The New Zealand government has rejected the appeal of tech companies to be exempted from the controversial spy law.
The bid of the Internet's Big Four was rejected after Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Yahoo sent a letter to Communications Minister Amy Adams to express their concern regarding the new Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Bill.
The new will be submitted for its second reading in Parliament Oct. 15. It is a proposed companion bill to the Government Communications and Security Bureau (GSCB) Act, which was recently passed in Parliament.
The country's latest spy bill seeks to require Internet service companies and network operators to provide access to spy agencies and allow them to monitor communications. If passed, the bill will allow the intelligence agency minister to place "interception obligations" on these tech companies. The Big Four also offers messaging services which New Zealand wants to monitor.
In the letter, the Internet's Big Four said if New Zealand will require their systems to be intercepted Kiwi spy agencies to gain access, this may bring about "serious legal conflicts" for companies based in other countries.
These companies also said New Zealand's proposed telecommunications bill would be inconsistent with other countries that belong to the "Five Eyes" spy network. New Zealand's GSCB is a known contributor to the network.
The Big Four also pointed out that New Zealand already has international legal systems in place for its law enforcement agencies to access information if needed. The companies suggested an "alternative approach" for an improved collaboration between local enforcement agencies with their U.S. counterparts. They also suggested that the government will establish a point of contact for requesting information from international companies.
However, Adams responded to the letter and assured Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo that there will be a proper process before international companies will be required to provide interception capability. This would ensure conflicts of laws between New Zealand and other countries.
Adams told the Internet companies that their suggested alternative approach was insufficient in accomplishing the spy bill's objectives.
Meanwhile, Adams announced Oct. 14 that the bill will be tweaked to include the removal of Clause 39. If successful, the bill will no longer block international companies from offering their services in New Zealand if they lacked interception capability in their systems.
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