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New Zealand Cyber Spies Win New Powers 132

Posted by timothy
from the mmm-new-powers dept.
caeos writes "New cyber-monitoring measures have been quietly introduced in New Zealand giving police and Security Intelligence Service officers the power to monitor all aspects of someone's online life. The measures are the largest expansion of police and SIS surveillance capabilities for decades, and mean that all mobile calls and texts, email, internet surfing and online shopping, chatting and social networking can be monitored anywhere in New Zealand. The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS or SIS) is an intelligence agency of the New Zealand government."
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New Zealand Cyber Spies Win New Powers

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  • Warrants (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:17PM (#30627794)
    At least in New Zealand they still need a warrant.
    • Re:Warrants (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:25PM (#30627860)

      Indeed they do. This simply extends the existing wire tapping laws to internet/mobile comms

    • Re:Warrants (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:26PM (#30627866) Journal

      Police and SIS must still obtain an interception warrant naming a person or place they want to monitor but, compared to the phone taps of the past, a single warrant now covers phone, email and all internet activity.

      In other words, they no longer have to specify which form of electronic communication they wish to monitor; one blanket warrant covers them all...

      • Re:Warrants (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:34PM (#30627924) Journal

        Doesn't that kind of make sense? Before phone was the only possible electronic communications device. If there's a need (real need) to tap on to someones phone, it should include all electronic communications.

        • Re:Warrants (Score:5, Informative)

          by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:42PM (#30627988) Journal

          In the USA, search and seizure powers were specifically limited by the fourth amendment for among other reasons, reducing the liklihood of fishing expeditions. Here you can't use the power to search something specific eg. someone's car to justify searching someone's house, mail etc. as well.

          • by kallen3 (171792)

            In the USA, search and seizure powers were specifically limited by the fourth amendment for among other reasons, reducing the liklihood of fishing expeditions. Here you can't use the power to search something specific eg. someone's car to justify searching someone's house, mail etc. as well.

            and i have a bridge to sell you too.

          • Re:Warrants (Score:5, Interesting)

            by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity&yahoo,com> on Sunday January 03, 2010 @02:03AM (#30629698) Homepage

            Maybe so, but over the last 10 years the government has made some changes to it's interpretation of the 4th amendment. Specifically, what constitutes an expectation of privacy as defined by Rawlings v. Kentucky, 448 U.S. 98, 104.

            Beyond even the 4th amendment and 5th amendment, the US government has shown a willingness to ignore the constitution and even international law altogether if they feel national security interests are at stake. The somewhat recent case of an extraordinary rendition of a Canadian citizen while on US soil to Syria poses significant opposition to commonly held beliefs about constitutional protection. After being tortured and returned to Canada, in 2007 he came back to the US to testify before congress about his experience and as far as I know, nothing has ever come of that hearing.

            The Alien Terrorist Removal Provisions of the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995 allows for the FISA court to deport an alien suspected of terrorism based solely on classified evidence, to which the target cannot try to suppress evidence or intervene in any way including having representation at any hearings. Whether they are deported or not, they receive very little(if any) information about the proceedings or how any decision was reached. Oddly enough, after reading the entire bill, I could not find any reference anywhere describing where the persons can be deported to. In essence, our government formally legalized extraordinary rendition 15 years ago, although I doubt in many cases of extraordinary rendition that they follow the appropriate steps(however rudimentary they may be) through the FISA court. All they have to do is call it a deportation instead of rendition. And since the target cannot intervene in any proceedings of the process, they cannot suppress any evidence gathered via illegal means.

            If anyone was hoping for "change", you didn't get it the way you thought you would. The Alien Terrorist Removal Provisions of this bill were sponsored by your very own Joe Biden. Clinton formulated the bill but it wasn't until the Oklahoma bombing that the political will to pass it existed.

            So here we sit, 15 years later. The government now has the PATRIOT act on top of what was considered in 1995 to be necessary to stop terrorism. We have broad spectrum warrantless wiretapping without FISA approval based on a shady interpretation of an AG. Are we safer? In some respects maybe. Would any of these laws prevent a bomber such as Timothy McVeigh from repeating what he did? Probably not. Would these laws prevent someone from hijacking a plane and ramming it into a large bulding? Perhaps.

            But at what cost? It seems to be the question that no politician has the fortitude to ask. Where do we draw the line? Terrorism is evil, but at what point do we say "this is the line we can't cross". If we enact further privacy and liberty restrictions every time someone manages to strike America, what will be left in 20 years? 50 years?

