A Matter of Simple Logic

Written By: - Date published: 4:54 pm, September 16th, 2014 - 102 comments
Categories: election 2014, john key, Media, Spying - Tags: , , ,

One of the few journalists to do his job properly over the course of the dirty politics scandal has been Guyon Espiner. He has, without in any way breaching his duty of impartiality, seen it as his responsibility on Morning Report to put questions to, and demand answers of, the Prime Minister – and, when those answers have not been forthcoming, he has not hesitated to make that clear.

He has continued that approach as the scandal has widened to embrace the question of whether or not John Key has lied to us in denying the mounting (and many would say, convincing) evidence that New Zealanders have been subjected to mass surveillance by the GCSB.

Espiner’s interviewee this morning was Sir Bruce Ferguson, a former Chief of New Zealand Defence Force and subsequently the Director of the GCSB. The interview followed in the main a predictable course. Ferguson, although lacking any technical or specialist knowledge, was robust in asserting that there had been no mass surveillance under his watch (though how would he know?) and he revealed his own obvious limitations and prejudices when he dismissed the evidence to the contrary from Edward Snowden on the ground that the latter was “a traitor to his country”.

The fact that Snowden’s evidence across a wide range of issues has never been shown to be inaccurate in any way did not seem to concern him at all.

The interview then took, however, an interesting turn. Espiner, skilled interviewer as he is, asked the good Air Marshal how far the GCSB’s powers might extend in the case of someone – taking himself, Espiner, as an example – who was suspected of acting against New Zealand’s security interests.

Ferguson was pleased to explain in detail the steps that would need to be gone through before a warrant would be issued to look into the records available about, in this case, Espiner, or any other potential suspect. He agreed with Espiner that, once the warrant had been issued, everything about the individual who was the subject of the inquiry – e-mails, electronic communications and transactions more generally, lists of correspondents and contacts over a long period – would be available to the security services.

It was at this point that Espiner posed the critical question. I paraphrase and elaborate – “Where,” asked Espiner, “does that information come from? How is it that it becomes available? Who has been holding it and how did they get it? Since suspicion could suddenly and unforeseeably fall on any person and a warrant could be obtained in respect of that person, does it not follow that the full information that you have described about that person – and every other person – must have been held somewhere, ready to be made available in the event that it was needed? Does this not show that we are all subject to surveillance, in case the information is one day needed about any one of us?”

Ferguson was not at all discomforted by the question, mainly because he plainly had not understood it or its significance. He proceeded to provide yet more detail, at length, about how warrants were obtained, and seemed completely oblivious of the point that Espiner had made.

The rest of us, however, are able to ponder Espiner’s question at our leisure. If the GCSB is able, when a particular name is put to them, to produce the detailed information described by Ferguson about that person, how could that be done unless records are kept about all of us?

The evidence that mass surveillance takes place in New Zealand – evidence that the Prime Minister demands that we should produce before he will concede that he has misled us on the subject – seems, after all, to be a matter, not of physical proof, but of simple logic.

Bryan Gould

16 September 2014.

102 comments on “A Matter of Simple Logic”

  1. Dont worry. Be happy 1

    Time for Key to get the same message he gave Crusher…resign or be sacked. And you can take your Cabinet, that signed off on the spy bill, with you.

  2. brian 2

    Thank you Bryan

  3. CeeEm 3

    It all comes down to language.
    A question such as ‘are New Zealanders being mass surveilled’ is answered by a ‘no’ from the prime minister. This is because the government and the covert intelligence agency have defined ‘surveillance’ as something which requires a specific target, a suspicion or tip-off etc.
    ‘Gathering’ massive amounts of digital information on New Zealanders? Well, the answer is ‘yes’. But you see, they can ‘gather’ it because they are not using it. That is until they need to use it because now it is a matter of ‘national security’ and, you know, they have laws about that. So they get a warrant.
    It’s very useful, of course, that they have the massive amount of information in the first place.
    But it wasn’t gained by ‘surveillance’, see. No, because that would be illegal. And we trust our government not to do illegal things, don’t we?

  4. The words ‘hoist’ and ‘petard’ come to mind.

  5. cogito 5

    It was a great ambush by Espiner…

    Snowden’s presentation to the MoT last night is well worth listening to more than once, as his statements have a ring of knowledge and authenticity about them that is utterly lacking in anything from Mr Key.

  6. I was very impressed by Snowden – have been by what he’s written as well.

    I rate Ferguson’s contribution by his description of the Snowden/Greenwald material as ‘crap’. Apt word, just used to describe the wrong thing.

