Wednesday, 01 October 2014 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

What they Aren’t Telling the Public About Government Spying in New Zealand

Sunday, 11 August 2013 11:48 By Darius Shahtahmasebi, SpeakOut | News Analysis

Despite a wave of protests in major cities across the country on Saturday July 27 2013 which, for New Zealand, were reasonably large in size, Prime Minister John Key has made it perfectly clear that he intends to go ahead with the GCSB Bill and Telecommunication (Interception and Communication Security) Bill. His remarks showed a lack of interest in New Zealanders genuinely fearing for their rights as he dismissed the protests as small scale, and participants as either being politically motivated and/or being misinformed.

Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear

John Key’s comments can be conjoined with the argument of an overwhelmingly number of apathetic New Zealanders who claim that they have nothing to hide and therefore have nothing to fear. The problem with these arguments can be dealt with simultaneously.

When people say they have nothing to hide and therefore nothing to fear, what exactly are they indicating they are omitting to do or be a part of to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure? If they are referring to terrorism, just take a second and count how many actual terrorists you have ever encountered in your time in New Zealand, and how many terrorist attacks there have ever been in New Zealand. So truly, if you are referring to terrorism, you are literally acquiescing that almost no New Zealanders will have nothing to hide. So what then, is the purpose of the Bill? Who is the Bill aimed at?

A good start in answering this question would be to look at what happened under the old GCSB laws. 88 NZ citizens were spied on illegally. Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom was spied on, his house was raided, his possessions taken and his bank accounts frozen. To see how seriously John Key takes these matters, just note his demeanour towards Dotcom, when he said “I think he [Dotcom] loves the limelight."  I wonder how you, or I, or John Key would feel if he was spied on and had his house ransacked and raided by police at the order of the juggernaut that is the United States. To put it short, John Key is not going to care that your rights are being eroded.

As to the other 88 New Zealanders, I do not know anything about them at all. So what does this tell you? It means that the GCSB can invade your privacy, send your information off to different agencies and to the United States, and when you say you have nothing to hide and therefore nothing to fear, you do not even know what it is you are supposed to be hiding from them. The fact that the government can store and access your private information over a long period of time means that any communication you have ever had could be used to incriminate you.

The Problem with the GCSB Bill

Consider that you open up a spam email that has a link to something abhorrent and illegal, such as child pornography, and you accidentally click on the link because you believe it to be something else. In a non-Orwellian world, you would close the file, delete its history, and never think about it again. The problem is that now the government can have access to every file you have ever opened through backdoor access to Microsoft and other giant computer and network servers and you are potentially criminally liable for an offence punishable by many, many years in jail. For those of you who think this is crazy, or cannot think of any reason why somebody would do this, it has already been attempted a number of times (see: the attempted set up of Dan Rhodes; and the attempted set up of Luke Rudkowski).

The Bill is being put in place as a mechanism to oust political dissidents and people who do not conform to the status quo. If you are unaware that New Zealand has a status quo, and that you think we live in a completely free and democratic society where the media is unbiased and people have the sole right to freedom of speech then think again.

 Some New Zealanders in social media claim that while they are against the Bill, to think that New Zealand is becoming an Orwellian police state is beyond exaggeration. The sort of NAZI regime that people are scared of obviously would be an exaggeration, but what many of us do not realize is that New Zealand does not need to become a replica of the NAZI state. With modern day technologies, as I explained above, the government, its agencies and its allies can oust and spy on whoever they want and quash their oppositions through means less costly, more covertly and more effective than concentration camps and genocides.

These devastating developments are gradual and almost evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and with external pressures from nations such as United States it is hard to know where the future will take us, although it does appear to be a trend of global surveillance in which New Zealand is only one small aspect of this global Orwellian world.

In order to ram the point home further that this is not merely an obscure interpretation of the situation at hand please read.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Darius Shahtahmasebi

Darius Shahtahmasebi has completed a Double Degree in Law and Japanese from the University of Otago, with an interest in human rights, international law and journalism.