            • As a follow-up, Gregory Nojeim(then a counselor for the ACLU) testified before congress in 1995 about their new terrorism law and described in great detail the damage it does to 1st amendment protections. In essence, he described how the new law could create guilt by association and give the government broad selective prosecution powers.

              It's a really interesting read.

            • The Constitution of the United States has been circumvented all the rights found in the Bill of Rights they have been negated by allowing INTERPOL free and unfettered access. With out the protections of the Constitution given to the people of the Nation they are now a Police force on American soil that do not have restraints or the same rules that govern our Nation. Warrant less searches and seizures are now to be the norm. Other rights that we have fought to maintain have been signed away by our current O
        • Why should it? These folks have a warped understanding of privacy. How bad does it have to get? What if someone produced an accurate mind reading device? Then thoughtcrime would become a reality. I imagine people would have a problem with that. Well, I have the same problem with government spooks being able to access my private telephone calls.

          Nobody ever asks us if we are willing to give up our privacy in exchange for security.

          • > Then thoughtcrime would become a reality.

            Not so. At least, not on it's own. Search warrants are to collect evidence. So you could be arrested for thinking 'That was a fun murder yesterday!', since that might be interpreted as strong evidence for having physically carried out a murder yesterday. That doesn't directly mean that thinking something is the crime, although inevitably it might become one. It is two distinct things though: a crime, and evidence of having committed a crime.

      • Funny how the summary posted fails to reflect what TFA is all about. I opened this discussion in my browser, prepared to condemn New Zealand for infringing on the rights of it's citizens. However, after RTFA, I have to go along with them. If we assume that a wire tap is ever justified, for any reason, then it makes little sense to make SOME electronic communications subject to the tap, but others are immune.

        I see nothing wrong here: the cops still have to get a warrant, and go through channels. There sh

        • If they discover additional places they have probable cause to search then they should not have any problem getting a proper warrant specifying as such. If they can't get a warrant for those formerly unknown devices then they really shouldn't be given a blanket warrant for said devices!

    • Judge: Why should I issue a surveillance warrant for this guy?

      Cop: Well, we think that he and his pals got dressed up like Santas, go all liquored up, and then ran through the streets, yelling, "Ho, Ho, Fucking Ho!"

      Judge: Warrant granted!

    • > At least in New Zealand they still need a warrant.

      Unless, of course, the 'collection' is done by partner services of the Echelon-participants...like it's been done for decades.

  • Good grief. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:20PM (#30627824)

    New cyber-monitoring measures have been quietly introduced in New Zealand giving police and Security Intelligence Service officers the power to monitor all aspects of someone's online life.

    Who in the world thinks their "online life" can be kept secret from anyone? Good grief, you don't need to be the New Zealand Secret Service to dig around online to see what people are up to. Once again, if you don't want people to know what your doing, don't put it online for everyone (including the spooks) to see. The Interwebs are by their nature not private. And really, no one really cares what's on your Facebook except your uptight potential employer.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But video surveillance is starting to blanket the civilized world, for a variety of reasons having to do with security, science/engineering, and business (Google). Tie it all together (and they will), and once again Mr. George Orwell is looking incredibly prescient. Apart from the date, 1984 was perhaps the most amazingly accurate forecast of the past 200 years.

    • Re:Good grief. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:31PM (#30627892) Journal

      Encrypted communication such as that between your self and your bank would be considered private. Do you really believe that the government tapping someone's communications is no big deal?

    • Re:Good grief. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ickleberry (864871) <web@pineapple.vg> on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:32PM (#30627900) Homepage
      I always think that privacy went out the window for a large percentage of the population (though more for young people) once they realised they could exchange privacy for attention or the illusion of getting attention on sites like Facebook

      there is also a distinct lack of support for good old shared secret and one-time pad encryption in modern email/IM standards so that isn't helping either. maybe even if things like PGP and 'off the record' plugins were standard then it might be used outside the realm of nerds.
      • by Xugumad (39311)

        A lot of e-mail clients (Thunderbird, OS X's Mail.App, and I believe Outlook) come with support for encryption and signing of e-mails using X.509 certificates and RSA keys. It's a chain of trust (so you have to get a certificate from a certificate authority of some kind) rather than a web, but until recently Thawte was doing free e-mail certificates. The real problem is... no-one seems to care. Why aren't e-mails from my bank signed cryptographically? Do they even know it's a possibility...

        • by arminw (717974)

          ...Why aren't e-mails from my bank signed cryptographically?...
          Because my bank never, ever sends me an e-mail, so it doesn't matter. I have to log securely into my account, in order to see any communications from them. I can also send them information securely via the web when I am logged in to my account. All communications to/from my bank account are encrypted.