    Never thought I’d say it as I am a political junkie but I just want it to be over so we can either start the fight against a morally and intellectually bankrupt rightwing government – or start the fight to keep a Labour-led government on task.

  7. blue leopard 7

    I am repulsed when people refer to Snowden as a traitor.

    He didn’t betray people, he acted with their best interests at heart.

    If that is a betrayal then it begs the question whose interests are these spy agencies aiming to protect?

    Clearly not the peoples’ or Snowden wouldn’t be considered a traitor.

    • There is a higher patriotism than to a country.

    • D'Esterre 7.2

      @ blue leopard: “I am repulsed when people refer to Snowden as a traitor. ”

      The “traitor” epithet is one of those debate-ending assertions: a have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife-yet statement. I’ve encountered it frequently when discussing this issue. People who resort to it don’t really have a countervailing argument, so they use it in an attempt to shut down debate. Nobody, after all, wants to be called a traitor – or even a sympathiser. Thus far, I haven’t heard the PM say it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had done so.

      I’ve heard similar claims about Nicky Hager. The fact that he’s an investigating journalist seems to cut no ice with some people.

      Evidently, many people prefer propaganda to facts; they can’t bring themselves to accept that the PM is not the knight in shining armour portrayed to date by the mainstream media. And they have even greater difficulty with the revisionist portrait when it’s being presented to them by said mainstream media.

      • blue leopard 7.2.1

        +1 Agree with what you write.

        The bit about preferring propaganda, is a really horrifying concept to me, the thought that is the case really is chilling. I guess propaganda is designed to appeal to peoples’ sentiments, though – if it wasn’t it wouldn’t work.

        Interesting you mention that re not hearing the PM say it [yet!], come to think of it, neither have I. (Thank the heavens for small mercies)

        Obama, and his obedient minions have been. I am really very stunned when I hear them say such things – it just sounds so backwards*, it is hard for me to imagine such idiocy appealing to anyone. (*Like labeling people ‘commies’)

        • D'Esterre 7.2.1.1

          @ blue leopard: ” I guess propaganda is designed to appeal to peoples’ sentiments, though – if it wasn’t it wouldn’t work.”

          With regard to propaganda, there was an interesting piece on RNZ’s Sunday morning show last Sunday 14th September. Wayne Brittenden’s “Counterpoint” talks about Rear Admiral Eugene Carroll, a former Pentagon insider. Wallace Chapman follows it up with an interview with Jeff Cohen. The issues discussed are very illuminating, especially in light of what’s happened here over the last 6 years.

          It’s on the website; I recommend it if you want to know how we got to where we are. And how it is that people will believe what Dear Leader says to them, rather than what Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald have revealed, or the vileness under the stone which Nicky Hager has lifted up.

          What do we do about it? Point it out to people, I guess; and persist in pointing it out. People do need to look sceptically at what the news media tells us – and most of all, we need to take what the PM says with a great big handful of salt.

  8. coolas 8

    Gould is spot on here. Espiner conducted the interview brilliantly. Sir Bruce said there was ‘absolutely no mass surveillance,’ but agreed GCSB would have access to all historic communications of someone they were investigating. As Snowden said on Monday night, he just had to, ‘open the box.’

    Appears Sir Bruce has been trotted out to pour cold water on the ‘Moment of Truth’ revelations but because he’s so puffed up with his own self-importance he ended up pouring oil on the fire.

    And dismissing, ‘anything Snowden says because he’s a traitor,’ reveals this establishment clown has no idea of the risk to personal freedom Snowden took to uncover the treachery Five Eyes has perpetrated on the citizens of USA, Canada, UK, Australia and NZ.

    If we’re pointing fingers at traitors mine goes to Sir Bruce before Edward Snowden

    • Chooky 8.1

      +100…”this establishment clown has no idea of the risk to personal freedom Snowden took to uncover the treachery Five Eyes has perpetrated on the citizens of USA, Canada, UK, Australia and NZ”.

  9. Colonial Viper 9

    Thanks for pointing this out Bryan. *Quietly upgrades opinion of Espiner*

  10. Tracey 10

    interesting observation but not one picked up by the msm…

    Can someone show me where in the docs released by Key yesterday it shows NZ rejected Spearhead, cos Tova o’brien just said that Keys documents proved spearhead never happened here and having read them I cant see how she concluded that

    • The MSM keeps repeating only that John Key declassified documents to disprove the claims, without any details of what those declassified documents actually referred to once in public.

      Without the details, some people have obviously internalised the “disprove” part. An accident on MSM’s part? I think not…

      • Tracey 10.1.1

        Which makes me think that tova hasnt read the docs just the PMs press release that fronted them.

        • karol 10.1.1.1

          She said she’d run things by me before she speaks – not a woman of her word.

        • politikiwi 10.1.1.2

          Has anyone explained what relationship CORTEX has with SPEARGUN?

          Because until evidence is produced that the two are synonymous, the Key declassified documents mean nothing.

          • karol 10.1.1.2.1

            There’s Keith Ng’s explanation:

            CORTEX has nothing to do with SPEARGUN:

            SPEARGUN sits at the major highways of our network, extracting metadata from the traffic that goes through and sending it elsewhere. CORTEX sits at the driveway of businesses and ISPs, checking what goes in and out for signs of malware activity. The two are very different beasts.

            The metadata probes that Greenwald refers to are used to covertly extract metadata. According to the Cabinet papers, CORTEX “will in all cases operate with the consent of the participating organisations”. The programme described in Greenwald’s documents is not CORTEX.

            According to Key, a “test probe” was built to sit on the Southern Cross cable. That is the whole country, not “participating organisations”. Further proof that the purpose of the probe had nothing to do with CORTEX.

            Ryan Gallagher also explains and asks some questions:

            In a bid to prove this, Key declassified documents later on Monday (after we published our story) that outlined a project called Cortex. Key seemed to think — or perhaps hope — that these documents would kill off any concerns and put the controversy to a swift end. But they fail to address a number of crucial issues — critics have already dismissed them as a “red herring” — and in fact only seem to cloud matters further.

          • Tracey 10.1.1.2.2

            Its supposed to be smoke and mirrors. The doc drop by Key depends on the media and others not actually reading them.

            Its working so far…

            Spearhead to my knowledge is not mentioned by name in those documents. Key seems to want us to think Option 2 was Spearhead but he provides NO proof of that in these documents

            Cortex didnt start its development til december 2013

            But option 2 from 2012 was being developed until sept 2013…

            Option 1 was implemented, or authorised to be implemented in april 2012 and included “automated investigation capability”

            Option 1 is still in operation, unless Key has other documents saying its not.

            The documents make no direct mention of x-keyscore

            Thats all i can tell you.

  11. tc 11

    Thanks Bryan. Hats off to guyon who stands out in a very low brow RNZ line up these days.

  12. Tracey 12

    and now is Fisher saying that to serve his personal interests Key ignored a warning from gcsb that releasing those documents was a threat to the nation’s security, or have I misread it?

  13. vto 13

    I missed the interview but the account above certainly does mean that we have been mass spied.

    That question needs to be posed again and again until we get a truthful answer.

  14. Te Reo Putake 14

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/20149770/ex-gcsb-director-rejects-edward-snowden%27s-claims

    At the six minute mark, Espiner nails it.

    Espiner: “They could have the ability to then find pretty much everything thing they want, right?

    Agent 86: “Yes, yes, but, but …”

  15. phant0m 15

    This is making a mountain out of a worm dropping. Nowadays virtually anyone’s movements could be reconstructed with reasonable accuracy from their digital footprint and other publicly recorded information. Security cameras are everywhere, airports, hotels, train stations, bus terminals, taxis, intersections, shops etc. Your phone leaves a record of your movements. Your bankcard leaves a record of your movements. No one cares until you become a “person of interest” but where is the problem if those responsible for our security reasonably retrieve whatever bits of that information they are able to access.

    • Binders full of women 15.1

      Totally agree. The logical answer is prob not that John Key is sitting on masses of our data. More likely when the spooks need something they deal with telcos. It’s not hacking. Nothing that you type, text, dial or view is lost forever. People with right skills and clearances can find stuff and the telcos assist when our public interest/safety is at stake. The Police and Internal Affairs often have to work with telcos and I assume GCSB have similar deals. Remember when the baby was kidnapped from Wellington? Ransom call made from tel box, tel box analysed, tracked immediate prev call… busted. So yes a lot of stuff is stored.. but not by the govt, and not illegally. Nice try- but it feels like yet another ‘moment of truth’.

      • framu 15.1.1

        so – why do they have xkeyscore?

        if what you and phantom are saying = bad guys get caught anyway cause the cant really hide to start with – why are tax payers dollars being used to buy and run a system that does what can be done allready?

        whats the purpose there? duplication? throwing $$ in the air and going “wheeee”? or something else?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.2

      The problem is that the whole purpose of it is economic espionage, which is what they talk about when we aren’t listening, and political advantage. The lies about terrorism are lies: they can’t protect us from that, in fact there’s plenty of evidence their policies make it worse.

    • weka 15.3

      “Your bankcard leaves a record of your movements.”

      Don’t know what’s happening with the telcos, but banks at least afaik still won’t release bank records to the govt unless there is a good reason. Which means that the govt has to ask and there is a process to follow. That’s different than the govt having carte blanche access to data on its own database where it can do fishing expeditions.

      Besides, if there really is no problem, why are they lying about it?

    • Puddleglum 15.4

      Hi phant0m,

      Have you read (recently) the GCSB 2013 Act? In particular, have you read the bits about ‘information infrastructures’ and ‘access authorisations’ to those ‘infrastructures’?

      As I read it, the Act now permits the GCSB to access those information infrastructures without them realising it. It’s anyone’s guess what ‘devices’ (as termed in the legislation) the GCSB has sitting waiting to be activated for this purpose.

      In effect, the ‘information infrastructures’ (telcos, banks, etc.) become (one of) the data warehousing vehicles for the GCSB.

      Rodney Harrison (QC) discussed this at the time:

      The GCSB bill abolishes the restraint on GCSB activities to “foreign intelligence”, and instead confers three considerably expanded functions. When Mr Key stated on television that the first of the three things the GCSB would be empowered to do is “foreign intelligence-gathering – nothing to do with New Zealanders”, he was in error. The new 8B function discussed below covers both foreign and domestic intelligence-gathering.

      Secondly, a new intelligence-gathering and analysis function is to be conferred on the GCSB under 8B. This function is very broadly worded. In particular it permits the gathering of intelligence about “information infrastructures”[i.e., Section 8B(1)(b)]. That is defined widely enough to cover all types of electronic data systems (phones, computers, ISPs and telecommunications networks) and their content.

      So, even if we ignore the revelations of Greenwald and Snowden there’s still a hugely expanded set of functions and powers of the GCSB to access massive databases of information using ‘devices’ that appear to be ready and fit for purpose.

      The loopholes are so big you could drive the proverbial through them. And this was meant to be the legislation to protect us from mass surveillance?

      • Tracey 15.4.1

        And that explains why today Key basically said thatNSA is spying on us all but not GCSB, it is just under his watch that the NSA has been able to do so unfettered.

        I briefly worked on a case a long time ago with rodney harrison and worked with his brother in a law firm. I have alot of respect for that family, their integrity and their minds.

    • Tracey 15.5

      and yet John key doesn’t say that. He says all that you say is not happening to us here in NZ

  16. Stephen 16

    In Ferguson’s interview on Nine To Noon today, it became clear he has a very strict definition of “surveillance”. Ryan asked him what surveillance and interception are.

    His answers made it clear that to him, “surveillance” is what happens when the agency has taken an interest in you, starts searching for your stuff and inspecting the results. The collection of material up to that point is apparently not surveillance. This seems to be why he can deny there is mass surveillance with such apparent clarity and honesty — the GCSB have an operational definition that is at odds with normal people’s understanding of the word.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/20149786/former-gscb-head-on-snowden-claims-about-mass-surveillance

    • Steve 16.1

      Absolutely agree Stephen. Having just read Bryan’s post and the response from Ferguson it is pretty clear that he believes it is only when an agency looks at information on an individual does he consider it surveilance. The simple collection of information of an individual does not, in his mind, constitute surveillance.

      So with this in mind Ferguson, in all the interviews he has done in the past 24 hours, has not refuted any of the Snowdon and Greenslade allegations.

      Good on Espiner but where are the rest of the media on this? All we had from Gower tonight was a pathetic ‘No Reveal” story about KDC’s email.

    • AsleepWhileWalking 16.2

      We all knew there would be some way of framing this that would mean Key has been telling us the trooth all along. Ta-dah! Instant credibility.

  17. Bastables 17

    Are they going to be putting the interview up on the RNZ site soon? Small niggling concern that they may not put it up.

  18. keith ross 18

    I have to admit that Ferguson didn’t come across as the sharpest tack in the box although he did seem very pompous and self important. Why do these people get knighthoods? For being stupid and telling lies, well done catching him out and he didn’t even know it !

  19. Te Reo Putake 19

    Mass surveillance vs mass cyber protection.

    Interesting definition of surveillance on Wikipedia:

    Surveillance (/sərˈveɪ.əns/ or /sərˈveɪləns/)[1] is the monitoring of the behavior, activities, or other changing information, usually of people for the purpose of influencing, managing, directing, or protecting them.

