Questions and Answers

The Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act (TICSA) was passed in November 2013. It makes changes to the obligations of New Zealand telecommunications network operators in relation to interception and network security.

What is New Zealand Police’s role in relation to the TICSA?

New Zealand Police is a ‘surveillance agency’ under the Act. Under the TICSA, Police have responsibility for maintaining a register of network operators that holds information, on behalf of all of the surveillance agencies, about network operators and their compliance with the obligations set out in the Act. Police will also assess whether a network operator should be exempt from some of their obligations, and enforce non-compliance with the interception capability requirements in the Act.

Who is the Registrar?

The Registrar is a role created in the TICSA for a suitable person whose responsibilities include the register of network operators. The Commissioner of Police has appointed Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess as the Registrar.

Contact the Registrar’s office.

Do I need to register?

The Act requires that network operators register their information with the Police Registrar. A network operator is defined in the legislation as “a person who owns, controls, or operates a public telecommunications network; or a person who supplies (whether by wholesale or retail) another person with the capability to provide a telecommunications service”.

Existing network operators are required to register within three months of 11 February 2014. If you are unsure whether you or your organisation might be considered a network operator under the TICSA, please contact us.

How do I register?

Please contact us for information on how to register.

What about network security?

The TICSA establishes duties and a framework for network operators to engage with the government on network security issues, where they may intersect with risks to national security. Those parts of the Act take effect in May 2014, and are managed by the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

To learn more about the network security component of the TICSA, please contact the National Cyber Security Centre for more information.

What is interception?

Under the TICSA, to ‘intercept’, in relation to a private telecommunication, “includes hear, listen to, record, monitor, acquire, or receive the telecommunication while it is taking place on a telecommunications network; or while it is in transit on a telecommunications network”. Surveillance agencies can only undertake an interception when acting under a lawful interception power or authority.

How do I apply for an Exemption?

Section 29 of the TICSA provides that a designated officer may grant, vary or revoke exemptions to certain interception capability obligations imposed by the Act.

Prior to applying for an exemption, network operators should contact the Registrar to discuss their specific situation. Guidelines for the exemption process will be distributed by the Registrar after this initial consultation.

Does the TICSA give Police and other agencies the authority to intercept my communications?

No, the TICSA does not provide surveillance agencies with any interception powers or authorities. The authority to intercept communications is contained in the following legislation: