4 Apr 2015

Dunne urges Govt to clarify metadata use

7:03 pm on 4 April 2015

The United Future leader is urging the Government to clarify what rights the country's electronic spy agency has to collect metadata.

Peter Dunne said the Prime Minister promised him nearly two years ago that metadata would be defined in the legislation, but nothing had happened.

Peter Dunne

Peter Dunne Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Mr Dunne said he was pleased the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, was investigating how the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) interpreted private communication before conducting surveillance.

But he said that should also include metadata - information about when someone communicated and with whom.

"The question that the Law Commission identified about four years ago, the definition of metadata and the use or the way in which metadata can or cannot be utilised.

"And I think a lot of the issue about the interception and use of private communication is also about the interception and use of metadata."

Mr Dunne said the Government had promised to clarify this.

"I would like to see the work on metadata get underway as soon as possible. I've been promised it for nearly two years and I am concerned the chain has been dragged. I think the intention now seems to be to wrap it all up in the review (later this year), which is fine, if in fact it leads to a conclusive outcome."

He said clearer definitions were needed in legislation to ensure the country's spy agencies properly complied with it.

"I think the GCSB, and the security agencies, generally are quite adept at interpreting the law the way that suits them."

Mr Dunne said he had not discussed the matter with , John Key, or others for some time and the Government no longer seemed interested in talking to him about it.

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