But the door was open…

Written By: - Date published: 5:00 am, August 15th, 2014 - 275 comments
Categories: accountability, brand key, corruption, David Farrar, democratic participation, election 2014, Ethics, john key, Politics, spin, Steven Joyce - Tags: , ,

If I forget to lock my front door before leaving the house is that an open invitation to come and help yourself to my worldly possessions? According to the Crimes Act: No. Walking into someone’s house and helping yourself to their possessions, even when they have left their front door open wide open, is Burglary.

If I invite you over for dinner is that an invitation to pocket something that belongs to me? According to the Crimes Act: No. Taking something that doesn’t belong to you, even if you have permission to be there, is Theft.

If I leave you as a guest in my living room while I go to the bathroom is that an invitation for you to plug a USB stick into my computer and copy documents that belong to me? According to the Crimes Act: No. Copying my documents without my permission is Data Theft.

These are all criminal offenses in New Zealand that carry penalties of imprisonment.

The intention of this post is to examine the similarities and differences between the hacking of Cameron Slater’s communications on the one hand, and the hacking of the Labour Party donor database on the other. There are two important issues to determine in both cases and I will cover them separately. The first is the legality of the hacking and the second is the ethics of using the resulting information regardless of whether the obtaining of the information in the first instance was unlawful.

In the case of John Key’s senior staffer Jason Ede and blogger Cameron Slater accessing the Labour Party donor database they are relying solely on a convincing legal defense. We have heard over the past couple of days John Key himself, his minister Stephen Joyce, and National Party blogger David Farrar all arguing that the hacking was morally justified on the sole basis that it was lawful. I haven’t heard any moral justification for their actions that goes beyond arguing the legalities. John Key himself has condoned and defended the hacking on this basis. It is my view that it is a mistake to confuse legal justification on the one hand with moral or ethical justification on the other. I’m sure we can all think of plenty of examples of quite lawful actions which are morally and ethically reprehensible.

In the case of Nicky Hager using stolen/hacked communications belonging to Cameron Slater he is relying solely on moral and ethical arguments to justify his position. Hager acknowledges that the material was obtained unlawfully (though not by his own hand). He claims however that the overwhelming public interest in the material is adequate justification. One only has to look at the many historical acts of civil disobedience and whistle blowing that have led to good outcomes to know that unlawfulness is not always immoral or unethical.

The only issue to be determined in the Labour Party donor database hacking is that of lawfulness. There has been no suggestion of public interest in the information obtained. The leaked communications between Cameron Slater, Jason Ede, and their other collaborators make their intentions quite clear: To create a political distraction and embarrassment for their political opponents. In the absence of any moral or ethical justification beyond a defense of lawfulness it is my view that if their legal justification does not stand up to scrutiny then the entire weight of their argument falls over. Further even if their actions are found to be lawful they do still have very serious questions to answer about their motivations.

The hacking of Cameron Slater’s communications was unlawful, pure and simple, and no one is arguing otherwise. Therefore the first issue to be determined is that of whether the public interest in the material really was substantial enough to ethically justify the breaking of the law. The second issue to be determined is whether once the deed was done the public interest was justification for a journalist, not involved in the unlawful act, publishing the material.

1. The lawfulness of hacking into the Labour Party donor database

In 2003 the New Zealand Parliament passed amendments to the Crimes Act adding in specific offenses to cover crimes involving computers. Here are some relevant sections that I believe apply in this case:

Section 249 Accessing computer system for dishonest purpose
(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, directly or indirectly, accesses any computer system and thereby, dishonestly or by deception, and without claim of right, –
(a) obtains any property, privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration; or
(b) causes loss to any other person
(2) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years who, directly or indirectly, accesses any computer system with intent, dishonestly or by deception, and without claim of right, –
(a) to obtain any property, privilege, service, pecuniary advantage, benefit, or valuable consideration; or
(b) to cause loss to any other person

dishonestly, in relation to an act or omission, means done or omitted without a belief that there was express or implied consent to, or authority for, the act or omission from a person entitled to give such consent or authority

claim of right, in relation to any act, means a belief at the time of the act in a proprietary or possessory right in property in relation to which the offence is alleged to have been committed, although that belief may be based on ignorance or mistake of fact or of any matter of law other than the enactment against which the offence is alleged to have been committed

The definitions of “dishonestly” and “claim of right” in the Crimes Act make it pretty clear that express authorisation is required and the “door left open” defense doesn’t work any better for data theft than any other property theft. I can’t see how they could possibly argue any “claim of right” to even access, let alone download and copy, the Labour Party donor database. Their actions well fit within the definitions of the offenses of both 249(1)(a), 249(1)(b), 249(2)(a) and 249(2)(b).

249(1)(a) and 249(2)(a) both apply as they obtained property and potentially other material advantages, arguably with the intent required to meet the more severe penalty listed for 249(2)(a).

249(1)(b) and 249(2)(b) also both apply at least insofar as their intention was to cause loss, both material (deterring people from donating to Labour – explicitly stated as an intention in their correspondence) and non-material (loss of votes). Whether they actually caused material or non-material loss is possibly questionable but there is no doubt that was their intent.

Section 252 Accessing computer system without authorisation
(1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years who intentionally accesses, directly or indirectly, any computer system without authorisation, knowing that he or she is not authorised to access that computer system.
(2) To avoid doubt, subsection(1) does not apply if a person who is authorised to access a computer system accesses that computer system for a purpose other than the one for which that person was given access.

Labour’s political opponents were absolutely not authorised to access the donor database. The donor database is quite arguably a separate computer system from their public website even if they are both hosted on the same server. To argue otherwise would be to argue that my authorisation to access my own materials on a shared hosting server gives me authorisation to help myself to anyone else’s material residing on the same server. The public website had no links to the donor database that could result in them being confused for the same computer system. One was clearly intended to be public, and the other clearly intended to be private and confidential.

These reasonably new sections of the Crimes Act covering crimes involving computers have not up until this point been tested to any great extent in the New Zealand courts so there is unfortunately very little case law available to aid in interpreting any limits on the scope of the offenses. One can however make some educated guesses about how the courts would interpret this case. Where there is any ambiguity in the scope of legislation the courts usually attempt to determine the intention of Parliament in passing the legislation by reading back through the Hansard record and select committee reports.

Reading back through Hansard to figure out what Parliament was thinking when they passed the Crimes Amendment Bill (No 6) in 2003 it quickly becomes clear that there was a pretty explicit intention in creating the new criminal offenses: To remedy a situation in which our laws had become outdated. To create a new hoard of crimes involving computers to fill the gaps created by new technologies and as closely as possible align the legal position of theft of data with the theft of other property. David Parker (Labour) said in the debate:

It became apparent that even if we were eventually able to pin anything, with any degree of proof, on the people attempting to steal the information, there was no effective remedy available to the New Zealand authorities because of a lacuna in the legislation, which would mean that nothing was being stolen. This legislation remedies that by introducing provisions that say that trade secrets stored in electronic form can be property for the purposes of theft.

This case easily fits well within the definitions of the offenses under sections 249 and 252 as I have outlined. There is no argument to be made that the scope of the offenses in question should be limited as they quite clearly fit with the intentions of Parliament in creating them. “The door was open” is simply not a credible legal defense – express authorisation is required whether you are entering someone’s home or accessing their computer system.

2. The public interest in Cameron Slater’s communications

The moral and ethical justification for obtaining and publishing Cameron Slater’s stolen communications relies entirely on whether it was in the public interest. There are three factors to be considered here:

  1. What is the definition of public interest and does the material published fit within it?
  2. If the material published was in the public interest, were there other, more lawful, means available to find the information?
  3. Does the good in publishing material of public interest outweigh any harm done in this particular situation?

Public interest is a very abstract concept and difficult to define without reference to a particular context. The context in which we are assessing public interest in this case is about government and political transparency and participation in the democratic process. It would be hard to argue that protecting the fundamentals of our democratic process is not in the public interest; that premise produces a useful starting point. Does Nicky Hager’s book serve to protect the fundamentals of our democratic process?

Fundamental to our democratic process are elections where the public gets to vote on who will represent us in Government for the next three years. In order for elections to have any meaning there must be transparency around what each political party and candidate stands for. The democratic process is undermined if voters are tricked or misled by false representations by either parties or candidates. That puts any evidence of false representations firmly in the public interest. The entire thesis of Nicky Hager’s book is a political party and its leader who have intentionally tricked the public into believing they do not engage in dirty politics whilst collaborating with third parties to do their dirty politics for them with plausible deniability.

It is quite clear that Nicky Hager has been very thoughtful and careful in his assessment of the public interest. There is no doubt that in thousands of emails Hager will have also found loads of other damaging, scandalous, embarrassing personal information. He has not published anything which is not in the public interest. All of the stories in the book are about exposing matters of public interest that were intended to be kept secret by those acting outside of the public interest.

Were there other, more lawful, means available to find the information?

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, most people inside the “political beltway” have long suspected links between John Key’s office and blogs like Whale Oil. Despite many people wishing they could prove it for a very long time no one until now has managed to uncover the evidence. In regards to the corporate PR stories in the book many of those really had gone under the radar (the anti-breastfeeding stuff in my post yesterday a key example) and even those that were obvious (like the Ports of Auckland union-busting) remained out of reach of the general public. I cannot see other realistic and lawful means of obtaining the information that was published in Dirty Politics.

What is the harm and does it outweigh any public interest good?

The book is embarrassing to those exposed carrying out activities they kept secret in the knowledge that the public would not favour them if the truth were ever to come out. There is no harm here to innocent parties and any harm to those exposed is due to their own unethical behaviour.

Unfortunately in this day and age if the material obtained had been given to any mainstream media journalist I don’t doubt for a second that the headlines being run would have related to the personal scandals rather than any material of real public interest. That the hacker in this case chose to give the material to Nicky Hager, a journalist renowned for his integrity and interest only in the stories of real importance, says a lot about their motivation.

While Nicky Hager has been fully transparent about the unlawfulness of the means of obtaining Cameron Slater’s communications his selection of only that material clearly falling within the scope of public interest makes a good case for the moral and ethical justification of its use. On the other hand no moral or ethical justification has even been put forth for us to refute in defense of one political party hacking the donor database of another. No claims of public interest in the material have been made. The Prime Minister himself has defended it solely on the basis of a merit less “but the door was open” defense to theft.

On a final note I am disappointed that I have felt the need to write this post. To me there are obvious distinguishing factors between the Cameron Slater communications hacking and the Labour Party donor database hacking. That I have to lay them out step-by-step says a lot about our so-called Fourth Estate. Do they no longer teach ethics and public interest in media and journalism studies?

275 comments on “But the door was open…”

  1. Tigger 1

    Great post, Rocky. Came here based on this article http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11309076 which contains this Keyism:
    “Mr Key suggested that even if Mr Ede had accessed the records, “of course it would be fine to go and do that” because they were unprotected.”

    He didn’t just ‘access’ the records. That would be him wandering into the open house and just standing there, creepy behaviour but not as bad as taking something from the house and giving it to someone else.

