Surveillance law prompts shift for Google-sponsored SDN test-bed

Penalties levied under a New Zealand surveillance law have proved too risky for a leading software-defined networking collaboration.

New Zealand's loss is Australia's gain after a leading software-defined networking (SDN) project has been forced to shift its test-bed after it collided with a new surveillance law.

Victoria University in Wellington, research network REANNZ, Google, and the Energy Sciences Network at Berkeley, California, among others, have been conducting joint SDN experiments along with vendors such as Corsa Technology in New Zealand for several years.

However, a new telecommunications interception law has reportedly created such uncertainty that the test-bed has been moved to Australia.

The issue is that the new Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Act (TICSA) requires network operators to notify security agencies of any changes to their networks.

That might be a challenge for traditional network operators, but for operators of virtual software-defined networks, which change frequently, it is an insurmountable hurdle.

The test-bed operators reportedly sought clarity from the agencies involved, but failed to obtain any. Because of the high financial penalties involved in non-compliance -- up to NZ$500,000 per day -- the group decided to shift the test-bed to Australia.