          • by Titoxd (1116095)
            My bank does. However, their email essentially amounts to "we sent you a message, log in at our site to see it." They don't put a direct link to the bank's site, they just tell me to go there, so I know that anything that has a bank URL is trying to phish my info. A certificate would still be a helpful addition in that case, though.
          • by Xugumad (39311)

            I get plenty of "You've got stuff waiting. Please log in and read it" or "We've changed our terms and conditions (so you now owe us your first born), please log in to accept them" or similar...

    • Re:Good grief. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:34PM (#30627922) Journal

      You may not realize it but your argument could also be used to justify massive surveillance programs outside of peoples' homes like that in London. After all, what you do outside isn't terribly private either; people can see you all the time but that doesn't make the surveillance mundane and not worth mentioning...

    • uptight potential employer

      Sorry, but that’s mutually exclusive. Either he’s a potential employer. Or he’s uptight, in which case I’d not see him as a potential employer anyway.

      OK, on the other hand, in my business model, there are no employers or employees. There are business partnerships. (Nearly the same thing, but without any enforcement of exclusivity or who gets to hire someone. Also the relationships are equal. Not king & slave.)

    • by thpdg (519053)

      If you're snooping with plans to present it IN COURT, you'll still need permission.
      If you're doing it just to be a joker or a pervert, yeah, you can do it already.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Frosty Piss (770223)

        If you're snooping with plans to present it IN COURT, you'll still need permission.

        Time and time again, the courts have accepted evidence that was improperly collected, with a "don't do it again, wink, wink, nod, nod..."

  • NZIS? (Score:5, Funny)

    by toriver (11308) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:22PM (#30627834)

    I mean, you can't make that shit up. Didn't they at least consider the acronym before deciding on a name?

    • Re:NZIS? (Score:4, Informative)

      by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:37PM (#30627952) Journal

      Considering that the operations in Iraq were once referred to as Operation Iraqi Liberation, it shouldn't surprise you that another government put minimal thought into the naming process for its new surveillance program.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MichaelSmith (789609)

      The Australian Federal Police was going to be called the Federal Law Enforcement Agency.

    • by compro01 (777531)

      *SIS seems to be a minor naming trend in commonwealth countries.

  • by meist3r (1061628) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:25PM (#30627856)
    Is just there to help light the streets at night.

    Oh Welcome, my dear friends, to the future: Where even the worst crimes against humanity are "worth it".
    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:31PM (#30627896)
      They need a warrant, just not multiple warrants. This is how it's supposed to work. They prove to a judge that they have reasonable grounds to monitor a persons communications, and only then to they do so.
      • by meist3r (1061628)
        Well I'd agree with you, then again, look at some of the "reasonable grounds" that lead to a warrant. Can't say much about NZ but here in Germany it's pretty ridiculous what some judges will sign (preferrably when on emergency standby right before a long weekend with several dozen suspects, some offices have stamps for that -signature and all-).

        Also, was meant as a sarcastic post so tough luck. I'm not really surprised on how tough security is getting, I'm actually more surprised how lightly people seem
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:32PM (#30627904)

    Obama will change everything!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 02, 2010 @08:36PM (#30627940)

    Police association vice-president Stuart Mills said ... that people who weren't committing criminal offences had little to fear.

    That's what everyone says who wants to violate privacy. They forget that the privacy itself has value. I fear that my privacy will be violated, for no reason other than that I want privacy. Why do I want privacy? I don't have to justify that - wanting privacy is like wanting happiness. Why do you want happiness? There is no reason. Happiness and privacy are end-wants. People want other things, only because those other things provide happiness and privacy.

    Well, it is for me anyway. Other people may have sensitive things that they want to do anonymously, without anyone finding out who they are, like criticizing a dictator. That's also a valid reason for privacy.

    • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Saturday January 02, 2010 @09:02PM (#30628140) Homepage Journal
      Right. Taking away privacy is not necessary, in fact it's damn dehumanizing.

      It's like being in a zoo, where you know everybody is pointing and laughing at you while you shit behind a wall of glass.

      Imagine this: you're a soldier serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. You may be a colonel with 20 years of service or a lowly grunt with 2. You're a married man who obviously can't have sex, so you and your wife arrange to have a little private "pillow talk" over the phone. NSA agents pull up your private conversation [boingboing.net] for the "lulz", laughing their asses off at you even though you might die tomorrow for the very same government who is paying for them to watch you like a zoo exhibit and e-mail each other details of your sex life just as office workers do the latest jokes.