  2. mickysavage 2

    Good post Rocky. I agree with your comment that:

    “We have heard over the past couple of days John Key himself, his minister Stephen Joyce, and National Party blogger David Farrar all arguing that the hacking was morally justified on the sole basis that it was lawful. I haven’t heard any moral justification for their actions that goes beyond arguing the legalities. John Key himself has condoned and defended the hacking on this basis. It is my view that it is a mistake to confuse legal justification on the one hand with moral or ethical justification on the other.”

    The claim that the accessing of the site was legal is bunkum. Under the Crimes Act “access” in relation to a computer system is defined as “instruct, communicate with, store data in, receive data from, or otherwise make use of any of the resources of the computer system”.

    As you say section 252 makes it an offence for someone to “intentionally accesses, directly or indirectly, any computer system without authorisation, knowing that he or she is not authorised to access that computer system, or being reckless as to whether or not he or she is authorised to access that computer system.” Even if the other sections were not breached it seems abundantly clear that this section was.

    We have had the debate in the past but to me it has always been very clear. The site was crippled. The nats had a field day. Of course you are right that even if it was somehow not illegal the morality of their behaviour sucks.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Of course you are right that even if it was somehow not illegal the morality of their behaviour sucks.

      Oh, I think Rocky has conclusively proven that their actions were illegal. Now for Labour to do something about it.

    • Dumrse 2.2

      What sucks is the absolute stupidity of the Sysop’s leaving such an important back door wide open for anybody to take a look inside.

      • lprent 2.2.1

        I’d agree. However I’d also say that it is damn easy to do. I’d expect that almost everyone who has set up a apache site has managed to do it at some stage. Even if it was only in practice.

  3. It pains me to say it, but I don’t see unlawful activity here. My involvement with such things is more to do with copyright and licencing than with data privacy, but that involvement has taught me the basic principle that if you put files on a public-facing web server, you’re publishing them. For example, if I upload copyrighted material to my web site but don’t link to it, the copyright owner can nevertheless claim that I published their copyrighted material.

    Which means, in this case, the analogy isn’t so much leaving your door open and someone coming in and taking stuff, it’s more like putting confidential files in a public waiting area and figuring it’ll be OK because you hid them behind a pot plant. It won’t be OK, and you can hardly complain when people find the files and read them.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      What do you think about the morality of what they did? And why did Ede use dynamic IP addresses if they had nothing to hide?

      • cricklewood 3.1.1

        Morally abhorrent any decent person discovering it would have informed the party immediately. Certainly not downloaded / taken screen shots to use against a political party or donor. Obviously the pms office wouldn’t have wanted to get caught red handed looks and is terrible. Slater probably didn’t care…
        Guess its fair to say they will reap what they have sown now it is in the public arena rather than a suspicion or unprovable common knowledge as it was previously…

        • Bob 3.1.1.1

          “Morally abhorrent any decent person discovering it would have informed the party immediately” just like Nicky Hager did? The moral high ground is impossible to take on this even given Rocky’s great effort to do so.
          As Psycho Milt has stated, these were details ‘published’ on the Labour website, whether they were meant to be or not is an issue for Labour to sort out (although it doesn’t give you confidence in there ability to control a country when they can’t even lock down personal details on their website). Slaters emails wer hacked, i.e not published, this is illegal and the use of these illegally obtained documents is morally wrong and potentially illegal (Slater is no better with the Bloomfield case).

          Here is a similar situation: /this-is-going-to-be-big/ The big difference being this wasn’t on a public website (which is worse)
          My favourite comment:

          Colonial Viper8.1.1.2

          15 October 2012 at 11:06 am

          Its important to realise that this isn’t an IT problem. This is a massive failure of competence and leadership.

          National will try and spin this as a minor technical glitch.

          From what I can see, MSD left virtually every part of their internal networks completely open. Any polytech student who has a 1 year network admin course knows not to do that and how to prevent it.

          Was it morally right then?

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.2

          Morally abhorrent any decent person discovering it would have informed the party immediately.

          Yes, any decent person would have. Since they didn’t and they planned to use the data for unethical ends and that they obviously weren’t supposed to have access to that data we can conclude that the law was not, and never will be, on their side.

      • Psycho Milt 3.1.2

        Re the morality of what they did, you just have to compare it with Keith Ng’s response to finding confidential files publicly available on MFD servers to realise Ede and Slater are scum and that the Prime Minister is declaring himself scum-by-association in publicly backing Ede. I was just responding to the claim that what they did was unlawful – it doesn’t look like it was unlawful to me, but it’s instructive that “it wasn’t illegal” has now joined “it was within the rules” as a catchphrase of the Key government…

        • Berend de Boer 3.1.2.1

          Psychol: it wasn’t illegal” has now joined “it was within the rules” as a catchphrase of the Key government…

          I think that’s the most important point, same as mickysavage has claimed. It was not illegal. But yes, it was immoral. An important distinction. Woe the country where what is not illegal is determined to be moral.

      • Chris 3.1.3

        I’m on your side here, but I honestly can’t believe that Ede using dynamic IP addresses is anything other than him (like the rest of NZ) having no reason to purchase a static IP address.

        The IPV4 space is crowded so ISPs prefer to use dynamic ip addresses as it means they have to hold less addresses because they can cycle them. It’s not some 1337 hax0rz type shit, it’s just what every nz’er has. What that discussion really shows is agency, which is more troubling.

        • mickysavage 3.1.3.1

          There is an email in the book where Ede says “thank you for dynamic IP Addresses.”

          • Lanthanide 3.1.3.1.1

            Presumably he is not thanking any specific person, but saying something like “thank god for dynamic IP addresses”.

            That doesn’t mean he’s gone deliberately out of his way to acquire dynamic IP addresses (as Chris says, they are the default offering in NZ). It may mean that he has access to a service that he knows has a static IP address, and instead has deliberately chosen to use one which has dynamic IP addresses.

            But I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt in this case and just say that dynamic IP address, given that they’re the default, are not any proof of nefarious behaviour here.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1.3.1.1.1

              When you have a dynamic IP address you can use it to your advantage by turning your modem off and on so as to be allocated a new IP address ( from the same pool). Normally the IP address would last for a few days before it was refreshed and might not change even then.

              The Oily Orca sought to hit back at me at one stage by publishing the IP address of my comments on his blog. As my computer wasnt connected to a company ( static) network some of his commentators looked up the physical location using the usual methods and thought they pinned me down to a location in near Mt Eden Prison. Of course to my amusement, they didnt realise this was just the location of a Vodafone server farm

              • Lanthanide

                Whether the IP addresses are cycled rapidly or not is rather irrelevant, as your own example illustrates: dynamic IP addresses will geo-locate to server farms or ISPs, not people’s residences or businesses.

            • lurgee 3.1.3.1.1.2

              But I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt in this case and just say that dynamic IP address, given that they’re the default, are not any proof of nefarious behaviour here.

              If he was thanking God for dynamic IP addresses, he must have known he was up to know good with it. Otherwise, why the thanks?

              I don’t thank God for anything much when I’m putter about on the internet. But then, I’m not knowingly doing things I think may be illegal. If Ede was thanking God for the benefits of anoymity, he must have had some inkling that he was doing, or had done, something shady.

        • Berend de Boer 3.1.3.2

          The media doesn’t understand that Chris. No one does. ISP’s obviously record these things and they can turn up the actual account given any ip address in no time when the police sent then a warrant.

          But perhaps Jason was more referring to the reverse ip: for dynamic ip addresses that leads to nothing, for static it usually gives more interesting information like .nationalparty.org.nz.

    • lprent 3.2

      PM: doesn’t matter. Picking up stuff in a lobby would be theft.

      • Berend de Boer 3.2.1

        As has been said elsewhere: leaving stuff on a public server is more akin to finding stuff in a library.

        • mpledger 3.2.1.1

          But you can’t take stuff away from the library without authorisation i.e. through using a library card.

          • cricklewood 3.2.1.1.1

            But you can photocopy the pages you want in the library and leave with them… or take a picture… then put the book back on the shelf… Poor anology

            • lurgee 3.2.1.1.1.1

              I think photocopying a book would be a bit illegal. There’s rules about that sorta thing. Even schools are told they can only copy 10%, or something like that. And that’s an explicitly given exemption to the general rule. The default is that you aren’t to do it.

              So the attack on the analogy is also poor …

              • McFlock

                If the library had a secure room with authorised access only, but someone left the door to that open, and you knew you weren’t allowed in, then just being in there would be trespass.

                Whether you read, borrowed, copied or stole anything in there, the fact that ytopu were allowed in the main floor of the library does not mean that you were automatically allowed in the secure room. Yes, the person who left the door open would be in the shit, but you still walked bast the “authorised person’s only” sign.

                • younganddumb

                  Come on. You know that taking stuff is worse than looking.

                  Yes going in was wrong on National’s behalf, but the fact that emails were stolen from whale oil then used is far worse.

                  [lprent: Actually it isn’t. The intent revealed in the book was quite clear. Slater and Ede both copied the information and intended to use it maliciously. There is no difference to the hacker who accessed Slaters site. That constitutes the same crime. Read the Crimes Act (and probably our policy as well).

                  As a matter of simple interest in the degrees of hypocrisy on the right, do you apply the same logic to Cameron copying a hard drive stolen from Blomfield? ]

    • RJL 3.3

      No, there is no way that Slater et al accessing Labour’s data was legal.

      It might have been easy for Slater to access the data (which if so, is Labour’s fault). But just because something is easy doesn’t make it legal.

      Slater (and Ede) were not authorised to access that data. That is the sole test.

      Now, Slater and Ede could try to claim that due to the circumstances (easily accessible, etc) that they mistakenly assumed that they were authorised to access it. However, once they were aware of the content of the data, it would not be reasonable for them to continue to assume that. And their apparent conversations and subsequent conduct make it clear that they did not think they were authorised to access it.

    • I stand corrected – a VUW law professor thinks it probably was unlawful, which kind of trumps my ignorance-based assessment.

    • infused 3.5

      That’s exactly right and what I’ve been saying. Leaving the door open in this case is the wrong analogy.

      They (whoever) put documents on a ‘public’ web server.

      • weka 3.5.1

        by mistake.

        • Berend de Boer 3.5.1.1

          weka: by mistake

          Which is not a legal defence.

          • weka 3.5.1.1.1

            against what?

          • Draco T Bastard 3.5.1.1.2

            I think you’ll find that it is. People have, IIRC, been prosecuted for theft after walking in a door that had been left open on purpose and taking stuff. They hadn’t been invited in and they certainly hadn’t been invited to take stuff.

            • infused 3.5.1.1.2.1

              I’d love for this to be tested.

              It will fall over though, but putting those documents on a public web server, technically, kinda fucks any argument you have.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.6

      Which means, in this case, the analogy isn’t so much leaving your door open and someone coming in and taking stuff, it’s more like putting confidential files in a public waiting area and figuring it’ll be OK because you hid them behind a pot plant.

      Nope. The door accidentally left open applies perfectly – according to NZ law.

    • Foreign Waka 3.7

      Yep this is also the defense of those who take cars with keys in lock at petrol stations, open display goods in public areas such as shops and anything that is not bolted to the floor. Good one, every wrong doing has a mitigator – congrats.

  4. CnrJoe 4

    CANON – Canon Media Award-winning right-wing blogger Cameron “Whale Oil” Slater
    , I just feel the need to write that All The time now..

  5. Flippant 5

    The reference to leaving house open is incorrect when it comes to a web page that is unsecure. Email maybe, where a password is usually required to access…
    The unsecure webpage is more like leaving you laptop in public and expecting it to still be there days later.
    Sure, its morally wrong to take someone elses property but no illegal in that case and we know not to do it lest we lose all our stuf…

    • lprent 5.1

      You have a strange idea about what is criminal or not. Perhaps you should read the crimes act

    • tricledrown 5.2

      Flippants on fire I think you had better read Criminal Law just because you find something someone has lost if you Don’t hand it into the Police station you can be Charged with Theft!
      But deliberatly steeling something with intent i.e. like slater and the Deceased drivers mates they have both broken the Law .
      .i.e. John key using the SIS GSCB and the police to gain political advantage is also breaking the law!
      SlaterGate is bringing out some interesting arguments from under the veil of what’s good for the country!
      Brain Fade Key’s you can trust me I Know Every body on the list who is being spied on is coming back to bite him .
      And you Right Whingers can’t bear the the thought of him being outed!

    • Foreign Waka 5.3

      Yes, this mindset and support within is why NZ is becoming so quickly a country that is being avoided by all but the parasitic investors.

  6. AndrewE 6

    There is no equivalence between leaving your house door open and putting things on a website open to the public.

    You put things on a public website so that people can look. There was no hacking of the Labour website in this case. The house equivalent would be putting a big sign outside saying “come help yourself” and then leaving an open door.

    Whoever put the membership stuff in the public portion made a mistake. Accusing folks of hacking in this case is just wrong. There were no locks to be picked or avoided.

    • Berend de Boer 6.1

      Excellent argument Andrew. Ipso facto it was on a public webserver…

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Ahhh here come the march of the morally decadent.

        If National and it’s agents were moral agents, it would have informed the Labour Party that its systems were not secured, instead of pissing on the privacy rights of thousands of Labour Party supporters.

        But that was the point right?

        • Berend de Boer 6.1.1.1

          I agree it was immoral. But that’s not the point this post is making.

          • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1.1

            You’ve been denying the point that the post was making the entire time – and haven’t put forward an argument yet. And everything you’ve agreed with is wrong.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 6.1.2

        The intent to get the file list was to breach the public part of the website. This is why they passed the info among each other. Plus downloading the database is definitely taking something you are not entitled to.
        Its a pity the former typewriter salesman who started it all is out of the country and cant be ‘doorknocked’

    • mickysavage 6.2

      It was a crippled website. Really weird to think that a house that has been hit by an earthquake can be raided with legal and moral impunity.

    • Te Reo Putake 6.3

      Glad you’re not my defence lawyer, Andrew! The law around accessing computers (which Rocky partially covers in the OP) is clear. If you know you’re not supposed to have access but snoop anyway, you have committed a crime. If you disseminate what you find, knowing that you do not have right of access, for gain or to disadvantage another, then you commit a further offence.

      I think Slater has a similar defence to Hager (acting in the public interest, though his journalistic credentials are a lot vaguer than Hager’s). Ede has no defence. He knew it was wrong and laughed about how he was hiding his tracks. I think there is a very good chance Ede is going to be arrested. The question is whether PC Plod will wait until the election is over to feel his collar.

      • Berend de Boer 6.3.1

        It’s probably not as clear as you think. From a link posted in this thread:

        Businesses reliant on the security of their information must take special steps to protect it. While protections for confidential information are reasonably well understood, protections for electronic information are less well developed. Reliance on property rights will not suffice.

        A public webserver is not a lobby, and it’s not a house.

        • Te Reo Putake 6.3.1.1

          You miss the point. It’s not an argument about property rights. It’s a breach of the Crimes Act (well, 2 breaches to be precise). Knowingly going into a computer system without authorisation and/or disseminating the info is criminal behaviour. Ede’s email about hiding his tracks shows he had a guilty mind. That’s crucial to proving a charge. It’s the intent to harm (the use of the info) that will be at the heart of any case against Ede.

    • karol 6.4

      So, if a shopkeeper leaves their wallet on the counter of their shop for a few seconds, and someone steals it…. the thief hasn’t broken the ,law?

      • lonelyavenger 6.4.1

        If you someone says “may I have your wallet” and the shopkeeper responds “yes” then I’d hazard a guess that no law has been broken.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.5

      It wasn’t on a website. It was in a directory that required people to actually look for it.

  7. Berend de Boer 7

    Rocky: The public website had no links to the donor database that could result in them being confused for the same computer system.

    It seems you are unaware that the material was indexed by Google. If what whaleoil did was a crime, is the Labour Party going to sue Google as well? Labour didn’t sue in 2011 for a very good reason.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Interesting. The parallel here is the PM telling Slater how to craft correct searches via the OIA to get the dirt he wanted Slater to find. Without having already acquired information unethically, search an OIA (or Google search) would never have been successful. This was an unethical backwards/parallel reconstruction, in other words.

      • Bob 7.1.1

        According to Slater he was pressured to pull his OIA http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2014/08/two-biggest-lies-hagers-book/ not to put one in,
        “The parallel here is the PM telling Slater how to craft correct searches via the OIA to get the dirt he wanted Slater to find” You better watch what you are saying there Tat, that seems to be touching on slander, unless you have proof of the PM being involved with anything? Nicky Hager has made it clear he doesn’t.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          “According to Slater”??? Baawhhaaahahaha. Let John Key take court action then. I hear that there’s a line.

          • Bob 7.1.1.1.1

            That is a fairly unethical response from a man spouting on about ethics, with hypocrisy like that you should join the Labour Party….oh wait

    • tricledrown 7.2

      Bereft the boring Keys involvement with the SIS speeding up the release of politicly damaging files for the benefit of National needed to be exposed at any cost !
      The very man the prime minister who was a shoe in at the Elections anyway couldn’t be trusted could even trust his own abilities now from Hero to Zero!
      This shows Key will stoop lower than low.
      Now you are the latest in the line of dirty tricks brigade looking all clean and above board, coming on here to undermine democracy like Slater and Key you must be well down the Rank!

      • Bob 7.2.1

        “Keys involvement with the SIS speeding up the release of politicly damaging files for the benefit of National needed to be exposed at any cost !” See reply to CV above, that seems to be touching on slander, unless you have proof of the PM being involved with anything? Nicky Hager has made it clear he doesn’t.

        So many people claiming the moral high ground in their comments along the lines of this post and then revert to slander! Where is that moral line again?

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1

          Are you trying to deliberately shut discussion up with your “it might be slander” bullshit? Like I said above, if the man thinks he has a case, he can bring charges up and it can go to court. There’s going to be a lot of questions for him to answer, though.

          • Bob 7.2.1.1.1

            I am trying to point out that you cannot get on your high horse talking about morals and ethics while talking unsubstantiated slanderous bullshit. That is just playing ‘Dirty Politics’ and brings you down to the same level as Cameron Slater, an irony obviously completely lost on you.

    • Bob 7.3

      BdB – Using Google is morally wrong! Unless it holds information about National politicians, then it is freely available information which is fine to use without any moral issues.

      • Colonial Viper 7.3.1

        Bob, using google is not morally wrong, pissing on the privacy rights of thousands of Labour Party supporters instead of warning the sysop that the system was wrongly configured, that’s the part which is “morally wrong.”

        Not that I expect you to get that through your rather obvious spin and bullshit, of course.

        • Bob 7.3.1.1

          The Labour Party were the ones pissing on their supporters, just like you said here don’t try to spin this:

          This is going to be big


          Colonial Viper8.1.1.2

          15 October 2012 at 11:06 am

          Its important to realise that this isn’t an IT problem. This is a massive failure of competence and leadership.

          National will try and spin this as a minor technical glitch.

          From what I can see, MSD left virtually every part of their internal networks completely open. Any polytech student who has a 1 year network admin course knows not to do that and how to prevent it.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.4

      It seems you are unaware that the material was indexed by Google.

      [citation needed]

      • SHG 7.4.1

        Because the site was wide open with no restrictions it was all indexed by Google, including the donor lists and other files stored in the /backups directory. You could download those files directly from the Google cache without going anywhere near the labour.org.nz server.

        For a week or so the facepalmiest search on the Internet was

        https://www.google.com/search?&q=site%3Ahealthyhomeshealthykiwis.org.nz+password

        because then Google would show you every document on labour.org.nz that contained a password. One of the most cringeworthy results was the config file (with login credentials) for the internal SQL server. And because it was cached by Google all that stuff was still up and searchable and downloadable long after labour.org.nz got locked down.

        Cite? Well… it all worked when I did it.

        • McFlock 7.4.1.1

          I don’t recall that being what slater did in his instructional youtube video, however.
          He wasn’t googling, he was navigating the system directly.

          • SHG 7.4.1.1.1

            Yeah, I was just responding to Draco, who was searching for some sort of verification about the site being indexed by Google. I have no idea what Slater’s video showed.

  8. JohnD 8

    It’s like the people commenting have not read or understood Rocky’s post. Her point is not how accessible the material was but rather whether the person accessing it was authorised or thought they had authorisation to access it.

    This was not material accidentally published to the front page of a website, it was clearly not meant for public access or dissemination.

    As an aside this is often what “hacking” involves finding places where security does not exist and going in and taking material.

    If I was in the reception of an office building and found a dossier of confidential documents amongst the magazines it would be clear to me that despite them being amongst other reading material they were not meant for me to read. The case with Slater and Ede required even more work to find and access than this.

    Ede’s fear of being outed goes some way to proving that he did not believe he should be poking around in that material.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      “If I was in the reception of an office building and found a dossier of confidential documents amongst the magazines it would be clear to me that despite them being amongst other reading material they were not meant for me to read.”

      Yip. I’d like to see someone in a hospital find a bunch of patient files in the waiting area, and merrily pick them up and read them as if they were intended for public reading, like a stack of womens day magazines.

      Anyone who came across this Labour donor information knew that it was private information that was accidentally put onto the website. Therefore, by knowingly choosing to read it (beyond the initial identification of what it was), and further publish it, they broke the law.

      • Berend de Boer 8.1.1

        Lanthanide, the question is whether a public webserver is an office building or an hospital. I suspect courts will think it’s more like a library.

        • felix 8.1.1.1

          And there is no difference, legally or morally, whether you happened to find a dossier of obviously private information in an office, a hospital or a library or anywhere else.

          • Lanthanide 8.1.1.1.1

            Yip.

            So say I go to the library, and find a file of information that is clearly patient information from a nearby hospital.

            Berend’s strange logic seems to be, that because it is in a library, it’s ok to read through all of these details, and then also publish them or do whatever I want with them.

            But yet if I found the same file of patient information in a hospital waiting room, that would be illegal?

            • Berend de Boer 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Lanthanide: Berend’s strange logic

              If you had perused my comments here, you would seen I make no such claim. This post was about the legality, not the morality. Don’t confuse the two.

              If you find something in a library, I’m pretty sure you can make a good case that what you found there was for public consumption. Because if it wasn’t, it would be there right?

              The second legal issue is for those who should have secured that data. They really failed in a legal sense.

              I hope you are also arguing that because Nicky Hager had stolen emails, he did not have the right to publish confidential correspondence that was never intended to be public, 1. by the very fact that it was secured (but hacked), 2. Nicky knew it was stolen, 3. He used stolen information for private gain.

