Changes proposed for Crimes Amendment Bill

The select committee looking at the Crimes Amendment Bill (number six) and its supplementary order paper has proposed a series of minor changes to the bill, but believes it will 'strengthen privacy protection' rather than diminish it.

The select committee looking at the Crimes Amendment Bill (number six) and its supplementary order paper has proposed a series of minor changes to the bill but believes it will "strengthen privacy protection" rather than diminish it.

The bill has been criticised by some for being too heavily weighted in favour of police and the security services. They will be exempted from many aspects of the bill with regard to hacking and the interception of communications.

Submissions from InternetNZ (formerly the Internet Society) and the Privacy Commissioner highlighted both the potential for the state to invade the individual's privacy and the problems that surround having the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) included on the list of exemptions, even though the GCSB has no legal standing at the moment. A separate bill is proceeding through parliament that will give the agency a statutory basis for its existence.

Changes recommended include adding a clause to outlaw denial of service attacks as well as amending one clause to include damage caused by the addition of data or software to a computer system as well as the removal of it.

The definition of a computer has been broadened to include the networking between devices, and the definition of "access" to a system has been changed so that it now includes any person who "receives" the emission rather than "retrieves" the data.

Associate Justice Minister Paul Swain was not available for comment on the committee's recommendations.

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