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Iran Press TV

New Zealand passes law allowing spying on citizens

Iran Press TV

Wed Aug 21, 2013 10:1AM GMT

New Zealand has passed a bill allowing its main intelligence agency to spy on residents and citizens, despite widespread opposition to the move.

On Wednesday, the New Zealand parliament passed the bill to expand the power of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) by 61 to 59 votes.

The bill drew criticism last year after it was revealed that the GCSB had illegally spied on Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom as part of an investigation into online privacy by Washington.

Following the revelation, an official report said that Dotcom was just one among many other New Zealanders to have been spied on by the intelligence agency.

"This will be the birth of a surveillance state in New Zealand," Dotcom said of the bill, during a protest meeting in Auckland, last week.

Human rights groups and technology giants such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have expressed concern about the matter.

In response to the reactions to the new bill, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key denied that it was “about wholesale spying on New Zealanders.”

"There are threats our government needs to protect New Zealanders from, those threats are real and ever-present and we underestimate them at our peril."

SZH/PR



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