    So protection is a subset of surveillance? Then what’s Key accidentally revealing when he reckons we’re only doing mass cyber protection?

    http://tvnz.co.nz/q-and-a-news/government-considered-mass-surveillance-but-ruled-john-key-video-6080067

    • Rich 19.1

      I wouldn’t particularly trust Wikipedia on a definition of surveillance.

      Too many editors there lauding up one of the main militarist states of the world.

      • Te Reo Putake 19.1.1

        Not really a question of trust, Rich, more the coincidence that Key’s weasel words don’t seem to mean anything.

        • Rich 19.1.1.1

          No they don’t, so that’s fair enough, I see what you mean now (Key) protection = (our) surveillance. The other issue for me is how much the ministers are not over their portfolios, their jobs don’t seem to require that. Collins was the most obvious example, there wasn’t even lip service to the position, but Tolley and English have also shown how they really aren’t putting forward any ideas here. So who is running the country?

  20. Rodel 20

    ‘ Journalist’ Tracey Watkins (Monday September 15), writes, “While Labour leader David Cunliffe talks to empty street corners , Prime Minister John Key is man alone, waging battle on every front…” I’ve seen Cunliffe and he’s not addressing ’empty street corners.

    For chrissake how dare she call herself a journalist writing bias like that. Oh I forgot. Now that Cameron Slater has been adjudged to be a journalist, she is now in the same category as him. That explains everything.

    Does Watkins write this rubbish or does an anonymous sub editor change it to ensure a right wing bias?

    • karol 20.1

      I’ve seen a National Party van cruising around my hood. People were ignoring them. But then, that’s Kelston.

      Probably depends a lot on the hood, the time of day, etc.

  21. JonL 21

    ” but where is the problem if those responsible for our security reasonably retrieve whatever bits of that information they are able to access.”

    The problem is in what the definition of “reasonably retrieve” might be. Your idea of reasonably retrieve may not be that of some authoritarian desk jockey who just decides to have a look or perve on somebody – just because he can.

  22. logie97 22

    Just an aside, but we need to start a campaign to get Bryan Gould onto Mora’s afternoon panel. (assuming he has the time).

    Could see Farrar and Boag both getting cold feet…

  23. alwyn 23

    Unfortunately we have to take note of Gould’s comment
    “Ferguson, although lacking any technical or specialist knowledge, was robust in asserting that there had been no mass surveillance under his watch (though how would he know?)”
    If he is really as ignorant as Gould would like us to believe we must assume that he hasn’t the faintest idea of whether it would be possible to get the information about things that happened prior to the warrant being issued, and anything he said that implied it could be done is wrong. After all “how would he know”?

    • Local Kiwi 23.1

      Who’s we? truth deniers?

      What Ferguson should have said is,
      “I am totally out of the picture nowadays” instead of looking like he was informed .

      He would have salvaged some credibility if he then had given up the plastering he was attempting?

  24. Jrobin 24

    Agree about Guyon, Bryan; the bosses are probably rueing the day they hired him as he was supposedly right wing, but he is definitely one of the few professional journalists in the small Nz pond. Reading the Sydney papers report on the “Moment….” was a striking contrast to our generally ill informed and colloquial
    B grade media. There are to be fair, some exceptions apart from Guyon. Lisa Owens, John Campbell even Barry Soper, for actually reporting the missing Roy Morgan Poll.
    The Prime Minister has set the tone and Greenwald’s comments on that tone should be sobering for the whole nation. Dismissive, immature and under the guise of stupid, Key is also a skilled equivocator. He has degraded our public discourse and made ignorance, illiteracy and deceit standard fare. Shame on you John Key for bringing our country into disrepute with thinking people planet-wide. The only silver lining, he has been great for stimulating satire and parody.
    Will this surveillance culture be turned back with a new Govt. Mr Cunliffe will have to be reminded of this week if he starts to cuddle up to the NSA. But how would any of us know or be able to prove spying. The TPPA is another whole can of worms revealed again this week. Phil Goff seems dangerously keen to sign this creepy agreement. Challenging times for democracy.

    • lprent 24.1

      He is right wing. Told me so at the interview I did there a few weeks back. Personally I don’t really care if the interviews are done well and are informative.

      I did wish that he’d been a little better prepared for my interview. Instead he was running more on the usual crappy myths about TS from the right, mostly from 2008 as far as I could see.

