Anti-GCSB group garners support on social media

By Kate Shuttleworth

Opponents of controversial spy legislation on its way through Parliament are garnering support on social media for a protest across New Zealand.

The Stop The GCSB Bill group has the support for 13,500 people on Facebook and is now being followed by another 400 on Twitter.

The group opposes the Government Communications and Security Bureau And Related Legislation Bill and the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Bill.

The group will hold a public meeting to protest the bill in Auckland tomorrow night, chaired by retired Supreme Court Judge Sir Edmund Thomas.

Group spokesman Mike Treen said that because of the high level of public interest, the meeting would be streamed live on the internet.

New Zealander of the year Dame Anne Salmond, Dr Rodney Harrison QC, internet tycoon Kim Dotcom and civil liberties expert Thomas Beagle will speak at the meeting.

The meeting will be followed by rallies around the country on Saturday.

Mr Treen said the powers of the GCSB would too great under proposed changes and would breach New Zealanders' rights.

The bill will allow the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders when helping domestic intelligence agencies and protecting cyber security, and also sets up a tougher oversight regime.

Critics say the legislation effectively turns the external intelligence agency, which has been forbidden from spying on New Zealanders, into a domestic spy agency.

The bill will have its second reading next week.

- NZ Herald

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