9 May 2021

SIS to share data with selected private sector companies

7:51 pm on 9 May 2021

The Security Intelligence Service says it has been "quite open" about the importance of data to detect and mitigate threats.

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Photo: RNZ/Vinay Ranchod

The SIS is leading work on improving data-sharing mechanisms between public and "selected" private sector organisations.

It told RNZ in response to an OIA asking which private organisations SIS is aiming to improve data-sharing with, that it won't name the private sector organisations "as this may disclose information to individuals who may wish to cause New Zealand harm".

But it noted the law did let it obtain business records of telecommunications and financial service providers.

"The NZSIS has been quite open about the importance of data to detect and mitigate threats, including violent extremism and foreign interference," a spokesperson said.

"The most critical challenge faced by all intelligence agencies is accessing and analysing the right information at the right time.

"It's about joining the crucial dots - but we have to find the right dots in the first place to discover unknown threats."

It was "very aware" of the need for public discussion on access to data, and was ensuring it does this in a way which is consistent with local laws and values, a spokesperson said in a statement .

Everything it did was in accordance with the law and subject to independent oversight, the SIS said.

It was working on the recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the mosque attacks, including engaging with the Privacy Commissioner, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, as well as the Data Ethics Advisory group convened by the Government Chief Data Steward.

"You can expect to see us talking - and listening - further about this issue as work progresses on the implementation of the RCOI recommendations."

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