  25. Peter 25

    Maybe its time for The Standard to publish its own list of NZs’ most objective/respected MSM/Internet reporters? We have to start somewhere to improve the quality of information.

    • Local Kiwi 25.1

      Bloody good idea Peter.

      I was thinking of that last week.

      And also we should print a list of the worst Papers and polling companies.

      A sort of a mass media critique.

      • ShanghaiSue 25.1.1

        We need a list of of journalists, editors, their country of origin and who owns the paper and where it is owned from

    • weka 25.2

      I suggested this the other day too, that we come up with a list of criteria for public service journalism and then see who meet which criteria as issues arise.

  26. fambo 26

    The ancient Greeks discovered the atom through logic.

    • Lanthanide 26.1

      They theorised it. They didn’t ‘discover’ it in any meaningful sense, ie they couldn’t use the information to make predictions about how things would work.

  27. 100% Pure NZ 27

    Degradation Nationale de MSM

  28. Tim 28

    Yes it was an extraordinary comment by Ferguson after his tirade about Snowden being a traitor – I doubt that Ferguson could even comprehend the concept of a whistleblower acting out of conscience. In Ferguson’s world orders, chain of command and hierarchy are all that matter. Interesting that both Snowden and Assange were home schooled.

    • Chooky 28.1

      Yes that is interesting ie “Interesting that both Snowden and Assange were home schooled”

      …i think there was an American soldier in Afghanistan that went awol and came back and told everyone like it is…and he was home schooled…they did not seem to know whether he was a hero for surviving or a traitor for leaving.

  29. The left is consumed with john key to the point of obsessive compulsive disorder There are conspiracies around every corner. Most of what is in place was under Helen Clark watch and would remain under a new labour government. People don’t care and accept it is simply part of living in moden times under the western alliance in a troubled world, The downside been a negliable impact on our privacy

    On a similar theme I see tv one was using software tonight to extract meta data from face book to see how many times party leaders names where mentioned. John key must resign with this blatant surveying of private meta data by a SOE.

    One more thing last night I did not see one document pertaining to be individuals specific private data, email, text, lots of hot air yes but hard evidence, no. The only private data I have seen is that hacked and stolen illegally and then published and distributed by the hard left, but that ok because the hard left no better and it was for the greater good, a left wing agenda. Preventining terrorism, criminal activity etc who all communicate though the public internet to hide their activities and communication is not. The spy agencies have no choice to trawl the internet is that is where these guys like ISIL are hiding and communicate covertly Time to get real my leftie friends, GCSB are not interested in your amazon account.

    • ianmac 29.1

      No concern about privacy Reddelusion? Why do you not use your name then?

    • Puddleglum 29.2

      I think you’ll find that the people who see conspiracies around every corner are John Key (it’s all a left wing smear/conspiracy – Hager, effigy burning, etc.) and Steven Joyce who said that the Eminem lawsuit was politically motivated:

      ” So good on them, but we’ll be contesting it pretty seriously. We don’t believe they’ve got any grounds at all and we suspect its politically motivated.”

      Paranoia is rampant on the right.

    • Dakta Green 29.3

      A Movie or NZ Politics as usual…?

      The movie opens on the wedding of Don Vito Corleone’s daughter, Connie. Don Corleone is a powerful man, and it was not without the use of violence that he achieved this position during the course of his life. The wedding scene gives a perfect setting of where and how the Don’s power extends; from the regular worker in a neighbourhood, to the immensely popular singer, to the friends in politics and right to the ruthless killer, Don Corleone has links to people ready to ask him favours and to pay him back. Some are trustworthy, some are not, but thanks to his intelligence and intuit the Don can almost always distinguish the two.

      Take two … Kiwi Godfather Synopsis

      Don Key gets some juicy info from his big SIS[ter] Sirvail about a rival gang leader and arranges to feed him to his attack dogs. Thanks to his Intelligence the target rival is paid back double. Movie ends with a beer and a barbie with King Key. But not before he takes over the Gold Coast Savings Bank. The G.C.S.B. will be a nice fit in the Corporation. Fit right into the key Team.

      When tools of state are used against political enemies movies are made.

      ‘From Hollow Men to Shallow Man’ Directed by Dim Kotcom, fresh from his Mega success, Moment of Truth, and coming to Theatres this Summer…

    • dv 29.4

      How do you feel about say Russia, Siria etc trawling through your data- That OK

  30. philj 30

    xox
    Redelusion. You have nothing to hide, right? We all have privacy, it’s part of being human. I don’t expect you to understand.

  31. Rich 31

    The docs that Key released yesterday, look to me to have two separate entities blacking out the content. Also although it looks like this has been done physically you can actually select what is below the masking even if it comes up as ^ or ‘ so I’m not absolutely sure that it has all been done physically. But even despite that I’m pretty sure the Americans would have good enough technology to unmask what is behind any physical blackout, and as these documents were previously marked ‘for New Zealand eyes only’ I would have a problem with it just at that level.

    Releasing these documents showed clearly how un-Prime Ministerial this guy is.

    Bronagh, who are you voting for?

  32. You are right philj i have nothing to hide but I do respect privacy ( unlike left wing and criminal hackers), however as per above there is a price to maintain our freedom and way of life, The trade off is the negliable impact on our privacy. Even here it’s only meta data, for your specific private data to be accessed a warrant is required. If this is the case you probably do have something to hide

    • McFlock 32.1

      whereas I see it as a major impact on our privacy for a negligible improvement on our security.

      Like the nudie scanners the yanks put in their airports.

  33. Also philj be interested in your response to my points rather than throwing up a strawman

  34. JanMeyer 34

    Psssst …. hasn’t anyone told Mr Gould about the official Standardista position on Guyon Espiner? 🙂

    • North 34.1

      Pssst…..your framing of The Standard is an irrelevant distraction JanMeyer. Your Linus’s Blanket. If you have an opinion about Espiner’s effort let’s hear it.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 34.2

      🙄

      You can tell what people do by the things they accuse others of. In this case we have a right winger smearing the left for an alleged “party line” that we all toe.

  35. mac1 35

    So, my megadata is stored with the G-man somewhere in G-storage waiting for the warrant to be issued to uncover it, and the contents of the e-mails behind the metadata are also retained as well?

    It occurred to me, how secure is the G-man’s G-storage facility? Can it be hacked, by someone other than a warranted intruder?

    Has anyone ever asked whether GCSB/SIS e-mail systems have been illegally accessed? We know companies and government files have been accessed by unauthorised users. Can the GCSB/SIS offer complete security?

  36. Local Kiwi 36

    Red – Delusion you are,

    God, the android is toxic.

    Who has caused this “troubled world” Your lot did.

    Trigger happy lot.

    You are all a bunch of war mongers always wanting to invade someone else’s country.

    I was in the army when this country needed me I would go.

    I was not required but my mates came home damaged for life, and it was a war called Vietnam.

    We never fixed that situation did we?

    You losers, it seems you lot have the need to always be reckless with others to send young to be slaughtered for what?

    Wars are fabricated mostly for financial interests not morals you creep.

    Go toxic somewhere else, just leave us in peace.

    Go join Nazi Bilderberg where you belong.

    Puddle gum is right
    Paranoia is rampant on the right.

  37. cricklewood 37

    Seems to me that the argument Key et al is going to run along lines of… it isnt surveillance until someone lays eyes on it. Until that time its just data collection etc…

    • Tracey 37.1

      actually the argument key is running is NZers are not being mass surveilled.

      play with weasel words as he does is only to convey that one simple mistruth.

      even some of the right wingers above agree Key is lying, they just don’t use those words.

  38. Craig Glen Eden 38

    One issue is the Telcos have been storing info for years, it in itself is data collection. Society/ Parliament has not had the debate about the issues of the individuals privacy rights around this very act. I think many people would not want their conversations recorded if they had the choice the thing is they dont have the choice.
    So the NZ Government/ GCSB/SIS may not be collecting the data but many other sources are. So if a Telco collects the data and its not released some people might not have a problem with that others I suspect will. This is why the likes of Ferguson is so cocky because they know they are not collecting mass data but they know who is and how to get it.

  39. Observer (Tokoroa) 39

    Hi Bryan

    Ordinary NZ people appear to feel quite happy about being comprehensively tracked. They feel that the data will never be used malignantly.

    Is comprehensive data collected from our industries and Businesses? Or is the Surveillance confined only to individuals?

    If so, does the Five Eye Sharing Club absolutely guarantee that information will not be made available to American, British and Australian competitors. ?

    What steps does our Prime Minister take to protect our Industry from the Five Eye spies?

  40. ESMA 40

    RNZ now prefixing the Moment of Truth with “The So Called”. Why not prefix everything John Key says with “The So Called Moment of Truth” every time he opens his slippery gob.

    I loved (sarcasm) RNZ non scientific interview with punters in various parts of the country (that soaked about 10mins), Just after the Nicky Hager interview.

    Then another no show with John Key, but the kindly played a long sound bite from his lordship from TV (the advantage of this is that he is not asked hard questions)

    Then we have Peter Sherwin interviewed without challenge that the poverty Gap is not increasing (however he only did a survey of 20 years). 3 minutes before the News. Is he the same guy that wrote the following? No mention of Education gap either.

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/tags/peter-sherwin
    •BUDGET 2014: Will the asset sale shortfall need topping up?
    Greens/Labour sabotage could cost MRP float $400m
    •The opposition’s electricity policy may have wiped a huge sum off the value of the Mighty River Power listing.
    •The partial sale of state-owned assets such as Mighty River Power by floating on the NZX is a “win win win”!
    •Mighty River Power share offer opens today

    Is there a weighting to RNZs reporting? Particularly between 7:00-8:00

    Did like Guyons comment though regarding GCSB and Joyce (how would you know the ingredients of the can, if your not allowed to open it)

  41. MrSmith 41

    I don’t think Sir Bruce is big John Key fan, so if asked the right questions he may gladly bury Key.

    Remember the spat around Key’s appointed of Fletcher.

    From the Herald:

    Sir Bruce said yesterday he took “great exception” to Mr Key’s comments.

    “He is smoking dope basically on that one, he really is, that’s an outrageous comment to make.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10876297

  42. Ross 42

    Bryan,

    I listened to the interview with Ferguson. Didn’t he make it clear that a warrant was required *before* any surveillance could take place? (Of course if that were the case, then any investigation into an individual wouldn’t capture any evidence that may have existed up until that point in time.)

    • alwyn 42.1

      I had another careful listen to the piece and he does claim that a warrant must be available and that they can only look, or listen to things that have happened AFTER they have the warrant.
      That was the purpose of him saying that Espiner had the way it worked wrong and then explained it again.
      He never says that they have access to material that comes from a time prior to their getting a warrant.
      You have to listen to it quite carefully though. I can see why Bryan Gould got it wrong.

      • McFlock 42.1.1

        🙄
        If a warrant only allows analysts to look at data gathered after the warrant is signed, then there’s no point in the mass storage of metadata in the first place. It can be gathered at any exchange or server from the time of targeted activation, just like standard law enforcement wiretaps.

      • lprent 42.1.2

        I just find that kind of argument is splitting hairs on a useless basis.

        A lot of the issue for me is that they are collecting the information at all *before* they have a warrant.

        Think about it. If that was the case for a phone tap or any other form of surveillance, then that would require a whole review by the courts before it could be used. But apparently not in the case of internet traffic, Skype calls, etc etc.

        Then there is the “chinese wall” defence that Ferguson put up. They don’t look before they get a warrant when they have the information already available? Pull the other one. I simply don’t believe them.

        The only real way to be sure that the spooks and their overseas “hands” aren’t looking for something to get a warrant over is to remove temptation. Don’t collect the information.

        It is damn hard to see what they have been doing with the information that is useful in the first place.

        • alwyn 42.1.2.1

          Where do you get evidence that “they are collecting the information at all *before* they have a warrant. ”
          As I read Ferguson he was denying that it was being collected, which is I think what Key claims also. What Ferguson seemed to be saying was that they collect material AFTER the warrant is issued but don’t look at anything that is not covered by the warrant.
          If for example they had a warrant to tap your landline and in doing so they recorded your daughter talking to her boyfriend this would have to be immediately deleted. (And it is only an example. I have no reason to think they suspect you, or that you have a daughter etc etc.)

  43. sable 43

    I don’t agree. I have read a number of pieces by this guy and I feel he comes across as strongly right leaning….

    In my opinion if you want objective investigative journalism in NZ visit a blog (obviously not old you know who) or look to independent journo’s who operate outside the machinery of the MSM in NZ.

  44. Scottie 44

    Maybe simple logic might also tell us when the Government tries to seek out information on persons of interest it may well not be there. That would be because there is no mass intelligence gathering of NZ citizens. I’m sure NZ and every country in the world do however pay attention to people it has identified as high risk. Maybe we should wait until some terrorist group blows up a bus or a nightclub here and then think about why we should have known about their activities?

    • McFlock 44.1

      maybe mass surveillance and close alignment with US intelligence services will increase the attractiveness of NZ as a target. Maybe we’re better off not relying on the same US intelligence services who failed to warn us of the only terrorist act committed by foreign agents in New Zealand, in 1985.

      Maybe the only real way to beat terrorists is not to be a paranoid chickenshit in the first place, rather than destroying every New Zealander’s freedom for fear of a few nutbars.

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