web analytics
The Standard

NRT: Did the NSA write John Key’s spy bill?

Written By: - Date published: 1:20 pm, March 11th, 2014 - 16 comments
Categories: Europe, International, john key, Spying, us politics - Tags: , , ,

no-right-turn-256This is a re-post from here at No Right Turn

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden gave evidence to the European Parliament last week about the NSA and mass-surveillance. The most interesting revelation? The NSA’s use of lawyers to subvert other countries limits on surveillance – including our own:

One of the foremost activities of the NSA’s FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance. Lawyers from the NSA, as well as the UK’s GCHQ, work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers. These efforts to interpret new powers out of vague laws is an intentional strategy to avoid public opposition and lawmakers’ insistence that legal limits be respected, effects the GCHQ internally described in its own documents as “damaging public debate”.

In recent public memory, we have seen these FAD “legal guidance” operations occur in both Sweden and the Netherlands, and also faraway New Zealand.

[Emphasis added]

So what did GCSB receive “legal guidance” on? Was the secret interpretation of the old law, under which they asserted that metadata wasn’t a communication and so spying on it was lawful, concocted by foreign spies? What about the careful loopholes in the new Act, which allow them to claim the same thing, or conduct mass surveillance for “cybersecurity”? Was John Key’s spy bill really written in Washington, DC?

We need answers on this. And we need protection. The most obvious method is to make the GCSB publish their legal advice, so that we know how they interpret the law, what they believe they are allowed to do, and whether that matches what Parliament and the public think they are allowed to do. They won’t want to do that, of course – and in an environment of secrecy, that can only be interpreted as trying to hide a new “interpretation” to allow unlawful spying.

As for why the NSA is so keen on this, here’s Snowden again:

Once the NSA has successfully subverted or helped repeal legal restrictions against unconstitutional mass surveillance in partner states, it encourages partners to perform “access
operations.” Access operations are efforts to gain access to the bulk communications of all major telecommunications providers in their jurisdictions, normally beginning with those that handle the greatest volume of communications. Sometimes the NSA provides consultation, technology, or even the physical hardware itself for partners to “ingest” these massive amounts of data in a manner that allows processing, and it does not take long to access everything.

And the ultimate goal is for NSA to be given access to that. Of course, they promise not to spy on citizens of the agency which grants them access, but those promises are unenforceable, and in the EU they can often get around it by using one country to spy on another in violation of their agreements with both.

This is what the NSA wants to do to New Zealand. And John Key has just given them a law which enables them to do it. Sure, he’spromised that there’s no “wholesale collection”, but its worth noting here that the NSA doesn’t consider information is “collected” until an actual human reads it – so they can spy on everyone, while denying doing it. The GCSB could be playing similar word-games here. And we won’t know, unless we force the publication of their legal advice.

16 comments on “NRT: Did the NSA write John Key’s spy bill?”

  1. karol 1

    Ah, I was thinking this is an important post and would be worth putting on TS.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    That’s why Key can’t complain about Collins selling Ministerial visits to Oravida. He sold New Zealand to the NSA.

  3. Tracey 3

    Why do people keep thinking nz isnt like the others?

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    There is a hell of a lot to wade through here but… give it a go. Phone, ISP and Global positioning records and data let the filth know about where certain people congregate, say at a union building, what they do in their own time–conduct an affair perhaps. All based on data and modelling about peoples habits and particularly vehicle movements within a certain km radius.
    https://www.aclu.org/time-rein-surveillance-state-0

    Why would the NSA or GCSB snoop on you? Because they can. They are an integrated feature of US imperialism.

  5. Tracey 5

    If this was done without keys knowledge, his reaction behind closed doors will be fascinating. Its one thing for him to constantly make his followers look stupid but he will hate being made to look stupid and used.

  6. redfred 6

    Barrack: Hey John, Barack here.
    John: Oh Mr President!
    Barack: Now now Barracks fine, how about some quick horse trading
    John: Whatever you say Mr President.
    Barrack: Now John I’ll tell you what, let my boys over at NSA rewrite your spying law and I’ll let you lose against me in a game of golf, fair?
    Key: What ever you say Mr President.

  7. Huginn 7

    It would explain how Key ended up promoting legislation that he didn’t understand.

  8. karol 8

    David Fisher reports on this over at the NZ Herald. He quotes comments from Tech Liberty:

    In listing New Zealand among countries targeted, he said: “Each of these countries received instruction from the NSA, sometimes under the guise of the US Department of Defense and other bodies, on how to degrade the legal protections of their countries’ communications.”

