The key to this is the definition of “private communication” in the new Act. Please refer to my oped in the NZ Herald.
in which I spell out how changed public attitudes to expectations of privacy have opened a loophole which now facilitates lawful unwarranted spying on kiwis. I have attached the file which contains all the links and references missing from the Herald article.
For the first time yesterday PM Key conceded that that there are “minor circumstances” under which the GCSB can spy on NZers – (1.50 into this Youtube of his press conference)
John Key was clearly referring to the section 4 definition of “private communication”. The GCSB’s “Nationality Policy” clearly states at clause 16 that communications of NZers can be deemed NOT private under the Act –
— 16 (U) A communication is not private if it is made in circumstances in which any person should reasonably expect that the communication might be intercepted by a third party who doesn’t have consent to do so.”
Once a communication is deemed NOT private then all of the protections are stripped away and the GCSB could intercept NZer’s communications itself or access them thru Xkeystore.
So, I emphasize – the key to the issue of the GCSB spying on NZers is how they are interpreting the phrase “private communication”. The PM must release the legal manuals and opinions. He certainly needs to front on just what these “minor circumstances” are. But will any journo have the courage?
Denis Tegg is a Thames lawyer with an interest in state surveillance and the erosion of civil liberties