UPDATE: Human Rights Review Tribunal don’t have the budget to hear my case against the NZ Police

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I have been quietly chipping away at the NZ Police use of loopholes to exploit people’s privacy with my case against the NZ Police through the Human Rights Review Tribunal…

Hunt for Rawshark sees police rapped again for ‘unlawful’ search of banking records
Police have again been caught unlawfully harvesting private banking information in the search for the hacker behind the Dirty Politics book.

This time it is activist and journalist Martyn Bradbury who has been drawn into the police investigation.

And this time police inquiries are said to have had an awful impact, leading to two suicidal episodes.

Bradbury’s is the latest case of police unlawfully exploiting the Privacy Act to get personal banking information without getting a court order.

It follows the revelation that Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager also had his banking records handed over to police without any legal compulsion to do so.

The practice has been ruled unlawful after Bradbury – who runs The Daily Blog website – complained to the Privacy Commissioner.

Bradbury told the NZ Herald he uncovered the police probe after being rejected for credit by his bank.

He said he became suspicious because the “extensions of credit weren’t extravagant and the manner in which the declines occurred just seemed odd”.

When Bradbury sought information through the Privacy Act, he discovered that detectives working on the Rawshark case had made a request for his records saying they were investigating “computer fraud”.

Detectives did so quoting a section of the Privacy Act allowing those holding data to ignore people’s privacy if there are “reasonable grounds” to believe it would help “maintenance of the law”.

The ruling from Privacy Commissioner John Edwards found police gave Bradbury’s bank no information to make an assessment of whether the request was “reasonable”.

Edwards rejected police submissions that the request only lacked supporting information for the bank to make a proper decision.

Even if police had provided the information, Edwards said detectives “were not justified” in asking for the banking records without a legal order from a judge.

“It is our view the request for your banking records, given their sensitivity, ought to have been placed before a judicial officer for decision on whether it met the grounds for a production order.”

He said the “nature and the scope of the request was unfair and unreasonably intrusive”.

The request for information was “unlawful” because it was constituted a “search” and the Bill of Rights stated “everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search”.

Bradbury, who insisted he has no connection to or knowledge of the hacking of Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater’s computers, said: “They should have taken it to a judge and got a warrant.”

Instead, they sought “everything they could get their hands on”.

Bradbury will not name his bank as he intends taking further action.

But he said the bank’s refusal to give credit seemed contrary to staff assurances. His suspicions panned out when the Privacy Act request to police showed his banking records had been sought.

He found police had labelled the request for his banking records as connected to “computer fraud” and his credit requests – just a few months later – were being handled by the bank’s internal fraud department.

Bradbury said the credit requests were to help keep The Daily Blog going and getting knocked back triggered a huge depressive episode.

He said he had lived with depression since suffering a brain injury aged 18 from a car accident.

“Over the last five years that depression has become very difficult to manage and the financial stress of not extending credit all combined in late 2016 in two suicidal episodes.

“When your little black dog morphs and mutates into a huge black bear, you’re looking for anything that will ease the anguish and pain.”

Felix Geiringer, the barrister who acted for Hager overturning the police search warrant, said it was hard to understand any “credible basis” for including Bradbury in the Rawshark inquiry.

He said police appeared to have sought Bradbury’s records to try and establish the hacker was paid to carry out the hack. “There’s no evidence that took place in this case. There’s none.”

Geiringer said Bradbury – like Hager – was a journalist which conveyed specific protections around searches.

It was the same issue which the High Court rapped police in the Hager case, he said.

The NZ Herald has previously shown how police have used the Privacy Act exploit to gain banking details of potentially thousands of people without any court or judicial order – and that at least one bank has used it to red-flag customers.

The practice was widespread when the NZ Herald exposed it in 2013 and saw police headquarters offer assurances that it would not be used to access detailed banking records.

Yet police continued to use the exploit, not only in the Rawshark investigation against Nicky Hager, but in cases identified across the country.

Police told the Herald that the Rawshark inquiry remained an “open” file although no officers are currently assigned to the investigation.

A spokesman for police said the request for bank records was in line with a “Letter of Agreement” between police and the NZ Bankers’ Association.

“Police note that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner agreed that Police had a lawful purpose for collecting the information but that based on the level of sensitivity of the information, a court order was the only method that should have been used to request this.”

The spokesman said police wanted to speak with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner “regarding its view on requesting information”.

The NZ Bankers’ Association did not answer questions about the practice, even though it has acknowledged previously its members have an obligation to protect members’ information.

Among the questions it did not answer was whether the banking community had ever checked to see how many customers of banks have had their information provided unlawfully to police.

In a statement, NZBA chief executive Karen Scott-Howman said: “Banks assess all information requests on a case by case basis.

“They only provide information to the Police when they receive a production order that legally requires them to provide information or when the request complies with the Privacy Act.”

…As was detailed last year, the Privacy Commissioner of NZ investigated my case and found that not only did the NZ Police breach my privacy by gaining access to my banking data during their failed witch hunt of an investigation against Nicky Hager, but the Privacy Commissioner also found that the NZ Police had breached my civil rights through unlawful search.

We have been waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting for a time for the Human Rights Review Tribunal to actually pick up the Privacy Commissioners report and begin the process of holding the NZ Police to account for their breach of my privacy and civil rights.

Today after being told last year that a decision would be forthcoming early this year, the Human Rights Review Tribunal has gotten back in touch with me to inform me that due to a lack of funding, the HRRT can’t give any idea as to when my case against the NZ Police can begin.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

If the NZ Police can get away with taking personal information from a political blogger that breaches the privacy act and my civil rights, they can do it to anyone and the supposed watchdogs that are there to protect us are so underfunded they’ve become lap dogs to police abuse of power.

The financial and emotional cost of taking on the NZ Police via an underfunded watchdog that can’t even budget to hold them to account is immense and difficult.

 

UPDATE: The Associate Minister for Courts and Justice has reached out to me personally via Twitter with the following…

…I am meeting with MPs next week and will have an update on the latest after that.

 

24 COMMENTS

  1. Anyone who challenges the agenda of ‘the empire’ hits the wall. ‘The empire’ will have its way, and in doing so will eventually destroy everything.

  2. The national government purposely underfunded many government organizations so they couldn’t do their job properly and fail. The so called surplus was a joke as it came at the expense of too many NZers suffering or going without with cuts to the social sector hurting many yet 44% of NZers still didn’t care and voted for the status quo. I have one word for these people “selfish”

  3. (John Edwards)”He said the “nature and the scope of the request was unfair and unreasonably intrusive”.

    So true as it was all so true, when you see this ‘intrusive’ behaviour was all happening when the National Party was ‘buddies’ to NSA in Auckland as NSA placed a connection into the whole NZ intelligence cabling system, just to get access to widespread surveillance upon the whole NZ population.

    The government gave blessing to the access, then when John Key lied to us all saying the link was ‘severed’ – bloody liars all.

    Police thought they also had wide powers to.

    Labour coalition must reverse the erosion of our rights to privacy.

  4. Come on, if you people would study what really goes on, it is a BS system anyway, these Tribunals and even the Ombudsman and certain so called ‘watch dogs’, they are all part of the system, to keep it in place and service as complaint monitors, to write reports on what issues some people may have. They will NEVER really provide true justice and act according to what their purpose should be.

    In short, they are more or less fake institutions, fig leafs, to protect a corrupt or semi corrupt, vested interest driven economic, social and political system, that is rotten to the core.

    Read this, if you have the time and can be bothered, you may learn something:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/how-the-new-zealand-ombudsman-effectively-provides-cover-for-the-hdc-an-information-request-complaint-case/
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/how-the-n-z-ombudsman-effectively-provides-cover-for-the-hdc-report-post-28-11-17.pdf

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/the-new-zealand-ombudsman-underfunded-and-compromised-the-auditor-general-sees-no-need-for-action/

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/the-new-zealand-ombudsman-fairness-for-all-an-empty-slogan-for-some/

    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2016/03/28/how-the-hdc-throws-out-valid-complaints-and-protects-code-breaching-health-professionals-a-true-story/

    And there is more to come, I have just been told, so keep an eye on these publications, they actually contain info of substance, and prove that Martyn is hoping for something that will NEVER come.

  5. Banks should be obligated to keep private information private unless there is a court order made on sworn information before a judge.
    We need to apply pressure on the government to enact this and to give the law teeth – ie criminal prosecution for both bank employees and police who subvert the process.

  6. This is truly outrageous. Now that the government has changed, hopefully funding issues can be addressed and these organisations can do its job to seek justice, particularly against these egregious abuses of power.

    • It will NOT, because it starts with the swearing in procedures, the new government has to serve the Queen and so forth, the establishment, or it will NOT survive. The system in place ensures it, and the capitalist system has already bought Jacinda et al.

      There is NO chance of REAL change, it is VERBOTEN.

  7. Well Martyn, WAKE UP, FINALLY & SMELL THE ROSES.
    Let me explain.
    We are under an ATHEIST REGIME now.
    >> Means NO ETHICS.

    Didn’t it dawn on you? Last PM …was a PROVEN LIAR.
    Was a time (decades ago) when a PM who got caught lying would have been publicly OUSTED.
    Shows HOW FAR WE’VE SUNK that NZers ignored/closed a blind eye.

    This is what you get when you believe in “Liberal”
    This is your Karma.

    Oh , didn’t you realise that “Liberal” equates to NO ETHICS in the general scheme of things?
    Did you REALLY believe that there was still “Justice”, LOL

    Can’t have your cake…..and eat it. Sorry.

    (Communism =Mass Surveillance, atheism. NO Ethics.
    …and far WORSE……)
    NZ has been taken over, long time ago. Surely you noticed.

    • Cassie, real communism is not about mass surveillance. You know not what you speak of.

