Why the ‘protections’ in new spy bill are totally meaningless

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Let’s get this straight – our intelligence agencies have been caught illegally spying on NZers, were caught helping the PMs Office smear the leader of the Opposition months before the 2011 election with falsified lies, were caught being racist, were caught spying on our trade partners to try and get John Key’s mate a job, were caught out by Edward Snowden telling the NSA that legislation had loopholes to allow mass surveillance, were caught out by Edward Snowden planning to tap the Southern Cross internet cable and were caught possibly aiding the CIA rendition torture program.

So how does Key respond to intelligence agencies drunk on their own power? Why he is suggesting even more power.

Why the hell would we give the GCSB and SIS more power when they can’t manage the power they currently have?

The reality is that the so called 3 tier system of protections being suggested by the new legislation are utterly meaningless. The loophole built into the suggested legislation allows the spies to disregard all 3 of those tiers IF they believe there is an emergency or risk to life,  they then get 48 hours of warrantless surveillance.

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This allows fishing expeditions for the spies.

We have allowed the Intelligence communities in NZ to grow at an alarming rate with unchecked powers. The GCSB and SIS have both had increases in budget by 250% and 174% within a decade. That’s a lot of power for organisations we have very little oversight of and after the Edward Snowden revelations, it’s clear these agencies answer more to Washington than Wellington.

We must demand more protections for ourselves from this ever growing ultra secret deep state. A modern day stasi that answers to the NSA doesn’t make our democracy safer, it makes it far more dangerous.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The spying upgrade is probably at the behest of Amercan interests.
    Rothschild is in south island ,Monsanto in Pukekoe our food growing area.

    Goldman Sachs on full view in Nz and employed by government to oversee privatisation by Paula Rebstock an American.
    America will be the new owner of NZ quite soon and they want to know who their enemies are, thus more spying ,not to keep us safe .

    Pretty obvious Key dosnt want to keep NZers safe hes too busy destroying our lifestyle to accommodate his USA cronies and puppet masters.
    TPPA is designed for overseas interests and incomers, that why its being forced through.
    Using police and military to enforce compliance of the type of questions allowed to be asked, Sean Plunkett the bully overseer making sure negative spin dosnt get in the way of TPPA lies and hidden agenda.

    • Sean Plunket must have been grumpy when learning that Radio Live no longer wanted or needed him. His pro government rants and catering for the rednecks must have caught the attention only of a minority of radio listeners, when he filled the 9 to noon slot on talk back.

      So at least he has now come out to show his loyalties to the public, by fronting the road show for promoting the TPPA for the government.

      Like the TPPA, the spy law review and proposed changes are all part of the greater plan that the government has for this country, to keep it warm in bed with Uncle Sam, while at the same time trying to trade more with China.

      One day it will all come back to bite them, it already has, as the Chinese are not that keen anymore on NZ dairy powder. That is when it may be produced by independent NZ companies. They want to have their controls and influence, same as the US wants theirs.

      With the power play between these superpowers, New Zealand is riding a high risk course, you cannot please both at the same time.

      • Whats the betting Key will get his logo flag, he is making confident sounds,the big plane that brought Clapper here probably contains the means to rig the referendum. A big plane arrived just before 2014 election ,lots of boxs carried from plane into NZ. Key will stop at nothing to get his own way.
        God defend NEW ZEALAND because this government wont.

  2. I share Martyn’s concerns, but fear that our “silent majority” will again fall for the government’s spin on all this and simply continue to trust Mr Teflon Key and his government.

    Herd behaviour is still the rule when it comes to so much, not only in New Zealand, and nobody bothers thinking about privacy issues when using Facebook, Google, any Microsoft products and various other “services” on offer via the internet.

    Gathering metadata is now the new normal, all over the show, so government wants to do the same, and those that blindly trust government and the vested interest carrying business players are simply the ordinary fools that abound in too great numbers.

    I wish it was different, but I hear and see too little of opposition, even just discussion, about this topic and what is proposed.

  3. The only really positive thing you can say about Total Surveillance societies is that we know they don’t last long. The Soviet Union had Beria, and Stalin, and every 4th person was a KGB informant, and yet it didn’t prevent that State from imploding. In the end, the Soviet system of fear and repression was such a suffocating dead weight on society that the system eventually collapsed underneath it.

    The great irony is that having defeated the Soviet Union on the basis that only a free and open society could ultimately prosper, the United States is now following the very same Soviet model of surveillance. It was originally known as “Total Information Awareness” but has now been subsumed by “The War on Terror”. It seems that spying is an irresistible temptation for unequal societies, as the Deep State reacts instinctively to protect itself. It is interesting to note that both the US and NZ have disproportionately high levels of inequality, and disproportionately large spy agencies.

    Society’s belated resistance has already spilled over into public space. Silicon Valley is now fighting to dispel the notion that their products and services are being used for wholesale spying by the US government. Billions have been lost in US exports due to this perception. Tim Cook’s efforts not withstanding, Silicon Valley may win in the courts, but lose in the market; once it is gone, public trust is almost impossible to recover.

    New Zealand is a “willing infidel” by comparison when it comes to mass surveillance. We seem to have little regard for the affect our spying obsession has on our reputation. Spy powers are increasing dramatically, and NZ is starting to pay the price.

    The TICS legislation is a great example; having recently contemplated doing an IT startup here, I took one look at that Act, and decided it was hopeless even thinking about New Zealand as a location. My startup would be a non-starter here.

    I can’t be alone in making such a decision. Anyone who doesn’t come to the same conclusion doesn’t understand the potential costs/risks of TICS non/compliance. New Zealand needs innovation, but a plain reading of the Act suggests any communications software of any type that has a modern security component must have a backdoor put in it, and must be vetted by the security services. That immediately puts it out of the reach of small entrepreneurs. Who in their right mind would bring an IT business to New Zealand when their every decision might have to be vetted by the spy agencies? Who can afford that?

    If we lose those small entrepreneurs, New Zealand will eventually become the Albania of the IT world. Ironically, because innovation will stall, we will also become LESS secure, prey to foreign powers who will be able to get around our aging systems more easily.

    No doubt someone will comment that this is a wrong reading of the Act, and that it isn’t onerous, etc. It might be a wrong reading, but it is a plain and reasonable one. It is a reading that errs on the side of caution. Besides, no government PR flack is going to get the opportunity to explain away these objections to people in California or the UK before they make up their minds not to come here. I’m already here, and I’ve made up my mind to leave, rather than take the risk I might unwittingly offend.

    New Zealand seems oddly obsessed with impressing its American partners, almost unseemly so. If we received billions in aid from America to defray the costs of this, I could possibly understand. But we don’t. We pay full retail for the dubious privilege of partnering with the American Deep State. The cost of this is paid by our poor, in reduced services, and our businesses, in lost reputation and opportunity. I really hope it’s worth it. But I think spending billions of dollars to combat a problem in NZ that was not a problem until our commitments to our US allies made it a problem is a problem we could easily do without.

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