      Fuck that, man.
      • by dangitman (862676)

        It's like being in a zoo, where you know everybody is pointing and laughing at you while you shit behind a wall of glass.

        I don't think the animals in the zoo care one bit about shitting in front of people, or whether the people are laughing. Not being able to get out, or be in their natural habitat is an entirely different matter.

    • by arminw (717974)

      ....wanting privacy is like wanting happiness...
      The United States Constitution says you have the right to PURSUE happiness, but it does not give you happiness itself. You have to work on that yourself. Why do you expect privacy is any different? There is no such thing as absolute privacy, if you're going to not live as a hermit in a forest somewhere. Law enforcers always have had the power to inspect communications, even in the days when snail mail and special couriers were the only means. Why are you upset

    • by mrdtr (1343377)

      I couldn't agree with you more.
      I have to wonder about these people who justify invasion of privacy, would they be willing to have their entire life monitored, knowing nothing they do is private? Wouldn't they feel the slightest bit violated?

      The lesson here is to never under any circumstance, use any technology when you need to have a private conversation or communication. We must all fully think about what we are going to say before we communicate. If you don't want anyone to know about it beside the person

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597)

      A more reasonable take is here [volokh.com]. Especially since The Volokh Conspiracy is a conservative-leaning libertarian blog, staffed mainly by law professors, that generally dislikes Obama, I'm going to suspect they have a better take on it. Also, a site mockingly named after a conspiracy is probably better than one like patriotroom.com that is deadly earnest about it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rtb61 (674572)

        I hope no one reminds them about foreign embassies on US soil and diplomatic passports. No search and seizure there either, nor coming or going.

        On a side note it is interesting that Interpol looks to be taking on a new role in providing policing capability and education in regions where military peace keeping activities are under way. It is wildly inappropriate to use military in a policing role for two reasons, the lack the proper training or the appropriate psychological profile and secondly they will

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by QuoteMstr (55051)

      Why Does Interpol Need Immunity from American Law? [nationalreview.com]

      Obama exempts INTERPOL from search and seizure on US lands [patriotroom.com]

      Frankly, I wouldn't trust anything on either of those sites: The National Review of William Buckley's old magazine, which these days is just a neoconservative mouthpiece. As for patriotroom: sorry, but the word "patriot" is forever tainted with teabagger idiocy.

      To me, those sites have as much credibility as Sesame Street.

      • by legojenn (462946)

        Were either of the National Review or patriotroom.com brought to you by the letters A & W, and the number 4?

      • by witherstaff (713820) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @10:20PM (#30628534) Homepage

        Sesame street has a lot of real world politics subtly hidden within it. Kermit [wikipedia.org] was the CIA's man that disposed of the democratically elected government of iran to put in a puppet government. People don't appreciate how much a geopolitical fan Henson must have been.

        Robert Newman [google.com] has a far funnier bit on Kermit and puppet governments.

      • Since when is Sesame Street a fountain of lies? I always regarded Sesame Street as eminently credible. Their staff includes many leading figures in children's education. Sorry, can you provide citations of dishonest behavior on their part? I have no idea why you brought them into a discussion of vile politics and mudslinging.

        Secondly, one of the things I learned from Sesame Street was that all ideas are equal, everybody is the same, and there are no right or wrong viewpoints, only different life experie

  • Wouldn't VPN or TOR make this sort of surveillance moot?
    One wonders if all the home wireless networks whose owners never put a password on, would be a good place for "terrorist" to surf from (LOL sorry it's funny)...well...funny until interpol kicks in your door because the terrorist next door used your unsecured wireless networks.

    "but I didn't do it"

    Guilty until you can buy your innocence.

    • by t0p (1154575)

      Wouldn't VPN or TOR make this sort of surveillance moot?

      It would make surveillance more difficult. Which makes this crap even crappier. You'd think that the people who really are up to no good are busy covering their tracks. So who are the spies spying on exactly?

      • by slashmojo (818930)

        So who are the spies spying on exactly?

        The low hanging fruit.. there's bound to be enough nutters who are not tech savvy enough to cover their tracks online (or offline) or even some who don't care.

  • by pspahn (1175617) on Saturday January 02, 2010 @10:27PM (#30628582)
    I'm perfectly aware of the argument about privacy and why it's a good thing. I'm not sure others are aware of why privacy is a bad thing.