      And nothing wrong with atheism. We don’t all worship non-existent invisible deities. I gave mine up when I was 6 (Father Christmas).

      • ALH84001
        You yourself clearly know NOTHING about the REALITY of Communism.
        The reality, which was NOT taught in “history” at school/academia.

        1) Communism = Objectors/”dissidents” being hauled off in the middle of night & being shot .
        Sure, there wasn’t 21st C technological surveillance, but the equivalent.
        ie employed spies- people in village to SNITCH on other people who exhibited contrary beliefs, to the official Party line.
        ie Political Correctness.

        2) Atheism = No ETHICS. NO MORAL STANDARDS.

        Christianity promotes Ethics, Moral standards.
        Haven’t you noticed (since NZ was infiltrated over past decades) that there are NO standards anymore?

        and that Society itself …(& LIFE for families/workers)
        has
        simultaneously DETERIORATED?

          • Otto Man,
            You have comprehension difficulties. (probably due to dumbed down English language lessons when you went to school)

            WE SEEM TO BE RULED BY NO ETHICS/MORAL PRINCIPLES ANYMORE.

            PROVE ME WRONG.

            NZ as a nation seems to be going backwards in terms of
            operating under ONCE generally accepted principles of “right” and “wrong”.

            The examples are so numerous, I will only mention a few
            A) Martyns problem HERE.

            B) Heads of State who get away with blatantly LYING eg our last PM
            c) Corruption in the Judiciary
            d) Abuse of Powers by Police sanctioned by a corrupt Minister of Police eg Ongoing problem of Police CAR Chases that cause death, BUT ARE BLAMED on the VICTIMS
            e) State sanctioned corruption of children via “sex education ” in schools which goes WAY BEYOND teaching simple reproduction, ie Masturbation, (and other stuff that is NO business of schools to teach)
            f) POISONING of extensive NZ environment by 1080
            (banned elsewhere), LIED ABOUT re toxicity
            g) Unprecedented mass immigration over many years, whilst native NZers are struggling to find jobs, and hospital waiting lists grow longer
            h) Allowing mass Import of cheap goods from China, which caused countless NZers to lose their livelihoods .

            ETC ETC

            Just A FEW RANDOM EXAMPLES

            There seems to have snuck in a No “right” or “wrong” anymore.
            =UNPRINCIPLED

            WTF does it have to do with… “catholicism”?

            I’m MAKING THE POINT that
            ATHEISM seems to be RULING nowadays.

            NONE of our Politicians , believe in JESUS CHRIST’s principles

            DO NO HARM. DO FOR the WELLBEING of PEOPLE

            *********

            PROVE ME WRONG.

  8. these tribunals etc are staffed by warmed over ex mp’s and others who no longer have any real juice in the boorocacy but they are kept on to confabulate and confound and drag any real complaints into the dustbin of history

  9. It’s a sad state of affairs when Police can abuse their powers and State agencies tasked with protecting our interests and privacy can’t do their jobs properly.

    That’s puts us one step closer to fascism.

    • Wrong ALH84001.

      COMMUNISM (ie the reality , in practice, ) = NO ETHICS, NO STANDARDS . NO
      MORAL REASONING.

      When POLICE abuse their Powers, it is a sign that means they NOW are employed to ONLY SERVE THE STATE.
      NOT
      the PEOPLE (Common Law)

      The present so called “LEGAL” system has NOTHING to do with TRUTH & real JUSTICE.

      It is ONLY “statute laws”. (= convoluted, twisted & Word play)

      WHAT is so called “Fascism”??
      YOU WILL EVENTUALLY, but too late, learn that “fascism” is only a political term invented (just like “Antisemitism”) to mean Anti Communism.

      • Fascism is not “anti-communism”, Cassie. Fascism is a vile, extreme intolerance of anything/everything that is different. It is the worst aspect of humanity’s darkest nature made real. It has no place amongst civilised people.

        As for your definition of “COMMUNISM (ie the reality , in practice, ) = NO ETHICS, NO STANDARDS . NO MORAL REASONING” – that is a highly simplistic view of a complex system. Mind you, “NO ETHICS, NO STANDARDS . NO MORAL REASONING” could equally apply to religious extremism, neo-liberalism, and reality tv programmes.

      • ” YOU WILL EVENTUALLY, but too late, learn that “fascism” is only a political term invented (just like “Antisemitism”) to mean Anti Communism.”

        Tell that to the Nazis and fascists in Italy, Spain, and elsewhere, Cassie.

  10. Is there a reason my earlier post (which was published for a time) has been deleted? I can’t imagine it was particularly controversial(?). It merely posited a few questions and was (hopefully obviously) in no way meant to offend anyone. I’m not a big fan of censorship without explanation (which there usually is when the ScarletMod deletes posts).

  11. Martyn, the GCSB just tried to co-op a literary festival. Luckily some anons busted them in time before their “grassroots” takedown took place.

    Things are far, far worse than people could ever imagine.

    I trust you are OK; trustworthy – because they hate you.

Comments are closed.