web analytics

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

  • Govt housing failures sees big borrowing rise
    National’s failure to tackle the housing crisis is putting the economy way out of kilter, with borrowing rising four times faster than incomes - the fastest rise since the financial crisis, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government’s inability… ...
    2 hours ago
  • Minister flounders over Auckland Council farce
    Local Government Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga should step in and resolve an escalating Auckland Council reorganisation debate before it becomes even more complicated and expensive, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “The Local Government Commission (LGC) has announced that the… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Labour and Greens sign historic agreement to change the Government
    The Labour Party and the Green Party have announced today they have signed an historic agreement to work cooperatively to change the Government. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the parties commits them to working cooperatively to change the Government… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Budget ignores vital role of quality ECE
    Last night I watched a fascinating programme about the Otago University 45 year study of 1000 New Zealanders. It concluded that there are ways to intervene and support people who are at risk of becoming violent. One of the key… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • More ice for Radio NZ in Budget
    Budget 2016 once again left our only public broadcaster, Radio NZ (RNZ), worse off. After eight years of funding freezes, you have to wonder if RNZ is being iced-out for ideological reasons. I believe public broadcasting is an important cornerstone… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • Fisheries inquiry must be widened to include Trident
    The Government must widen its inquiry into the Ministry for Primary Industries to include its awarding of a company owned by Sanford and Moana Pacific Fisheries to monitor commercial fishing vessels, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Rino Tirikatene says. The Ministry for… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government spend up on state house sell off
    The Government has spent $28.9 million and has 129 officials working on its misguided state house sell-off, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “This is a scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money on a policy that won’t deliver a single extra… ...
    3 days ago
  • Housing crisis has huge impact on education
    The National Government’s failure to get on top of the housing crisis is having a major impact on the quality of education a lot of school kids are getting, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There are thousands of kids… ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister celebrates while arts organisations face cuts
    Maggie Barry was full of self-congratulations for her small arts announcement in the budget, ignoring the pain that a large number of organisations are facing due to her inaction, says Arts, Culture, Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “The Budget delivered a… ...
    3 days ago
  • Regions miss out again in Joyce’s Koru Lounge Fund
      The regions have missed out yet again with Steven Joyce offering just $10m a year for key regional development projects while trumpeting a bunch of re-heated announcements, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The dairy downturn has put… ...
    4 days ago
  • Children’s Commissioner misses out in Budget
      The Office of the Children’s Commissioner has missed out on a much needed boost in this year’s Budget, meaning they will be forced to continue their reduced monitoring role of CYFs residences, says Labour’s spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern. … ...
    4 days ago
  • Communities miss out in Budget
    Budget 2017 has left community and NGO providers feeling exposed about the services they provide to vulnerable families especially in smaller towns and communities, says Labour’s Whānau Ora Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Approximately $40m will go into Whānau Ora to work… ...
    5 days ago
  • Budget2016: Two Worlds
    Sometimes I feel as if I live in two worlds. The world created by the National Government where everything is great and they’re doing a great job and the world as seen through the eyes of child advocates, community workers,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Parekura would be proud – MTS gets boost
    The Labour Party is ecstatic that the Māori Party have shown support for one of Labour’s proudest policies, says Labour’s Māori Broadcasting Spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “The Māori Television Service was launched in 2004 by the late Hon Parekura Horomia. ...
    5 days ago
  • Māori housing in state of emergency
    The Government needs to declare a state of emergency for Māori Housing, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson and Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis. “The extra $3 million a year Māori Housing Network fund will not scratch the surface in… ...
    5 days ago
  • State house sell off in disarray after provider pulls out
     The Government should cancel its planned sell-off of state houses after the second big community housing provider pulled out leaving the process in disarray, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “It is time for the Government to back away from… ...
    5 days ago
  • Nothing in Budget to help police to solve crime
    The Police Minister has failed to make communities safer with virtually no new money in yesterday’s Budget for police to address the appalling burglary resolution rates, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It’s a disgrace there’s no money or aspiration… ...
    5 days ago
  • Blog – Budget 2016: What about ordinary working people?
    Ordinary working New Zealanders don’t fare very well from this Budget. Setting aside the spin from the Government, it contains a lot to be concerned about and a fudging of the numbers. Green Party workplace relations spokesperson Denise Roche For… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    5 days ago
  • Real wages go backwards for next two years
    New Zealanders’ real wages will fall for the next two years as the cost of living outpaces forecast pay rises, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New Zealanders have been doing it tough for far too long. They expect… ...
    5 days ago
  • The Attack on Public Education – by a thousand cuts
    Budget 2016 is another step towards the free public education system being a memory from the past. The Budget freezes the operations grant for schools and does not sufficiently cover the real increase in numbers of students entering the education system.… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • The Attack on Public Education – by a thousand cuts
    Budget 2016 is another step towards the free public education system being a memory from the past. The Budget freezes the operations grant for schools and does not sufficiently cover the real increase in numbers of students entering the education system.… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • The give with one hand – take with the other Budget
    The Minister of Health has pumped out media releases to 20 District Health Boards heralding increases in funding for their regions, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “But when you add population growth and inflation into the figures you get… ...
    5 days ago
  • Budget offers no hope of fixing housing crisis
    The Budget’s underwhelming housing measures will give New Zealanders no hope that National is capable of fixing the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “There isn’t a scrap of an idea to help desperate young Kiwi families into… ...
    5 days ago
  • How the budget fails new New Zealanders
    Greens co-leader James Shaw was absolutely correct to say the 2016 budget is just papering over the cracks. There’s nothing in this budget to increase wages, address inequal pay for carers or deal with the shocking pay rates and employment… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Parents will pay more as school budgets frozen
    Parents will pay more for their kids’ education as a result of this year’s Budget after the Government froze operational funding for schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This means schools are effectively going backwards. They will need to… ...
    6 days ago
  • Sticking Plaster Budget fails the test
    Bill English’s penultimate Budget fails to tackle the structural challenges facing the economy – a housing crisis, rising unemployment, underfunded health and creaking infrastructure, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This Budget applies a sticking plaster to a compound fracture.… ...
    6 days ago
  • John Key fails middle New Zealand with no fix for housing crisis, more underfunding of health
    Middle New Zealand has again missed out in this year’s Budget with not a single fix for the housing crisis, and health and education woefully underfunded again, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This Budget is just a patchwork… ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour Bill would back Kiwi jobs
    The Government’s $40 billion of buying power would go towards backing Kiwi businesses and jobs under a Labour Member’s Bill which will be debated by Parliament, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “My Bill – which was pulled from… ...
    6 days ago
  • Julie Anne Genter: My Budget 2016 wish is fairness
    When my parents first visited me in Auckland ten years ago, they remarked on how there were no homeless people on the streets. Coming from Los Angeles, they were used to seeing the impacts of horrendous inequality and a lack… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    6 days ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    6 days ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    6 days ago
  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    7 days ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    7 days ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    7 days ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    7 days ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    7 days ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    7 days ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    1 week ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    1 week ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    1 week ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    1 week ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    1 week ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere