wiredmikey (1824622) writes "New Zealand passed legislation Wednesday allowing its main intelligence agency to spy on residents and citizens. The bill to expand the power of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) passed by 61 votes to 59 after impassioned debate, with Prime Minister John Key acknowledging the move had left some people "agitated and alarmed".
"This is not, and never will be, about wholesale spying on New Zealanders," Key told parliament, adding "there are threats our government needs to protect New Zealanders from, those threats are real and ever-present and we underestimate them at our peril."
The push to change the law came after it emerged last year that the GCSB illegally spied on MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom before armed police raided his Auckland mansion as part of a US-led probe into online piracy.
Critics have questioned Key's commitment to privacy, pointing out that when a report on GCSB spying was leaked to a journalist earlier this year, he ordered an investigation which tracked the reporter's movements and seized her emails and telephone records without her permission.
In June, Anonymous attacked Prime Minister Key's website in protest of the plans to allow the country's intelligence agency to spy on local residents."
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