              Unlike hollow man where we had a whistle blower, this book is on far shakier ground legally speaking.

              • felix

                If you find something in a library, I’m pretty sure you can make a good case that what you found there was for public consumption. Because if it wasn’t, it would be there right?

                No. Not even slightly. Not at all.

                The analogy is finding obviously private information in a public place.

                Your logic falls at the first hurdle.

                This post was about the legality, not the morality.

                Did you even bother to read the post, Bellend?

                • Lanthanide

                  It is of course about finding data that can be reasonably assumed to be private, that happens to be in a public place.

                  Patient records from a hospital should be reasonably assumed to be private, because of their nature.

                  Donor records for labour party members should be reasonably assumed to be private, because of their nature.

                  Now, if the Labour party had directly linked to the records on their site, and said “hey everyone, look here at this”, then you would have a point. But they did not do such a thing – what they did is the equivalent of leaving a file folder on a table on a library. But there was no invitation for people to look at it, and anyone who opened the file folder, saw what the contents was, would think “this is private information that has been accidentally left here, I shouldn’t read it any further and should report it to the librarians”.

                  • mpledger

                    It’s more like a precious book being in a glass case in the library when the glass case has been unintentionally left unlocked. The library had the book in a public place, obviously didn’t want the public to have access to it but didn’t correctly secure it.

                    • Lanthanide

                      No, the analogy of being left on a library table is more apt.

                      The Labour party did not deliberately store this information on a public-facing webserver, which is what you are suggesting by saying it was in a glass case.

                    • weka

                      a library table behind the librarian’s desk.

              • weka

                “I hope you are also arguing that because Nicky Hager had stolen emails, he did not have the right to publish confidential correspondence that was never intended to be public”

                Yes he did. Public interest in this case overrides privacy rights. Privacy rights are not absolute, which I’m sure you know given you have cited the Privacy Act today.

                I’m curious as to what you think about the Blomfield case.

                • Berend de Boer

                  A list of people who donate to the Labour Party is not in the public interest?

                  But stolen private correspondence used for private gains is in the public interest?

                  • Lanthanide

                    “A list of people who donate to the Labour Party is not in the public interest?”

                    Generally, no.

                    If there was a particular individual who made a big deal about hating the Labour party, and how despicable they were, and it was then discovered that they donated sizeable amounts of money (minor amounts wouldn’t be a big deal), that could be in the public interest.

                    But the names and addresses of everyday NZers who have no public profile is not.

                    Slater, Collins and other figures do have very high public profiles, and the things discussed in the correspondence does have public interest. Note that Hager did not publish personal private information about Slater which he said he also had in the correspondence, because it was not in the public interest.

                  • felix

                    “A list of people who donate to the Labour Party is not in the public interest?”

                    No. Why would it be? The law specifies donations of certain amounts are made public, apart from that there is no public interest except as Lanth describes.

                    “But stolen private correspondence used for private gains is in the public interest?”

                    You need to rewrite that sentence so it means something. No-one is arguing that there is public interest in Slater/Ede/Key because the book is for sale.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    A list of people who donate to the Labour Party is not in the public interest?

                    It’s of great interest to the Right Wing, and their well oiled, whale oiled smear and black listing machinery.

              • wtl

                If you find something in a library, I’m pretty sure you can make a good case that what you found there was for public consumption. Because if it wasn’t, it would be there right?

                No, because you can read the information and see what it is. Once you read it, it should be obvious that it is private information and you know that it shouldn’t really be in the library. The correct thing to do is then turn the information over to the appropriate authorities. You could report the fact that you found this information to the press so they could make a report about bla-and-bla being careless in handling private information.

                If used that information for private gain, e.g. sold the information, then it would be illegal. Of course, if you discover something in the information that is of public interest, then you would have a defence for publishing or revealing that particular piece of information.

                • Berend de Boer

                  wtl: No, because you can read the information and see what it is.

                  I think you are arguing from a moral point of view (I agree with that), but the legal point of view may well be very different (and I think it is).

                  • felix

                    You’re wrong.

                    As detailed in the post, if you know it’s meant to be private and you know it’s not for you, it’s illegal.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I think that this exchange is revealing a heck of a lot about Berend’s attitudes to security, information confidentiality, and privacy ethics.

                    • weka

                      not to mention the relative priority of things.

  9. Berend de Boer 9

    Rocky: It is quite clear that Nicky Hager has been very thoughtful and careful in his assessment of the public interest.

    Not true. Just one example: in his books he repeats an allegation that Hon. Peter Dunne receives money from the tobacco industry without declaring it. What’s the public interest in that? There is no proof. All we can rely on is that he 1. he correctly has read stolen emails, 2. take his word this was even in the emails. And what was in these emails? An attempt by whaleoil to use this tactic to take out Peter Dunne. That’s all!! There was no conceivably public interest to put this in the book. He has come out defending this, but this is just an example of the dirty tactics employed by Nicky: just put it out there, and the media will report on it. One person puts dirty unproven allegations on his blog, the other in a book.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Oh don’t be an asshole.

      Peter Dunne taking money from the Tobacco industry then issuing pro-Tobacco statements is knowledge which is very much in the public interest.

      Knowledge of this coming out may not be in Peter Dunne’s interest, but he’s a big lad, he doesn’t need you to defend him – if he can deliver any facts contrary to these allegations.

      • Berend de Boer 9.1.1

        Colonial Viper: if he can deliver any facts contrary to these allegations.

        Guilty until you can prove the contrary. Wasn’t that one of Labour’s policies?

        • felix 9.1.1.1

          Oh bullshit. An allegation has been made, and Dunne can refute it any time he likes.

          You seem a bit desperate to defend Ede and Slater. Why?

          • Berend de Boer 9.1.1.1.1

            felix: An allegation has been made, and Dunne can refute it any time he likes.

            That’s really the world you want to live in?

            • Lanthanide 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Um, that actually is the world we live in?

              Dunne hasn’t been convicted of anything. An allegation has been made. That’s all.

              Just like when an allegation was made that Labour had received thousands of dollars in donations from Donghua Liu, which turned out to all be crap in the end.

              • felix

                I find it difficult to interpret Bellend’s bizarre question as anything other than a veiled threat.

                Can’t say I like it much either.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Berend is just a defender of the principles of law and order. Or is that protecting the powerful and the establishment from the masses, etc.

                  Careerist lick spittles, they always multiply.

            • felix 9.1.1.1.1.2

              Gee Bellend, that’s the fastest development of a moral compass from thin air I’ve ever seen.

  10. weka 10

    Was the door open? I think the analogy needs explaining. I was of the impression that a certain level of technical expertise was needed that most people wouldn’t have, so it’s more like climbing through an open window but only if you are physically capable of shimmying up the drainpipe first.

    • Berend de Boer 10.1

      weka, it was indexed by Google. It was stored in the Google cache. You didn’t even have to retrieve it from the Labour Party public web servers.

      • weka 10.1.1

        Can you explain that a bit more? The credit card details of Labour supporters were on part of the Labour party website, google indexed and cached them because it wasn’t secure, and then those details turned up in a google search? What kind of keywords would have been needed for the search?

        • Berend de Boer 10.1.1.1

          I can be wrong (only had a quick look), but I think it was sufficient to simply ask Google to list all urls stored on the healthyhomeshealthykiwis.org.nz site (and other sites).

          So no specific keyword was needed. Simply ask Google: what urls do you have cached for this site?

          • weka 10.1.1.1.1

            Ok, so you are arguing that the Labour party left the website public, but you don’t actually know how it was done? You appear to be a geek, so what are you basing your opinions on if not technical know-how of what actually happened?

            • Berend de Boer 10.1.1.1.1.1

              At that time whaleoil extensively documented how/where the information was accessed with relevant links to the Google caches (now expired).

              • weka

                Whaleoil is not a reliable source of information on this (or anything). So can I now take it that despite you having technical expertise, your opinion is based on the blog of a known liar and manipulator but you still don’t know what actually happened?

                • SHG

                  Technically I’m restricted from posting here, I think until after the election, but this one is on-point so hopefully the moderators will let it through and if they do I thank them for their courtesy.

                  Discussion here at TS of the technical ins-and-outs of how the Labour webserver was publishing info to the world took place at the time back in June 2011, mainly in this thread:

                  Blown up in National’s faces

                  There’s a lot of info there that would otherwise need to be copied and pasted into this thread, so go and read if you’re actually interested.

                  What the Labour server administrator appeared to have done was make a simple mistake involving multiple domain names being served off the same running instance of the apache webserver, and at least one of them (healthyhomeshealthykiwis.org.nz) was set up to publish the contents of the server to the world. At the same time someone had unwisely used that server as a backup file location for a repository of confidential files, so they too were being published to the world. All that information was duly picked up by the Google search engine as it indexed the contents of the Internet, so (for example) one could just say (as Berend de Boer commented above)

                  “Google, list for me all the files that are marked as viewable by the public at the server healthyhomeshealthykiwis.org.nz”

                  …and you could browse through them to your heart’s content.

                  More specifically you could say

                  “Google, list for me all the files that match the following conditions: marked as viewable by the public AND contain the word ‘donors’ at the server healthyhomeshealthykiwis.org.nz”

                  …and Google would comply.

                  And, since Google makes its own copy of anything it indexes unless told otherwise, you could very specifically say

                  “Google, list for me all the files that match the following conditions: marked as viewable by the public AND contain the word ‘donors’ AND are of the type ‘Excel spreadsheet’ AND were indexed on the server healthyhomeshealthykiwis.org.nz AND have a duplicate copy archived within the Google search engine”

                  …and Google would comply. Then you could click on whichever spreadsheet took your fancy and download it from Google. Note: FROM GOOGLE.

                  • weka

                    How does one talk to google exactly?

                  • Francis

                    The law makes no distinction about where the information was obtained – only whether it would be considered private. So regardless of whether it was obtained via Google or the website itself, if the person who obtained the information clearly knew it wasn’t intended for the general public, they would be in breach of the law if they used it for their own gain.

  11. RedBaronCV 11

    So Jason Ede ( our own little Andy Coulson perhaps?) could be leaving the 9th floor anytime soon with some blue company perhaps? Just who was Jason working for and who was supervising him if JK denies the honour. oh to be at NAct headquarters.

    • bad politics 11.1

      Cunliffe during his excellent monologue on Radio Live today said he had some staffer try & ring Ede yesterday & the phone call went through the parliament switchboard.

  12. weka 12

    For the people arguing the open door allows access, does that mean that the MSD’s mistake trumps privacy law? Did the people on Labour’s database lose their privacy rights too?

  13. karol 13

    Excellent post, Rocky. Explains the issues, law and ethics very clearly.

  14. Anita 14

    It is worth reading this about the fact NZ courts are not treating digital data as property.

  15. tsmithfield 15

    I think the correct analogy in this situation is to view the internet as if it were a library. People come in and browse wherever they are able to go. There is only an issue of illegality if people break through an area that has been locked or prohibited from entry. If Labour hadn’t locked up the areas they wanted to keep private, I can’t see any issue with people browsing.

    • weka 15.1

      So you are ok with anyone accessing, copying and using for their own purposes the personal data of CYFS clients held by the MSD that Keith Ng was able to find?

      • Berend de Boer 15.1.1

        weka: So you are ok with anyone accessing,

        Seems the MSD was ok with it, given they didn’t secure it…

        • weka 15.1.1.1

          So if pay a locksmith to put a lock on my door, and they don’t do it properly, that means I’m ok with anyone coming into my house even if I don’t know that the lock is not working properly?

          The MSD were patently not ok with it, because once the access was brought to their attention it was immediately fixed. Futher, irrespective of the MSD view, the people’s whose information they had collected and were holding still have rights under the law. So my question still stands.

          • Berend de Boer 15.1.1.1.1

            My sympathy is definitely not with businesses who take short cuts in securing their information.

            • weka 15.1.1.1.1.1

              Obviously. But the MSD is not a business, neither is the Labour party. And my question is about the rights of the people whose information is being stored, not the people who are storing it.

              • Berend de Boer

                Those people should have sued MSD. The way to deal with this is not to prosecute the whistleblower. MSD had clear statutory duties to secure their client’s private data.

                • weka

                  “The way to deal with this is not to prosecute the whistleblower”

                  Oh, I completely agree, which is why all the focus on Hager using the emails is bullshit.

                  “Those people should have sued MSD.”

                  What, children in foster care? Seriously?

                  Irrespective of that, the issue is still whether you, and tsmithfield believe that if someone fails in their statuatory obligations to protect data that the people whose data it is should lose their rights and that anyone who accesses the data can do what they want with it.

                  • Berend de Boer

                    weka: whether you believe that if someone fails in their statuatory obligations to protect data that the people whose data it is should lose their rights and that anyone who accesses the data can do what they want with it.

                    I’ll answer you if you can answer this question for me: whaleoil failed in keeping his email secure (mind you, he had it secured), does that give Nicky Hager the right to publish details and gossip about everyone mentioned in those details? Have they lost their rights?

                    • weka

                      No, it doesn’t, and no they haven’t. Can you please answer my question now?

                    • Tracey

                      You need to include public interest concepts into this or you are leaving out an important aspect.

                    • Murray Olsen

                      Nicky Hager made it quite clear that there was a lot of personal stuff in the emails that he would not publish. He has standards. The Seaslug army don’t.

                      By the way, your arguments about Labour not caring about the security of their donor list reminds me a lot of people saying women who wear miniskirts at night deserve to be raped.

                  • Berend de Boer

                    I agree with you: people have not lost their rights, and those who accessed that data cannot do with it what they’d like.

                    • weka

                      So tsmithfield’s analogy is incorrect.

                      Edit: as is your using it elsewhere in this thread (the analogy of the library).

                    • tsmithfield

                      My analogy is still correct. If I am in the library and I find that someone has left a stack of private letters lying around by accident, I don’t have the right to take them and publish them.

                    • weka

                      That’s different to what you said originally,

                      I think the correct analogy in this situation is to view the internet as if it were a library. People come in and browse wherever they are able to go. There is only an issue of illegality if people break through an area that has been locked or prohibited from entry. If Labour hadn’t locked up the areas they wanted to keep private, I can’t see any issue with people browsing.

                      There you say that if the access is freely available to the public, then people can read the information (and presumably use their knowledge of that information). Now you are saying that some information is private irrespective of whether it is in the public domain or not.

              • Tracey

                See the case of Brambles in australia and citibank v blomkampf and white for a discussion of use of private data.

                A disk of client information, legally obtained, could not be published because the clients never gave permission for their data to go public.

                Labour party donors and members have to have given permission for their stuff to be publicly released, otherwise it cannot be used.

    • unsol 15.2

      Yep, good analogy except of course how much of the information browsed was public information? And if private information was accessed how much of it was used by Slater as an attempt to score points?

      Just had a look at Whale oil – he even posted a video on You Tube boasting about how he accessed the info!

      The problem is he accessed the parts of website that contained credit card info.

      There is no way that Labour would have ever intended for this kind of info to be made public.

      So I reckon while good, your analogy falls apart when this is taken into account & that Rocky’s analogy of the opportunistic burglar taking stuff because a door was left open fits a lot better.

    • David 15.3

      If we are going to have a go at analogies, and websites non-public information is free to publish publicly when it contains sensitive material, have you ever seen that reference section at the library? You know with all that potentially sensitive information in it.

      • unsol 15.3.1

        Or go a step further, if the library is a free for all then doesn’t that mean we can all go onto the library staffer’s computers if they leave their desks unattended & computers unlocked & copy the info for our own benefit?

        • David 15.3.1.1

          Hell, skip the library altogether. Why don’t we all just walk in the Beehive and grab any documents not locked away securely?

          • unsol 15.3.1.1.1

            OMG we totally should, I mean it’s not like we’d be doing anything wrong! Oh hang on, that’s right, it’s one rule for the guttersnipes born with a silverspoon in their mouth but entirely another for the rest of us! 😉

  16. unsol 16

    I saw someone on Kiwiblog yesterday try to defend Slater et al’s access to Labour’s documents as being the same as if someone had left a couch on the side of the road & then complained when it was taken. Ridiculous.

    This person seems to be unfamiliar with the Crimes Act as even if you say, see stuff left outside the Salvation Army you cannot legally take it as it is deemed to be a gift therefore the property of the Sallies. How do I know this? I left a whole heap of stuff for the Sallies as knew they would be round to check within the next hour & some little scrote had the audacity to take it. Luckily like most thieves he was dumb enough to try & sell it on Trade Me so I managed to track him down & he got charged with theft (amongst many other things as tends to be the case with such people).

    Further & more importantly the Labour party didn’t deliberately leave their website wide open for the world to see, they didn’t put up a sign saying ‘here you go, a free for all, have a nose & take what you want’ so unfortunately for Slater this has more in common with an opportunistic burglar stealing something from an unlocked house than it does with taking junk left on the side of the road.

    The big question is why didn’t Labour pursue this earlier?

    As for the hacking of Cameron’s blog, Facebook & Gmail – this was illegal as is the publication of those emails.

    As far as I am concerned they should ALL be charged – someone needs to take the higher ground as illegally accessing and/or taking private information without someone’s specific permission & using it to your own advantage shouldn’t be OK with anyone ever.

    That said sunlight is the best disinfectant (as Slater often loves to say!) so it is good to see the sun shining so brightly on him to the point that no one can deny he is truly an awful person whose convictions last about as long as it takes for the next cheque to come in the post. As someone who was completely duped by what I thought was his sincere convictions on some issues (until he picked on a 10 year old boy last year – called him Fat, crap & dumb & claimed just because the boy said himself he felt fat & crap that it was OK to call him dumb), I am hopefully that this will be the start of people finally realising he is nothing more than an uneducated, foul-mouthed, morally repugnant, bottom-feeding guttersnipe.

    • Berend de Boer 16.1

      unsol: Further & more importantly the Labour party didn’t deliberately leave their website wide open for the world to see,

      Yes they did. It was indexed by Google.

      • unsol 16.1.1

        @ Berend, you are missing the point, but I will play. OK, so even if they deliberately left their door unlocked or even invited Slater in for tea the law still doesn’t say this gives the intruder or guest the right to take something does it? Or is it that it is just no OK for someone to walk in & take your TV, but it is OK for Slater to take confidential Labour party info? I will never be a Labour voter, but that doesn’t mean I can’t see the issue for what it is – screaming hypocrisy on the part of Slater & possibly the Nats (like I said yesterday I have my doubts as to how far this reaches – my guess it just extends to Collins & a few lackeys including Lusk as I am not convinced Key & Collins are super tight. Farrar appears to be too naive/idealistic to be that involved).

        • Berend de Boer 16.1.1.1

          I think what you are trying to ask if it was moral to take that information. No. He should have informed the Labour Party. But I really have very little sympathy for people who leave confidential stuff out in the open. They really failed in their moral obligation. Because that’s what we really should talk about: the Labour Party should have treated their information as they donor would have expected.

          What whaleoil did is minor compared to their moral failings.

          • unsol 16.1.1.1.1

            Berend can you please direct me to the sites that specifically show Labour saying they were OK for the donor credit card & personal info being publicly accessed?

            I can’t see anywhere they did say this?

            Which means that they made a mistake as may have invited people into their home, but not into their bedrooms with free access to all their drawers……

            • Berend de Boer 16.1.1.1.1.1

              unsol, I will point you to where Labour said it was OK that their data was publicly accessible, if you can point me to the section in the privacy act where it says that if you simply do not publish a statement to the effect that data can be accessed by anyone, you have fulfilled your legal obligations regarding the requirements of the Privacy Act.

              • unsol

                Berend it doesn’t work that way – onus probandi, burden of proof rests with you.

              • unsol

                Further it isn’t just about access – Slater copied the info which by Rocky’s definition means he broke the law as it was theft of data so, ignoring the credit card/donor stuff, even if Slater technically had permission to access the labour party sites, he did not access them for the intended purpose.

                How many is that? 5-0? We can play this all day, but there is no defending the indefensible.

      • weka 16.1.2

        “Yes they did. It was indexed by Google.”

        Citation for Labour doing this deliberately please.

        • Berend de Boer 16.1.2.1

          Ever heard of the Privacy Act? It does not recognise “organisation made a mistake they sincerely regret.”

          • weka 16.1.2.1.1

            I’m not sure that is exactly true about the Privacy Act, but that in no way answers my question. Did you not understand it?

            • Berend de Boer 16.1.2.1.1.1

              It does. The simple fact that the data was indexes by Google indicates it was publicly accessible. And I think you can make the case that if your data can be indexed by Google, you intended to have it publicly accessible. Because there is no other intend we use on the internet: if you don’t forbid indexing it, you intend to index it.

              • weka

                If that’s true, it still doesn’t prove that the Labour party intended for the credit card details of its supporters to be publicly accessible eg it could have been the mistake of the person managing the technical side of the website.

                Do you have any proof that the NZ Labour party intended for that information to be publicly available?

                • Berend de Boer

                  According to this article there was no credit card data:

                  The database included details of several hundred donors but Ms Coatsworth said no credit card details were held on the site.

                  • weka

                    fair enough, you can then easily substitute “donor details” in all of my relevant comments.

                    Can you please answer my question? Do you have proof that the NZ Labour Party intended for that information to be publicly available?

                    • Gosman

                      Why didn’t Labour sue Cameron Slater or at least report him to the Police if what he had done was illegal? He was quite open about being able to access their website. There was none of this anonymous hackers nonsense that Hager uses as a defence.

                    • lprent []

                      Why didn’t Labour … report him to the Police if what he had done was illegal?

                      Simple. At the time he was asserting that he wasn’t using it for any neferious intent.

                      The emails make it quite clear that he was lying about that. His intent was nefarious. That means legally that mens actus now has a mens rea and the police would now be able to make a charge stick.

                      He is toast. (and perhaps you should learn some law sometime)

                    • Enough is Enough

                      246 Receiving

                      (1) Every one is guilty of receiving who receives any property stolen or obtained by any other imprisonable offence, knowing that property to have been stolen or so obtained, or being reckless as to whether or not the property had been stolen or so obtained.

                      (2) For the purposes of this section, property that was obtained by any act committed outside New Zealand that, if it had been committed in New Zealand, would have constituted an imprisonable offence is, subject to subsection (5), to be regarded as having been obtained by an imprisonable offence.

                      (3) The act of receiving any property stolen or obtained by any other imprisonable offence is complete as soon as the offender has, either exclusively or jointly with the thief or any other person, possession of, or control over, the property or helps in concealing or disposing of the property.

                      (4) If—

                      (a) any property stolen or obtained by any other imprisonable offence has been returned to the owner; or

                      (b) legal title to any such property has been acquired by any person,—

                      a subsequent receiving of it is not an offence, even though the receiver may know that the property had previously been stolen or obtained by any other imprisonable offence.

                      (5) If a person is charged with an offence under this section and the property was obtained by an act committed outside New Zealand, it is to be presumed, unless the person charged puts the matter at issue, that the doing of the act by which the property was obtained was an offence under the law of the place where the act was done

                    • Gosman

                      He could still have been reported to the Police regardless of his public position. It would have been up to the Police to make the call whether he was going to use it for nefarious purposes or not, Regardless even if you are correct about his current legal position I have yet to see Labour lay a complaint to the Police about it. We have The Greens doing all sorts of stuff around this (curiously not on getting the Police involved on this though) but not Labour.

                    • weka

                      🙄

                      So Labour get a legal opinion saying that Slater hasn’t done anything wrong unless he uses the information nefariously, and you still think that they should report him to the police. Why exactly? So that they can get negative media attention?

                  • unsol

                    She may have said that but Slater admitted many times on his blog he accessed them and made a You Tube video about how he did it.

                    • Tracey

                      Slater lied. But apparently that still puts him on higher moral ground than labour, in berends mind anyway

                  • Tracey

                    So slater lied?

          • unsol 16.1.2.1.2

            Maybe not, but the Crimes Act recognises data theft (access may be OK, copying without express permission is not) & accessing information for a purpose other than what was intended…..

      • mpledger 16.1.3

        That wasn’t an intention that was ignorance. Google indexed it because it’s robots assume everything should be indexed unless requested otherwise by a specific command – the robots can’t tell if an unsecured file is unsecured by intent or ignorance.

        • Tracey 16.1.3.1

          Exactly. Google robot indexing isnt authorisation. Only the people, the donors and members could legal authorise the use of their info.

  17. Cancerman 17

    Does anyone know why Labour didn’t pursue a prosecution back at the time? This may reflect the legality of it. I’m assuming Labour would have taken a case at the time if they could have.

    • ianmac 17.1

      It is not until now that the identity of the hackers of the Labour Party site have been identified in order to focus the charges.
      Incidentally my adult son found a $20 note on the footpath and handed it in to the Police. (They were stunned.) After some time they gave it to him as it was unclaimed. The contents of the Labour Party site were like the $20.
      I believe that to take home a pencil from work is technically theft.

      • BM 17.1.1

        What a load of bullshit.

        Slater even put up a you tube video showing the process and how easy it was.

      • Gosman 17.1.2

        Slater admitted he did it. There was no dilemma over who provided him the data. He did it himself.

        • felix 17.1.2.1

          He claimed he did it himself. He’s probably going to regret that.

        • Tracey 17.1.2.2

          And he wouldnt lie… Yet key and others are essentially saying slater was fantasising about his links to them and others.

      • cancerman 17.1.3

        Whaleoil told everyone he did it back at the time. If they wanted to prosecute they could have done it then. Thats why I assume there is a reason legally that they didn’t.

  18. Gosman 18

    There is one other difference. I believe Cameron Slater admitted he went in to the Labour Party website and then blogged about how it was unsecured. The information Hager based his book on was hacked and not just accessed randomly.

    • Berend de Boer 18.1

      Yes, what Hager based his book on was hacking in the true sense of the word. It’s very regrettable people are using the word hacking also for cases where you type in a url and get stuff that is not secured and some people don’t want you to see it.

      And it seems clear Hager also based his book on information stolen from Curia premises (chapter 9, footnote 17-21, pages 156-157).

      • felix 18.1.1

        How can it be stolen?

        According to you, if he is able to access it then it’s all fair game.

        • Berend de Boer 18.1.1.1

          If you don’t believe that “if he is able to access it then it’s all fair game”, I assume you sincerely regretted the publication of Nicky’s book, and have begged him not to release it?

          • felix 18.1.1.1.1

            Of course not. It is ethically justifiable to publish the information.

            In Slater/Ede/Key’s case, no such justification exists.

        • Gosman 18.1.1.2

          Using the example of Facebook might help explain the difference.

          If I post some pictures on my Facebook page that I was only meaning for certain of my close friends but I fail to set my privacy settings correctly so everybody can see them then when someone does view them they are not hacking my Facebook page. If on the other hand I do set my privacy settings correctly and someone accesses my account directly to get the photos then that is hacking.

          • felix 18.1.1.2.1

            Your legal opinions are fascinating, but only from a psychological point of view.

            1. The legislation disagrees, as set out in the post you didn’t read.
            2. In your analogy, Slater/Ede/Key KNEW your pics were meant to be set to private, but they copied them all so they could sexually harass their ex-girlfriends.
          • Tracey 18.1.1.2.2

            No. The analogy is your friends agree to give you their photos but not for public use, you hit the wrong button. Anyone who accesses and uses them needs permission from your friends to use them and not you pudgy fingered person.

  19. tricledrown 19

    The right wing bullies running an orchestrated defend and attack campaign today!
    Weren’t you guys banned under other pseudonyms for running the same attack lines!
    The only chance you have of stopping Nicky Hager of releasing more damning emails is to stop this orchestrated bullying and admit you have been trying to usurp democracy!
    Cameron Slaters attacks on the deceased motorist on the West Coast was what sparked the retaliation Mates of the Deceased driver vowed they would bring Slater Down at any cost now they have done so you guys are up shit creek and still trying to peddle your orchestrated lies and bullying!
    The Reason labour have not prosecuted is their is nothing to hide on their website for if their was Slater would have it all out in the Open as he is an a attention seeking Narcissistic bully twice Convicted!

  20. unsol 20

    Seems the crucial point is being missed – the real concern with Slater vs the Labour party websites is that he accessed credit card info & personal contact info that Labour would never have intended to make public. Slater may not have published this info, but nonetheless he still used it for personal gain (blog ratings/hits against the Labour party).

    • Berend de Boer 20.1

      May I point out that Slater had never intended for his emails to go public? And that Nicky Hager nonetheless has used this for personal gain (selling his book/hits against the National Party)?

      • tricledrown 20.1.1

        Bereft the borer anyone that claims that as the head of the SIS and GSCB says you can trust him as their are only a few people that are being spied on at last count five was Keys words ,
        Then uses those spying agencies for his own political gain needs to be outed otherwise democracy doesn’t mean jack ! that may be alright in South Africa but not New Zealand!
        I don’t give monKeys uncle if it was the Labour or Greens using the SIS i wouldn’t care if they were outed it just shows we need more Transparency with our spy Agencies!

      • unsol 20.1.2

        Re-read my first comment Berend, I haven’t disputed that & in fact think any profits from Hager’s book should be treated as proceeds of crime under the Crimes Act.

        But we are talking about the legality of Slater’s access of the Labour party websites, particularly the donor info.

        • Berend de Boer 20.1.2.1

          unsol: But we are talking about the legality of Slater’s access of the Labour party websites, particularly the donor info.

          Don’t forgot about Google accessing that data too. That’s an easy to understand key point. You think Google was guilty of indexing the data?

          The legal point of view is that if the data is not secured, you cannot bring a claim:

          Businesses reliant on the security of their information must take special steps to protect it. While protections for confidential information are reasonably well understood, protections for electronic information are less well developed. Reliance on property rights will not suffice.

          The Labour Party did not secure their donor list. And to repeat myself once more: by far the biggest moral and legal issues are with the Labour Party here. What Whaleoil did is irrelevant in comparison. And that’s why the Labour Party didn’t go to court.

          • Colonial Viper 20.1.2.1.1

            Don’t forgot about Google accessing that data too. That’s an easy to understand key point. You think Google was guilty of indexing the data?

            That was a very specific search conducted for nefarious purposes, probably reconstructed AFTER Labour’s confidential information had been breached.

            My question to you is: why are you spending so much energy defending the unethical but well paid actions of Slater and the PM’s associates? What’s in it for you to do so?

            • Macro 20.1.2.1.1.1

              My question to you is: why are you spending so much energy defending the unethical but well paid actions of Slater and the PM’s associates? What’s in it for you to do so?

              My thoughts entirely.

              Mr de Boer seemed pretty quick to take offence at some random statement on RNZ by an interviewer of Pauline Hanson. While nothing to do with this matter – he seems to hold a very selective set of ethical standards.

              • Colonial Viper

                Indeed. Might have to start flying a few more Combat Air Patrols around The Standard…

      • adam 20.1.3

        So here we are – the slippery slope of the right wing spin doctor. Berend, reading your comments is like watching paint dry.

        It’s the lies that hurt

        • Berend de Boer 20.1.3.1

          It would be helpful if you pointed out a single lie. And right win spin doctor? You probably don’t know me.

          • adam 20.1.3.1.1

            I never said you lied, it’s a phrase that means when you lie to yourself, the only person your hurting, is yourself. I’ll leave that for you to think over.

            Well when you talk like a right wing spin doctor, then use their lines

            “May I point out that Slater had never intended for his emails to go public? And that Nicky Hager nonetheless has used this for personal gain (selling his book/hits against the National Party)?”

            You sound like a right wing spin doctor – so, when the cap fits…

          • mpledger 20.1.3.1.2

            You say that Labour deliberately made all their files on their website open. How is it credible to believe that Labour would deliberately make all their donor files public.

            It seems to me that this has gone beyond the point of people being really interested in arguing over the finer points of the law but an effort to divert attention from the content by arguing over the process.

          • Macro 20.1.3.1.3

            Your indignation at the supposed slight on ACT by RNZ some years back would certainly indicate that you are a right whinger

            • Colonial Viper 20.1.3.1.3.1

              And right win spin doctor? You probably don’t know me.

              And this is a classic spin doctor response. A non-answer taking up space.

          • tricledrown 20.1.3.1.4

            Bereft de Borer imported right wing fundamentalist christian creationist political strategist and spy!

          • tricledrown 20.1.3.1.5

            Bereft de Borer imported right wing fundamentalist christian creationist political strategist and spy!

  21. Bill 21

    If we can lay aside all the legal and moral arguments for a second (just so we can get to the nub of the matter)….

    Power should always be held to account. Centers of power using given techniques to augment their influence or power is completely different from those seeking to hold them to account using the same given techniques. Maybe there are parallels here with how we view satire. Satire can only be considered as such when it is aimed at the privileged and powerful. Otherwise it is abusive and/or discriminatory. In other words the same or similar dynamics, enacted from different positions of power, can be vastly different to one another in terms of legitimacy and impact.

    • tsmithfield 21.1

      “Centers of power using given techniques to augment their influence or power is completely different from those seeking to hold them to account using the same given techniques”

      Why so? Surely those distinctions are in the eye of the beholder.

      • Bill 21.1.1

        You being serious? The motivation of one is utterly self serving while the other is to do with accountability. Hardly ‘eye of the beholder’ stuff.

        • unsol 21.1.1.1

          Hmm that becomes a bit of a circular argument as you are saying the means sometimes justify the ends and I think if we want to complain about a lack of standards then we need to set some standards which should dictate the means must always be above board.

