Human Rights Commission on intelligence reforms

The Herald reports:

The has given cautious support to the Government’s spying reforms.

However, the human rights watchdog says it is concerned about the broad definition of national security in the legislation, which will come before Parliament tomorrow.

Chief commissioner David Rutherford said today that the proposed changes to laws governing the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) and the Government Communication Security Bureau (GCSB) addressed concerns the commission had previously raised about the agencies.

These concerns included stronger authorisation for spying warrants, greater oversight of the agencies, and strengthened requirements regarding compliance with human rights law.

Rutherford said the proposed changes were “a significant improvement” but there were aspects of the bill which were still a concern.

“Chief among these is the definition of national security,” he said.

Defining national security threats is probably like defining spam – quite difficult to do, but you know it when you see it.

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