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What they Aren’t Telling the Public About Government Spying in New Zealand

Sunday, 11 August 2013 11:48 By Darius Shahtahmasebi, SpeakOut | News Analysis

Despite a wave of protests in major cities across the country on Saturday July 27 2013 which, for New Zealand, were reasonably large in size, Prime Minister John Key has made it perfectly clear that he intends to go ahead with the GCSB Bill and Telecommunication (Interception and Communication Security) Bill. His remarks showed a lack of interest in New Zealanders genuinely fearing for their rights as he dismissed the protests as small scale, and participants as either being politically motivated and/or being misinformed.

Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear

John Key’s comments can be conjoined with the argument of an overwhelmingly number of apathetic New Zealanders who claim that they have nothing to hide and therefore have nothing to fear. The problem with these arguments can be dealt with simultaneously.

When people say they have nothing to hide and therefore nothing to fear, what exactly are they indicating they are omitting to do or be a part of to be safe from unreasonable search and seizure? If they are referring to terrorism, just take a second and count how many actual terrorists you have ever encountered in your time in New Zealand, and how many terrorist attacks there have ever been in New Zealand. So truly, if you are referring to terrorism, you are literally acquiescing that almost no New Zealanders will have nothing to hide. So what then, is the purpose of the Bill? Who is the Bill aimed at?

A good start in answering this question would be to look at what happened under the old GCSB laws. 88 NZ citizens were spied on illegally. Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom was spied on, his house was raided, his possessions taken and his bank accounts frozen. To see how seriously John Key takes these matters, just note his demeanour towards Dotcom, when he said “I think he [Dotcom] loves the limelight."  I wonder how you, or I, or John Key would feel if he was spied on and had his house ransacked and raided by police at the order of the juggernaut that is the United States. To put it short, John Key is not going to care that your rights are being eroded.

As to the other 88 New Zealanders, I do not know anything about them at all. So what does this tell you? It means that the GCSB can invade your privacy, send your information off to different agencies and to the United States, and when you say you have nothing to hide and therefore nothing to fear, you do not even know what it is you are supposed to be hiding from them. The fact that the government can store and access your private information over a long period of time means that any communication you have ever had could be used to incriminate you.

The Problem with the GCSB Bill

Consider that you open up a spam email that has a link to something abhorrent and illegal, such as child pornography, and you accidentally click on the link because you believe it to be something else. In a non-Orwellian world, you would close the file, delete its history, and never think about it again. The problem is that now the government can have access to every file you have ever opened through backdoor access to Microsoft and other giant computer and network servers and you are potentially criminally liable for an offence punishable by many, many years in jail. For those of you who think this is crazy, or cannot think of any reason why somebody would do this, it has already been attempted a number of times (see: the attempted set up of Dan Rhodes; and the attempted set up of Luke Rudkowski).

The Bill is being put in place as a mechanism to oust political dissidents and people who do not conform to the status quo. If you are unaware that New Zealand has a status quo, and that you think we live in a completely free and democratic society where the media is unbiased and people have the sole right to freedom of speech then think again.

 Some New Zealanders in social media claim that while they are against the Bill, to think that New Zealand is becoming an Orwellian police state is beyond exaggeration. The sort of NAZI regime that people are scared of obviously would be an exaggeration, but what many of us do not realize is that New Zealand does not need to become a replica of the NAZI state. With modern day technologies, as I explained above, the government, its agencies and its allies can oust and spy on whoever they want and quash their oppositions through means less costly, more covertly and more effective than concentration camps and genocides.

These devastating developments are gradual and almost evolutionary rather than revolutionary, and with external pressures from nations such as United States it is hard to know where the future will take us, although it does appear to be a trend of global surveillance in which New Zealand is only one small aspect of this global Orwellian world.

In order to ram the point home further that this is not merely an obscure interpretation of the situation at hand please read.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Darius Shahtahmasebi

Darius Shahtahmasebi has completed a Double Degree in Law and Japanese from the University of Otago, with an interest in human rights, international law and journalism.


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