Have Customs become the GCSB’s 5th eye at the border?



The troubling case of customs intimidating, heavying and confiscating a New Zealanders electronic equipment supposedly because of a 2007 inquiry into an internet account from a shared flat computer comes on the heels of Customs questioning Seeby Woodhouse’s re-entry into NZ after Woodhouse spoke out against the new GCSB spy powers.

In the case of Sam Blackman, he believes it may have been his attendance at a mass surveillance meeting in London that tagged him for extra roughing up.

Customs claims they had the right to do this under the Films, Videos & Publications Classification Act 1993, yet our Bill of Rights Act clearly states that NZers are protected from “Unreasonable Search and Seizure”. Using copyright infringement to breach our civil rights and expect the public to believe this excuse is the real reason Blackman had his equipment seized is a double assault to our patience and intelligence.

How comfortable would we be if Customs is being turned into a de facto arm of the intelligence apparatus aimed at domestic targets who are merely critical of Government policy?

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At a time when scrutiny is falling upon how much spying is actually being conducted upon the general population, hassling critics of that mass surveillance at the border is a sudden ratcheting up of tensions.


  1. Being in the back pocket of the US & UK govts, it’s only going to get more intrusive and wide ranging. It doesn’t help both those governments are proven criminals in multiple cases.

  2. It’s when the State and it’s surveillance/security arms impact on the middle classes that we’ll see this problem gain traction. Until then i suspect that most of the Middle Class consider it “someone elses’ problem”…

  3. Unfortunately you are right Frank … too right about that. As with many things, and the fact that society has in general moved toward a self-obsession at the expense of others, whether out of a choice to put selfish interests first or an all-too-real fear of joining the great line of people going nowhere fast if one speaks out … unless it impacts directly, it will certainly be written off as “Uhhhh … well, if he doesn’t have anything to hide, he has nothing to fear, now where did I put my drink, there’s a game on TV…” ad nauseum

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