    Cyber rights group Tech Liberty’s spokesman Thomas Beagle said the new laws introduced in New Zealand last year appeared surprisingly quickly.

    “It was like someone had it sitting in a drawer ready to go. Who is really writing these laws.”

    He said the greater concern was the lack of oversight. “It’s never being able to test what they are doing what they say.”

  9. Sosoo 9

    How many people actually care? The impression I get from talking to folks about this (and I do a lot of that in my job) is that only a minority of people care. The majority appear to think that the “nothing to hide = nothing to fear” principle is true. Commentators seem to wildly underestimate how submissively authoritarian the average person is. It sucks, but as long as they get to post inane messages to Facebook people don’t seem to care.

    • exitlane 9.1

      Many kiwis were outraged when our nuclear free policy was being undermined in Washington and many will be similarly outraged that our spy laws are being written by US spies

      now they know … with the NZ Herald, TV3 and Radio NZ giving the story legs today

      • politikiwi 9.1.1

        I hope you’re right, exitlane, but I fear Sosoo is on the money here: Most people feel that all this enhanced surveillance protects them. I guess the reason people think that is basic intuition: “if everyone’s being watched all the time, they’ll never do anything wrong, and if they can’t do anything wrong then they can’t hurt me. And it’s fine for me because I never do anything wrong, so what am I worried about?”

        It strikes me as naive and backwards to think that way, but that doesn’t stop a lot of people.

  10. peterlepaysan 10

    John Key is a USA puppet.

    Always has been.

    Washington and Wall Street run this country.

    The USA needs hegemony over the Pacific. Ocean, Howard gifted Oz to the yanks. The yanks want us well, they sent us John Key.

    The NZ National Party has a hell of a lot of explaining to do, as do the various business and employer lobby groups that support that party.

    The National Party, under John Key has allowed this country to be raped by the USA.

    Having said that , I have to admit that are more than one other possible rapists lurking nearby.

    I actually think rape is utterly revolting and should inspire revolutions.

  11. Clemgeopin 11

    What needs to happen immediately is for Labour to state unequivocally that if in power, it will immediately review the spy laws thoroughly consult widely and rewrite the spy laws so that our own sovereignty, honour, freedom, decency, fairness and values are not compromised. Does Labour and its leaders have the courage and integrity to take such a stand and follow through?

    • Clemgeopin 11.1

      Listen to this very good interview of Mr Cunliffe on TV3 this morning. Towards the end, he was asked about the Snowden’s revelations about NSA and the NZ spy law. Stangley TV3 left out Mr Cunliffe’s excellent response and important commitment in its transcript below the video!

      Here is the video:
      http://www.3news.co.nz/Sack-Collins-over-Oravida-Cunliffe-tells-Key/tabid/1607/articleID/335554/Default.aspx

      And here is Mr Cunliffe’s unequivocal response:

      “Labour is absolutely right to have made a commitment to a digital bill of rights which will protect New Zealanders rights and freedoms in cyber space. We have previously said and I will repeat again today that we will repeal the GCSB law and replace it with one that protects New Zealanders privacy and which requires a warrant before any intercept of New Zealander’s communications”

      I think that is a very clear statement and should be given very wide publicity often through out this election period. I think a vast majority of Kiwi’s will support this fair and enlightened policy.

  12. NZ Jester 12

    It’s not just us new Zealanders that should be worried about this but the American public also.
    While the NSA can not legally spy on US citizens at will, our GCSB can. The NSA using the data sharing agreements they have with the GCSB can then spy on any US citizen without needing a warrant as they are technically not doing the spying themselves.
    It sounds a lot like what is meant to be our GCSB has been taken over by the NSA and is now their GCSB.

