SIS uses 'urgent surveillance' powers for the first time

  • 03/11/2016
(Simon Wong/ Newshub)
(Simon Wong/ Newshub)

The Security Intelligence Service has for the first time used its powers to authorise urgent surveillance without a warrant, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has revealed.

Cheryl Gwyn says in her just-released report for the year ended June the authorisation was the first since parliament passed laws in 2014 allowing the SIS director to order urgent surveillance without going through the process for obtaining a warrant.

Surveillance without a warrant is allowed for 24 hours, and Ms Gwyn says in this case the warrant was issued within that time and the surveillance was not stopped.

Ms Gwyn reviewed the process and didn't have any problems with the way it was done.

She says that during the reporting year the SIS also notified her it had obtained a visual surveillance warrant, and that was also in order.

No details of the urgent or visual surveillance warrants were released.

The SIS was given the urgent surveillance authority for occasions when it needed to immediately start spying on someone without going through the warrant application process.

Ms Gwyn also keeps an eye on the Government Communications Security Bureau and says in her report she reviewed 15 communications interception warrants to make sure they were in order.