NZ spy agency staff cleared in illegal spying probe

Summary:The New Zealand Police will not charge anyone in the government's spy agency over allegedly illegally spying on 88 residents, including Kim Dotcom.

New Zealand police have said that they will not charge anyone in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) spy agency over possible illegal spying on 88 New Zealanders because there was a lack of criminal intent.

Police had investigated the GCSB following a complaint by the Greens, initially over the illegal spying on internet piracy-accused Kim Dotcom, but later expanded to cover the wider spying on dozens more.

Police informed the Greens on Thursday that while one interception of Dotcom's communication was illegal, "it could not be established that any GCSB staff had the necessary criminal intent to illegally intercept private communications in this case, and GCSB staff cannot be criminally liable".

That extended to the spying on a total of 88 New Zealanders, assistant commander Mike Rusbatch said.

The investigation's conclusion had been independently reviewed by senior barrister Kristy McDonald QC.

The Greens laid a complaint last September that the GCSB breached the Crimes Act after it admitted it had illegally spied on Kim Dotcom.

The agency spied on the internet tycoon for more than a month before he was arrested on allegations of internet piracy.

The Greens extended the complaint in April, asking the police to investigate the 88 cases of potentially illegal GCSB spying raised in a report by Cabinet secretary Rebecca Kitteridge.

Until contentious new GCSB legislation was passed by parliament last week , the GCSB was forbidden by law to spy on New Zealand citizens or residents such as Dotcom.

Topics: Privacy, New Zealand

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.