasions of our privacy by the Government's spy agency.

But stringent protections are supposed to be in place in the US, and they certainly haven't worked there.

Gwynne Dyer highlights the growing international concerns about the ability of the US Government's NSA to access international emails, most of which are routed through the US.

This is something New Zealand will need to also think about, in time.

But our immediate concern - and it is probably already too late to do anything about it - is the pending government spy legislation which Mr Key hurriedly had drafted and rushed into Parliament after the Kim Dotcom fiasco became public knowledge.

NEIL WYETH
Invercargill

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- The Southland Times

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