More than 200 senior members of the legal profession – including QCs, law professors, senior lawyers and former judges – have signed an open letter to the UK Government condemning the Investigatory Powers Bill currently before Parliament. The letter describes the Bill as “unfit for purpose”, citing its failure to reflect international standards for surveillance powers, especially in relation to bulk data collection, targeting, and grounds for the issuing of warrants.
Of particular interest to the media is the exemption in s57 of the Privacy Act, which provides that certain aspects of the Act do not apply to information collected, obtained, held, used, or disclosed by, or disclosed to, the SIS and GCSB.
This means the Privacy Act does not prohibit private entities such as banks and telcos from disclosing customers’ personal information to the SIS or GCSB, though of course other restrictions such as customer confidentiality may still be relevant in the absence of a warrant that compels disclosure.
The Radio NZ report notes that the Privacy Commissioner is calling for a tightening of the rules on collection of personal information by the SIS and GCSB.
Link: Radio NZ Report