          To allow the hacker & Hager to get away with taking/publishing stolen emails because they pose some serious question for the government is to say it was OK for the person who tipped Slater off re Goff vs the SIS because it provided he made false statements.

          The law is quite clear when it comes to what the police can and can’t do when it comes to establishing & proving a case against the accused, so why should it treat Hager & his hacker any different?

          The intentions behind someone’s wrongdoing are very rarely accepted as a defence in court (e.g. you can’t go & steal of a fraudster just because you want to provide support to their victims) so should not be something that determines our political ethics.

          The political ethics should be a set of standards in their own right…….otherwise we do end up going down a slippery slope where Blackstone’s formula is ignored & everyone is assumed guilty & tried in the media or on blogs before all the facts have been established.

          • Bill 21.1.1.1.1

            I’m not saying anything about ‘means and justified ends’. I’m only commenting on actions of self serving power versus a similar (note: not ‘same’) action that serves to hold that power to account. The former is unconscionable while the latter is an imperative.

            • unsol 21.1.1.1.1.1

              Yep I agree in that it is definitely imperative however, there is always a legal way to do these things & Hager has just taken the easy way out – my guess because like most so-called moral crusaders, he is thinking this will benefit him (money in the bank…it’s not like he does an awful lot in between these books is it!).

        • Bob 21.1.1.2

          “You being serious? The motivation of one is utterly self serving while the other is to do with accountability”, it’s still in the eye of the beholder, if Hager wanted to bring the Government to account he could have released this information via the news media, he could have released it via a series of editorials, instead he decided to release it via a book from which (unless I am mistaken) he would recieve all of the royalties from personally.
          It could be argued therefore that this is self-serving from Hager rather than holding the Government to account. I don’t remember Snowden or Greenwald having to write a book?

          • weka 21.1.1.2.1

            and if it took Hager a year to write the book, what should he live on in the meantime?

            • Bob 21.1.1.2.1.1

              I am sure the papers would have paid him for his work and it wouldn’t have taken as long as completing a book, as he could have released this in sections rather than having to go a whole year without income.
              On that note though Weka, how did Snowden make a living? How does Slater make a living?
              The point being this is not black and white as Bill or Rocky are making it out to be.

              • weka

                Which paper did you have in mind exactly? I can’t think of any that would have let Hager write what he has written in his book.

                “On that note though Weka, how did Snowden make a living? How does Slater make a living?”

                No idea about Snowden. Slater gets paid by various people who use his website for PR, astroturfing and smear purposes. I would assume he has other sources of income too (click through advertising being one). I don’t see how that’s relevant to your point about Hager though.

              • Bill

                Of course it’s fucking black and white Bob.

                It seems an elected government has (at least!) contemplated ways in which it could compromise the integrity of journalists, smear and/or compromise various politicians, and given a nod and a wink for ministers to operate in a unilateral and unaccountable fashion (with regard prisoner locations for example). This is just some of what I’ve gleaned from reporting. I haven’t read the book.

                Now, what you are suggesting is that any revelation of a ‘roadmap’ relating to any systemic and/or dubious political activities should have been buried unless the ‘roadmap’ was obtained in an ‘above board’ and ‘proper’ manner. In other words, you are arguing that cases of corruption, graft, patronage and such like should be given free passage unless a clear and obvious demonstration that ‘butter_won’t_melt_in_my_mouth_or_in_the_mouth_of_any_persons_either_known_ or_unknown_to_me_who_may_associate_themselves_with_me’, is given by any whistle blower.

                Fuck that.

      • adam 21.1.2

        So tsmithfield then the whole concept of propaganda is an illusion? That the state and it’s cohorts don’t use modern psychological methodology to influence great numbers of people? That lies and misdirection by people in power are somehow OK?

        I’m confused by your statement, I really am. The right acknowledge it does this things, even the left does, when it’s in power.

        Bill I think, an educated guess, is talking about the actions and behaviours of the elites in society. Those who, for want of a better analogy – hold the purse strings. And before anyone goes rabid right on me, yes there are liberal elites and yes they should be held accountable. Actually I think I agree with Chris Hedges on this one, the liberal elites should be held more accountable by the left. Well, they should fear working stiffs at a bear minimum. I digress.

        Final point, why shouldn’t we laugh at the buggers at top, they all do stupid shit sometimes, we should be having a laugh at their expense.

  22. KJS0ne 22

    Fantastic post Rocky.

    I would add the example of hackers stealing 77 million accounts from Sony. There too was an ‘open door’ a security flaw. By National’s logic it’s ok to for hackers to steal anything as long as there is an open door in the security.

    National can’t have much faith in the New Zealand public if they expect us to swallow that horrendous argument – It constitutes a pretty basic logical fallacy to assume that because a door is left open, the owner of the property is happy for anyone to take that property and use it for their own means. It is simply a non sequitur.

    In fact, now that I think about it, logical fallacies are a common breed among National arguments. Take for example the continuous ad hominems that John Key tacks on to his one word responses to valid and important questions during Parliamentary question time.

    Perhaps National expects that our nation is not by and large capable of critical thought? If that’s their gamble, I think they’re going to be sorely mistaken.

    • Berend de Boer 22.1

      KJSOne: By National’s logic it’s ok to for hackers to steal anything as long as there is an open door in the security.

      By Nicky Hager’s logic it’s OK to steal information and use that for private gains?

      • felix 22.1.1

        Nope, that’s your logic Bellend.

      • weka 22.1.2

        Citation for where Hager has said that please.

      • KJS0ne 22.1.3

        Ah, but he didn’t steal the information, it was leaked to him by others that did, there is a difference, it might not be obvious, but there it is. And in examining this case, I think it is worth turning towards prominent examples of similar instances of leaked documents used by the media.

        Take Glen Greenwald over the Edward Snowden case. Another journalist who published documents obtained illegally, for overwhelming public interest.

        I’m quite happy for there to be two trials here, a trial for the hacker who stole the documents from Slater, and a trial for those in John Key’s office who instigated the hacking of the Labour parties servers for political advantage and a smear campaign against the then Labour leader. Let a jury of our peers decide the fates of both, that would only be fair.

        Regarding the ethics of publishing hacked, stolen or leaked documents, I think one has to examine whether publishing the documents will advance the interests of the public. In this case I think it is very pertinent to know that John Key and his office have not only condoned but encouraged criminal theft and abuse of ministerial power.

        Finally, let’s not be distracted from the issue, let us not fall for the smokescreen of alleged hypocrisy, being disseminated as a response tactic from the spin doctors within the National edifice. Let us address the food that’s on the plate before us, rather than incessantly questioning the cook of his credentials.

        • Berend de Boer 22.1.3.1

          KJS0ne: I’m quite happy for there to be two trials here

          I also think there should be. In the case of Snowden (or the Labour Party donor list that was put on their public webserver) there should be three: against those who had the duty to secure confidential information as well.

          One issue you have not mentioned is that making private gains from stuff you know has been stolen, is morally and legally questionable. If this was a journalist on the payroll, or if Nicky had given the proceeds to charity, we would have a different case.

          • KJS0ne 22.1.3.1.1

            Berend I do not think those who designed Labour’s server protection need to be put on trial as a result of others stealing the documents.

            But I do agree that Nicky Hager is going to profit from this ordeal, and that that should be a narrative that is questioned. It’s hard to say what Hager’s intentions are. We can speculate, we can guess, based upon his past actions, but we do not know his mind and it would be unfair to be categorical in making judgments of his character. I do think though that had he decided to give the proceeds to a charity after recouping investment (and he still has that opportunity) his motivations would not be called into question.

            That said. This is Hager’s job, it’s the way he earns his living, pays his bills etc. Is it morally reprehensible that he makes his way in the world selling a book that contains leaked documents stolen by hackers? I think it really depends where you’re standing. It’s not a black and white situation, but like many thing in this world a shade of grey.

            I cannot argue in good faith though that it is not a question that needs to be asked.

            • Berend de Boer 22.1.3.1.1.1

              KJS0ne: Berend I do not think those who designed Labour’s server protection need to

              Apologies for being unclear. I certainly wasn’t referring to the foot soldiers. But to the party leadership. They control the resources (personnel, time, money).

              KJS0ne: is it morally reprehensible that he makes his way in the world selling a book that contains leaked documents stolen by hackers?

              Good point. As someone who makes money from securing information I have somewhat sympathetic views for those leaking information obviously, good for business 🙂

              • Colonial Viper

                Apologies for being unclear. I certainly wasn’t referring to the foot soldiers. But to the party leadership. They control the resources (personnel, time, money).

                Funny how you aren’t pointing any fingers at the NATIONAL PARTY leadership then are you? What is your skin in the game here, my friend?

                Good point. As someone who makes money from securing information I have somewhat sympathetic views for those leaking information obviously, good for business 🙂

                Actually, you’ve shown yourself to be amoral on the entire issue of information privacy and information ethics, and from your comment here, guided mainly by money and self interest. There are organisations out there who want people like you, for sure.

          • weka 22.1.3.1.2

            “I also think there should be. In the case of Snowden (or the Labour Party donor list that was put on their public webserver) there should be three: against those who had the duty to secure confidential information as well.”

            What should the Labour leadership be charged with?

            “One issue you have not mentioned is that making private gains from stuff you know has been stolen, is morally and legally questionable. If this was a journalist on the payroll, or if Nicky had given the proceeds to charity, we would have a different case.”

            What’s the difference between a payroll journo and an independent writer who does investigative journalism? What are the legal questions in that regard? And the moral ones?

            Not quite sure why Hager is not entitled to make a living. Given the amount of time involved, it’s ridiculous to expect him to do this on a voluntary basis.

      • David 22.1.4

        And so it was written, in the book of Berend, “Thos shalt never blow whistle against immoral happenings, unless it is Labour” and the people rejoiced and sung hallelujah to the GodKey.

        • Berend de Boer 22.1.4.1

          David: Thou shalt never blow whistle

          Eh what? I’m a great Snowden fan. I think Nicky Hager has written a very readable book. Only he has the business acumen to get this publicity and sell this many books.

          But the difference is obviously one of leaking versus stolen goods. But we’ll see that play out.

          Is there a public interest? Probably.

          On your “immoral happenings”, what do you mean there exactly? What Nicky complains about is a style of politics (attack politics), leaking of information through sympathetic channels, and some innuendo. It may be immoral, but I have not read something that is illegal.

          Look, Nicky Hager is a political animal, he wants to destroy John Key, and he does that by attacking his image, and linking him to whaleoil. I get all that. But perhaps you can point out what specifically Nicky claims are “illegal” actions, either by whaleoil, or dpf, or John Key, or who else.

          • Colonial Viper 22.1.4.1.1

            Berend de Boer, great defender of the power elite and their establishment machinery, claims to be “a great Snowden fan” but Snowden would immediately identify him as an establishment loyalist technocrat and apparatchik, one of the type that Snowden worked with everyday for years, tell me one thing: you say that Nicky Hager is a “political animal” how is it you are such a “political animal” as well?

            Ladies and gentlemen the great Berend de Boer demonstrates the well worn strategies employed in the US against whistle blowers and leakers. Major wrong doing by those in charge or with money or allied to the power elite: minimised or ignored. Minimal wrong doing by those attempting to challenge the narrative of the power elite: a big deal.

            See Berend for what he is: a well paid tool of the establishment.

            • Berend de Boer 22.1.4.1.1.1

              Colonial Viper: See Berend for what he is: a well paid tool of the establishment.

              I wish I was! To dispel any such notations I am not: National Party please I’m available for hire.

              • Colonial Viper

                Hey mate I’ve got nothing against you, other than your intellectual defending of the rotten PR issuing out from the PMs office, that will fuck this country for the 95%

          • David 22.1.4.1.2

            I threw one red herring in, and got a whole net back, hallelujah. Praise be the miracle. Thou hast been annointed by the holy trinity, the GodKey, the son, and the holy penguin.

          • Tracey 22.1.4.1.3

            Did he want to destroy Clark too?

            And Mr Slater what do you think he wants, having read Hagers book, and presumably some of what Slater has written over tge years

  23. Not A PS Staffer 23

    The opportunity to dent the Tories before this election lies in stirring public outrage. The legal path takes yonks, is technical and bores the general public.

    The lines that the public will respond to will be about Fair Play, Decency, Integrity and Mis-use of Taxpayer funds. I heard that formerly-a good-broadcaster Sean Plunket insist that the relevent clause of the Crimes Act be cited by a caller before he would take the Hager book seriously.

    The response to the Hager book must be political and emotional: not legalistic.

  24. TeWhareWhero 24

    When a private email from Hone Harawira, in which he referred to ‘white motherfuckers’, was made public – I didn’t hear the Right complaining about the breach of his privacy – nor was he allowed to make the excuse being made by Collins that what’s said in private emails between people should not be made public and has no political relevance. They went into attack mode as did the amygdala brigade.

    • Berend de Boer 24.1

      The difference is that Harawira’s email was leaked. Not stolen. Because that’s a bit of a key problem here. Nicky wrote a book based on STOLEN emails. Not leaked.

      • mpledger 24.1.1

        What’s the difference between leaked and stolen?

        • Berend de Boer 24.1.1.1

          mpledger: What’s the difference between leaked and stolen?

          1. Leaked: insider, whistle blowing, possibly no illegal act committed by whistle blower when getting the information. Receiver of these goods can probably only be prosecuted if the information was protected for national security reasons.
          2. Stolen: act itself is illegal. Persons who knowingly receive stolen goods and profit from them can be prosecuted as well.
          • mpledger 24.1.1.1.1

            If Nicky Hager doesn’t know the identity of the person who gave him the e-mails than how does he know if they were leaked or stolen. Even if the person says they are stolen, how does Nicky Hager know whether the person is telling the truth or not. A leaker from the National party isn’t going to give themselves away by saying so.

            • Colonial Viper 24.1.1.1.1.1

              Berend doesn’t have a fucking idea of the difference between “leaked” or “stolen”. All he cares about is whether Hager’s revelations are in the interests of the power elite and the establishment they work from.

  25. JanMeyer 25

    Why is this thread so tediously long?? Psycho Milt answered the issue early today – ain’t no crime here chaps. Hacking into WO’s website and stealing private emails may be however.

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      Let me see. There’s a smoking gun revealing how the PM’s and National’s smear machine co-ordinates a nation wide system of taking down political opponents via Slater, and you are worried about what? Protecting Slater?

    • Kiwiri 25.2

      “tediously long” to you because your concentration and comprehension span is lousy.

      very stimulating and thoughtful for readers who follow the thread and are focused.

    • Tracey 25.3

      Psychmily could be wrong, and i think he is for reasons outlined.

      Is slater demanding hager reveal his sources you think?

  26. JanMeyer 26

    Hey there’s some juicy stuff here alright – just not this (i.e. pick the attack lines).

    • Colonial Viper 26.1

      I do believe you are trying to tell a Standard author what to write about. Fuck off.

  27. Big Blue Al 27

    Dear oh dear oh dear. Ranting and raving about the legalities or niceties of Hagar’s latest bit of Labour propaganda. The issues are being blurred by the source debate. Hagar is a labourite. Timing is wonderful – trying to hit National just a few weeks before the election. No mention from Labour about the legalities or niceties of the Hagar diatribe.
    The realities are : We are in the run up to an election. Both parties are trying to find “king hits” on the other side. If we really want to examine “attack politics” then interview Mike Williams on his visit to Oz. Or ask DC about his blunders in trying to attack JK – Annoyed his “leafy suburb doer upper” is only worth $2.5M while JK’s is worth $10M. Or what about secret trust accounts?
    So far this election, National haven’t had to worry about attack politics – Labour and DC in particular have done a superb job of self inflicted foot shooting. The only possible game changer for Labour is a complete clean out of it’s management and leadership.And everyone knows that will happen AFTER the election. The polls have been consistent for 18 months or so, and it’s all doom and gloom for the left – the majority of New Zealanders don’t want you to run the country. Get used to it and look at the management and policies of the Labour Party instead of somehow trying to find a way to blame National for the LP’s own woes.

    • weka 27.1

      Have you heard of MMP?

    • TeWhareWhero 27.2

      “The majority of New Zealanders don’t want you to run the country” –

      The inaccuracy of your estimate aside – is that the ‘I’m all right and I don’t give a toss about anyone who isn’t’ brigade? Those who think that ‘do-gooder’ is an insult and that people who care about the environment are a greater danger to the common good than those who heedlessly exploit and despoil it for short term profit? Is that those right-minded souls of honour and virtue who think the blowhard Slater is funny and the National Party’s political machinations are just the normal rough and tumble of politics? Is that the sort of people who, when they see someone who is kind and empathetic and gentle, are compelled to mock and deride them or kick the shit out them?

      If that’s your ‘majority of NZers’ then you’re welcome to them.

      You can have the shallow, brittle airheads, the sour, resentful dogs in the manger, the smug, insular know-alls, the brash, swaggering nouveau rich and the haughtily contemptuous old money elites – and that pathetic pack of media poodles – because who in their left mind would want them?

      It is a good thing that the old spirit of NZ – a bit shabby, a tad shy and socially awkward but honest and decent to the core – is still alive. It took a hell of a beating from those people who sold the nation’s soul for a handful of baubles with built in obsolescence – but it’s still there.

      So, even if the forces of reaction, greed and self-absorption do manage to scrape in again in this election, history will judge them.

      And in the meantime we will be living in a country with such gaping divisions that all the baubles and bullshit in the world will not cover them up.

      • Big Blue Al 27.2.1

        The “majority of NZ’ers” are voicing their opinion on who they want to run the country through many polls, and (at present, anyway) will have their final say (for the next 3 years) on Sept 20.
        I personally don’t have any particular axe to grind – I’m currently “Blue”, but in the past have voted also for Labour and (once only, I’ll admit) the Greens. I DO look at the state NZ is in, what the rest of the world is like, unemployment in other countries, standard of living etc. etc. and give my vote to the party which is more likely to fulfill my needs. What I can say is that all current data shows NZ has recovered fastest and best from the GFC – NZ is top of numerous polls for quality of living, education, health, employment and many many more indicators. This has been achieved in the last 6 years under National, and looks likely to continue. I do worry about DC’s promises on spending, and at present prefer the “steady as she goes” attitude from National. The last 6 years prove (to me and many others) that they have NZ’s recovery and growth under control. So, I will vote for them this time too. I have no problem with voting Labour when appropriate, but IMHO it is NOT appropriate under DC and the current left leaning factions who look more and more disorganised.
        DC could and perhaps should draw a line in the sand (particularly regarding the IMP) and his failure to do so puts a big question mark over his judgement – NOT something I want to see in an incoming PM.

        • McFlock 27.2.1.1

          The “majority of NZ’ers” are voicing their opinion on who they want to run the country through many polls,

          I don’t know of any NZ political poll that has a sample size of 1.5million.
          Most of them are in the region of 800-1000.

        • Tautoko Viper 27.2.1.2

          Have you noted that the Public Debt has enormously over the last 6 years?
          The tax cuts which benefited the wealthy will have to be paid for by citizens of the future. This was not good management by National as the people on the lowest incomes had an increase in tax (GST increase). You must live in an area where you don’t see the poverty, hardship and hopelessness of people who are truly suffering.

          “One legacy is greater ongoing public debt.

          The government’s 2013 budget projected that net core Crown public debt in June 2015 will be $68 billion, up from a low point of $10b in June 2008.

          That $58b increase represents about $33,000 per New Zealand household.

          Future ministers of finance are saddled with higher ongoing interest costs and future taxpayers are saddled with higher taxes to cover those costs. ”
          http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/9840884/New-Zealands-debt-legacy

        • unsol 27.2.1.3

          @ BBL I share many of your views & tend to vote the same way for the same reasons.

          That said I find Collins remaining in govt hugely problematic. She appears to lack any ethics, foresight & continually exercises poor judgment when it comes to the type of behaviour we expect from our MPs (Bain, Orivida & now these conversations with Slater including tipping him off re the ministerial staffer whose character he assassinated as a result of the information she gave him). She makes Mallard look like an angel and that is saying something. Her relationship with Slater & in fact his relationship with the entire party brings them into disrepute. Slater is not honourable & represents a level of gutter politics we should be trying to avoid, not encourage.

          So yes, while policies are absolute paramount, I think you are wrong to assume NZers won’t care that our MPs are not as decent as what they make out. After all, it is personality that gets voted on more than the nitty gritty stuff on the policies (well, except of course those polices people feel will directly benefit them – e.g increased WFF or tax cuts!). That is why they Helen & Key were/are brands.

    • Tracey 27.3

      Bingo!

      Hasnt read the book

    • tricledrown 27.4

      Big blowhole corngate brethren slatergate!

  28. Richard Pamatatau 28

    At AUT University in Year 3 of the BCS degree for we offer a paper called Journalism Law and Ethics. We teach it. Cheers.

  29. Colonial Viper 29

    Berend and his right wing ilk know that the Left love to get involved in intellectual discussion and the minutiae of rights vs wrongs. So the goal is to bog issues down in a mire of clever sounding BS designed to confuse, side track and turn off the general public who might be reading the comments.

    Remember, ‘to Berend’ is the tactic. Suppressing understanding and turnout amongst citizens is the strategy.

  30. unsol 30

    The conversation has side-tracked…let’s re-group: as David so pointedly asks, is it ok for any of us to just “walk in the Beehive and grab [or make copies of] any [unclassified of course] documents not locked away securely”?

    If not then why not? It was OK for Slater et al so why not us? What is the difference?

    If it is not OK then that people is case and point.

  31. dv 31

    So why did a tape left in a public place generate almost immediate police action if Key doesn’t see a problem with accessing private data bases?

  32. mpledger 32

    I don’t understand how google crawled Labour’s donor file**. Google only crawls across files that have been linked to from somewhere it has already been. It seems unlikely that Labour would create a public link to a private file. The other way is to submit the URL of the donor file to one of those websites that try to give the file a higher profile on googles search results page. I don’t see Labour doing that for a private file either.

    So then how did google get that URL?

    **based on my knowledge which is probaby out of date.

  33. daev 33

    I can believe these guys justify corruption there unbelievable these wankers have access to our tax money assets private information they not of good character
    There needs be independent investigation the root
    out what has been going criminal chargers brought and jail
    The bastards. Key should resign now and Collins

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