The legislative race is off again and two key IT-related measures are lagging other bills almost as badly as they were before the election.
The Electronic Transactions Bill had its first reading in Parliament in November 2000 and its second reading in April last year. The bill, which is currently at the committee stage, was last week sitting around the mid-20s in Parliament’s order paper.
Industry spokespeople have repeatedly lamented the delay to the ETB, which is seen as essential in placing the growing volume of electronic business transactions on broadly the same footing as manual transactions.
The Crimes Amendment Bill, some 20 places lower than the ETB, was reported back from select committee on July 20 and is still awaiting its second reading. Some opposition MPs, particularly from the Green Party, have misgivings about the power given to the police and SIS to intercept email communications.
Both agencies have declined to comment on whether they have intercepted emails already, but Auckland Council for Civil Liberties lawyer Graeme Minchin says agencies are careful not to assume powers that they are not explicitly given. Hence the Crimes Amendment measure, if passed in its present form, represents an erosion of privacy, he says.
“It is imperative that the Electronic Transactions Bill and Crimes Amendment Bill No 6 are passed to put in place the necessary enabling regulatory framework,” say the briefing notes on IT for the minister in the new government.