    • Murray Olsen 12.1

      I’d laugh if GCSB agents were caught spying on Americans and prosecuted. All it would need would be an independent minded federal prosecutor. Wouldn’t it be great to see Key’s schoolboy mate doing 20 years in a federal pen?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Housing crisis hurting export growth
    If Steven Joyce wants to revive his failing export growth target he needs to make sure the Government gets to grips with the housing crisis, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson. “Our exporters are struggling to compete… ...
    2 days ago
  • Gallipoli’s lesson: never forget, never repeat
     A special monument to one of our greatest war heroes should be a priority for the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “This will honour the spirit of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who led 760… ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister for who? Women, or Team Key?
    Louise Upston yesterday broke her silence on John Key’s repeated unwanted touching of a woman who works at his local café, to jump to the defence of her Boss. Upston repeated Key’s apology but, according to media reports “she refused… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Taxpayer bucks backing US billionaire
    Kiwis will be horrified to know they are backing a Team Oracle subsidiary owned by a US billionaire, Labour’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. It has been revealed today that a Warkworth boat building company, which is wholly… ...
    3 days ago
  • English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing
    When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.  “He’s right if you ignore: ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate change now hurts Kiwis
    Kiwis have twice been given timely and grave warnings on how climate change will hit them in their hip pockets this week, says Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The first is the closure of the Sanford mussel plant and the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Clean, green and chocolate!
    Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    3 days ago
  • National admits loan shark law not up to it
    National has admitted new laws to crack down on loan sharks, truck shops and dodgy credit merchants aren’t up to the task of protecting vulnerable consumers, Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Paul Goldsmith has acknowledged the laws might just… ...
    3 days ago
  • Power and the Prime Minister
    I’d like to acknowledge the young woman* who has publically told her story. It was a very brave thing to do. She kept her story very simple and focussed on her experience of what happened. It told of unwanted attention… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Extra holiday offers time to reflect
    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    3 days ago
  • More angst and anguish for red zone locals
    Local residents will be bitterly disappointed by the Government’s cherry picking of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding compensation for red zoned property owners, Labour Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “Home owners have taken all… ...
    4 days ago
  • Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now
    Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • Pure Water- pure rip off
    New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.  “The Government needs to resolve the issue of water… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cabinet paper reveals weak case for Iraq deployment
    A heavily redacted copy of a Cabinet paper on New Zealand’s military deployment to Iraq reveals how weak the case is for military involvement in that conflict, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  The paper warns that given the failure… ...
    4 days ago
  • Malaysia’s booty is Kiwis’ lost homeownership dream
    It’s unsurprising the Auckland property market is so overheated when Malaysians are being told they can live large on Kiwi’s hard-earned rent money, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “A Malaysian property website lists nearly 4000 New Zealand houses and… ...
    4 days ago
  • Ministry’s food safety resources slashed to the bone
    The Ministry for Primary Industries’ failure to monitor toxic and illegal chemicals in red meat is a dereliction of duty, Labour’s Primary Industries and Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI compliance officer Gary Orr today admitted National’s much-vaunted super… ...
    4 days ago
  • Ministry must protect organic food industry
    The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees
    This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • PM’s housing outburst bizarre
    Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has described the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the Auckland housing crisis as bizarre. “John Key is deep in denial. He must be one of the only people left who are not concerned about the risk… ...
    6 days ago
  • Deflation: Another economic headache linked to housing crisis
    National’s housing crisis is causing even further damage with the second consecutive quarter of deflation a genuine concern the Reserve Bank can do little about, as it focusses on Auckland house prices, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This is… ...
    6 days ago
  • Pot calling the kettle black over fossil fuel subsidies.
    Over the weekend alongside nine other countries the New Zealand Government has endorsed a statement that supports eliminating inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel subsidies are a big driver of increasing emissions. Good on the Government for working internationally… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    6 days ago
  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    7 days ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    1 week ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    1 week ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    1 week ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    1 week ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    1 week ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Zero excuses, end zero hour contracts now
    It’s time Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse cut the weasel words and banned zero hour contracts, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged zero hour contracts are unfair. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We’ve reached Peak Key with ‘artificial target’
    John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “For seven years and two election campaigns, John Key has… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Top 10 need to know facts on climate change
    All the numbers and stats around climate change can be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy list of the top 10 numbers about climate change that we should all know- and then do something about. You can sign up here to… ...
    GreensBy Frog
    2 weeks ago
  • Campbell Live a bastion of investigative journalism
    The announcement that current affairs programme Campbell Live is under review and may be axed has sparked outrage from the New Zealand public, for good reason, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Investigative journalism is a precious resource in today’s… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ground Zero for ‘disastrous’ contracts
    Yesterday the Green Party called on the Government to follow the leadership of Restaurant Brands and ditch zero-hour contracts. Currently it looks like the Government is a large part of the zero-hours problem. It allows these types of “non-jobs” to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Trust in National will disappear with deficit
    Bill English is set to break his promise to get the books back in the black this year and lose the trust of Kiwis who have had to do it too hard for too long, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Dorothy Jelicich passes away
    It is with sincere sadness that the Labour Party conveys its sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family of Dorothy Jelicich who passed away last night at the age of 87 years, says the MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio.… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere