SIS Amendment Bill – submission – 2011

Lesley Ferguson,

the Clerk of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Parliament Buildings, Wellington.  Submitted by Richard Keller.

SIS Amendment Bill

I oppose the bill.

The bill threatens protections offered by the Bill of Rights from unreasonable search and seizure and the Privacy Commissioner has spoken out against the bill.  The current SIS Act and the Crimes Act already protect the SIS from liability for actions which otherwise would be illegal and there have historically been many examples of the SIS abusing this protection.  The protections don’t need to be expanded.

There are particular points to examine relating to this.

Protections are expanded to cover some agents not even named in a warrant; delegation powers would be allowed to further depths below the Director of Security.  While strictly interpreted the bill still holds the Director responsible for all actions of the SIS, practically speaking and in effect politically it will be easier for the Director to claim ignorance or to obscure responsible parties acting on behalf of the SIS, thus limiting or eliminating the public’s ability to evaluate the appropriateness of acts of the SIS.

There is even a new section 5AA (delegation) (7) where all citizens would be required to accept that anyone “purporting to act” under such delegation is in fact doing so, without the agent having to prove the delegation, or that the action is within the terms of the delegation.  This has the sound of fascism.

While already allowed to spy on a person’s “communication, document, or thing”, a new term “facilities” is introduced and is meant to widen the range of devices and situations where spying can occur.  These powers are already too broad and should be curtailed not expanded.

This bill parallels the expansion of similar powers to a wide range of organizations under the Search and Surveillance Bill.  These bills are not really about keeping up with new threats as claimed.  They are primarily aimed at spreading fear.  The direction is coming from the USA and has been aggressively promoted since 9/11/2001.  The Intelligence and Security Committee must keep its head, and help ourselves and the rest of the world to protect democracy, by rejecting this bill.

Sincerely, Richard Keller


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