    This kind of technology and power in the hands of a certain historical figure from 1930's Europe is indeed something that would worry many. In this day and age, conspiracy theorists aside, a majority of law abiding citizens should have no problem with this technology, provided they are educated and informed on its use.

    This is no different than the conversation I had with my girlfriend's brother the other night. He recently got off probation and we were having the talk about cops and stuff while driving to a concert. He, of course, hates cops, and if he's doing things that are illegal, he should. If you aren't breaking the law, fear of law enforcement borders on irrational. And instead of a response coming back to me mentioning things like Rodney King, cli-Che Guevara, or some martyr of an oppressive militant dictatorship, why not spend some time reading about the countless times when some honest, moral, and ethical person's life was dramatically improved because of modernized laws in the hands of an honest, moral, and ethical society.

    You see, there are idealists on the other side of the argument as well.
    • by arminw (717974)

      ....improved because of modernized laws in the hands of an honest, moral, and ethical society....
      I would like to know if there still is such a thing on this planet? I certainly would not think there is, judging by the 10 o'clock news every night. In fact I wonder if there has ever been such a thing on earth.

    • by williamhb (758070)

      This kind of technology and power in the hands of a certain historical figure from 1930's Europe is indeed something that would worry many. In this day and age, conspiracy theorists aside, a majority of law abiding citizens should have no problem with this technology, provided they are educated and informed on its use.

      Normally I would agree with you, except for another very modern -- looking for "indicators" of future illegality rather than convictions for past illegality. This isn't just an issue of "terrorism", but anywhere that "safety" is a concern -- positive vetting for working with children, with the elderly, money, etc. UK legislation will very soon require a very large proportion of the population to be vetted as to whether they are safe to work with children -- possibly right down to the plumber who fixes the

    • by corbettw (214229)

      why not spend some time reading about the countless times when some honest, moral, and ethical person's life was dramatically improved

      Why not spend some time reading about the countless times when those same individuals have had their lives destroyed? Start with Radley Balko's pieces in Reason, you might find your notions of the inherent goodness of police challenged a bit.

  • by twosat (1414337) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @01:41AM (#30629588)
    New Zealand also has a major satellite communications spy base Waihopai, said to be part of ECHELON, a worldwide network of spy stations. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GCSB_Waihopai
  • My little friend 256-bit AES sends his regards. Have fun!
  • by MSBob (307239) on Sunday January 03, 2010 @02:59AM (#30630010)
    Grand Expanded Search of Telecommunications And Providers Online
  • If the police don't do anything the laws are useless. Last year I had a case where a NZ citizen broke quite a few laws hacking our service. Cert AU was trying to push to help get things rolling, but nothing happened. After two weeks of fighting we got a "case number" and they said they are looking into it. A few months later I was traveling in the region and spent a few weeks in NZ. I spent two days on the phone trying to find somebody to talk to about the case, but only reached awnsering machines. Cert AU
    • And just to be clear, the point is this: If the police does not have the capacity to investigate clear cut cases which fall under old laws, new more permissive laws (from the law reinforcements point of view) will not help, it will just burden the police more as they will probably have more cases to investigate.
      • by yamfry (1533879)
        New, more permissive laws provide police and government prosecutors with the opportunity to selectively pursue certain easy cases. The cases they choose to investigate will invariably be in line with their political or personal agendas. I don't know if I would consider this a burden.
        • New, more permissive laws provide police and government prosecutors with the opportunity to selectively pursue certain easy cases. The cases they choose to investigate will invariably be in line with their political or personal agendas. I don't know if I would consider this a burden.

          I guess it depends who you are asking. This was an easy case and not pursued despite several laws being broken. I was not actually commenting on the morals of the case, and you are correct that it will give them the opportunity to drive their agendas, of course that will just be further resources away from other cases.

  • Everyone else just lies about doing it.
  • Stuff.co.nz took over one of my cores for several minutes before I was able to close that tab. WTF is wrong with them?
  • I think once any government is involved, the term intelligence becomes an oxymoron.
    This agency is surely driven by the taxes stolen from New Zealanders under the pretense of "protecting" them from unsavory internet users.
    On the surface we know, there as everywhere else, the agency will work hard to justify its existence and go overboard in doing so.
    Eventually they will defend what they do , because they have a job and want to keep it, so they will get even snoopier and make a big deal out of little situatio

  • https://www.threadthat.com/ [threadthat.com] was developed in response to the need for privacy/secrecy when communicating/sharing online. It's free - for now anyway.
  • New Zealander's got brains Bro? I thought all they had was lots of pretty looking sheep.

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."

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