Google Inc Criticises New Zealand's Spy Bill for Inability to Address User Privacy Concerns

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By Reissa Su | September 24, 2013 4:58 PM EST

Google Inc has criticised the New Zealand government for its new spy bill's failure to address privacy concerns.  The new spy bill is a new law to improve online state surveillance.  The commerce committee has sent the Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Bill back to the Parliament.

The bill will define how Internet service providers and telecommunications companies will allow spy agencies like the Government Communications Security Bureau (GSCB), Security Intelligence Service and the police to monitor all communications made over networks and services.

New Zealand's spy bill has been criticised by global technology companies like Microsoft and Google. The country warned that the implementation of the new spy bill will intercept communications contradicting the laws of U.S. and other nations. 

According to Kim Dotcom, New Zealand's spy bill could order companies like Mega to decode the encrypted data of user information which would be physically not possible given the encryption systems used.

The committee has responded to Google's criticism by saying that New Zealand's spy bill will require service providers to take "reasonable steps" to assist New Zealand's spy agencies which will be in possession of a warrant.  The committee also said the spy bill was necessary in case the warrant will be in conflict with another law outside of New Zealand's jurisdiction.   

The New Zealand spy bill will not require data service providers to decode data beyond the stated "reasonable steps". 

A spokesman for Google said the company's concerns had not been considered by the committee. Google said the current New Zealand spy bill is unable to balance between the legitimate concerns of the authorities and the security of Google's users.

Labour Party leader David Cunlliffe was one of the speakers in Wellington who is against the spy bill.

The new bill will also require telecommunication companies to consult with New Zealand's GSCB when developing new products and services.

Paul Brislen, chief executive of the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand, said the bill may have an impact on the type of international services like Google and Microsoft services offered to New Zealand.  It may also become an obstacle for Kiwi companies to expand and do business globally.  

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