Tuesday, February 24, 2015

TICS kills innovation

When National passed the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013, submitters warned them that the law's onerous notice requirements - which require that network operators ask the GCSB for permission before making any changes to their networks - would stifle innovation.

That fear appears to have become a reality:

Tech Liberty has a good explanation of what this all means:
So this is a statement by the CEO of a government owned company whose purpose is to "establish and operate the Advanced Network in order to promote education, research and innovation for the benefit of New Zealand" saying that they can't do the research and development work they need to do because the bureaucrats in the NCSC at the GCSB are holding them back.

Apparently the NCSC were willing to help, but the law was inflexible enough that making any significant change - like you might want to do quite frequently on an experimental network - was going to require the full notification and authorisation procedure. When asked for an exemption the reply was that this would be extremely unlikely to be granted.

Apparently Google has also been involved with research and development into SDN in New Zealand. We've been told by multiple sources that they were so annoyed by the TICSA's requirements and the NCSC's administration of them that they have closed the New Zealand section of this project and redeployed the hardware to Australia and the USA. This can only be seen as a loss to New Zealand.

So, the GCSB's obsession with "network security" (which, thanks to Snowden, we now know means "making sure people don't plug the backdoors we use") is killing research and driving tech companies out of the country.

Thanks, GCSB. Great job you're doing there. I hope you're really proud of yourselves, protecting us from these "threats".