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CERT: the partial privatisation of the GCSB

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, December 13th, 2015 - 24 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, capitalism, Deep stuff, john key, national, Privatisation, same old national, Spying, telecommunications - Tags: , ,

GCSB Maxwell Smart

OK I’m no tech head or tinfoil hat wearer, but my woop-woop went off with this one. From renowned tech expert Minister Amy Adams comes a huge new cyber security strategy fresh out of Parliament this week. She has also launched out of the blue a public-private partnership “to ensure New Zealanders remain safe online.” It’s called CERT.

Did anyone see the bid out on Tenderlink? I must have missed it.

She says:

The Government and private sector need to work together on cyber security. The private and public sectors must find ways to share information and expertise to address cyber security risks and this strategy relies on a close and active public-private partnership to ensure New Zealanders remain safe online.”

From the degree of freedom I feel on line from the legislation that they have already passed two years ago, this doesn’t make me feel safer. It feels like the digital version of Serco.

The release says:

A key action in the new strategy is the development of a national CERT to reduce harm from cyber security incidents and improve New Zealand’s ability to deal with attacks. The CERT will act as a single entry point for organisations or individuals needing assistance, and provide information to businesses, including small and medium enterprises, government and individuals so they can protect themselves from cyber threats.”

So what the hell does the GCSB do then? If the state already runs entities that assist businesses  – for example all the Crown Research Institutes – why does it seek to partially privatize what should be a core state security service before it even begins? This smells like a major IT company who’s just sold the government some huge gig it “couldn’t refuse”.

Amy then says:

New Zealand’s key international partners each have a national CERT of some form, and creation of our national CERT brings us into alignment.”

Don’t tell me – the international benchmarking was all to Five Eyes members, and only they saw the contractors’ shortlist. Any time you want to demonstrate some actual need for this private GCSB Amy …

The Cyber Security Strategy contains four areas of work:

  • Cyber resilience is about the on-going protection of New Zealand’s most important information infrastructures
  • Cyber capability involves building the skills of New Zealanders, businesses and government agencies to protect themselves online, spearheaded by the Connect Smart public-private partnership
  • Addressing cybercrime will focus on building police capability to deal with cybercrime
  • International cooperation will allow New Zealand to maintain a voice internationally on the promotion of a free, open and secure cyberspace, and involves international engagement on cyber security issues.

And for all of you who want to dust off your protest placards again, Ms Adams also announced New Zealand will host its first ever Cyber Security Summit in the first half of 2016 in Auckland. Maybe it’s time to hold an alternative conference, hosted by Justice Thomas, and some people with some actual constitutional weight?

Plus, why is a lightweight like Amy launching this, when it’s the portfolio purview of Finlayson and the Prime Minister? This is completely incoherent.

The Cyber Security Strategy can be found here:

Ladies and gentlemen, read away, then start your keyboards…

24 comments on “CERT: the partial privatisation of the GCSB ”

  1. Anne 1

    Oh yeah… and we all know who the real targets will be – anyone who has dared criticise this government. So, how are they going to “attack” us I wonder? Adopting Muldoon’s list of so-called subversives and releasing their names? That one didn’t turn out well with defamation cases brought by innocent victims. Or are we all to receive visits from the police warning us of prosecution and incarceration if we don’t desist from criticising beloved leader and his band of suspect compatriots? And will CERT be issuing an 0800 number for people to dob in their disliked rellies, neighbours and work-place colleagues with made-up stories of “disloyalty and subversion?

    I exaggerate, but this is somewhere near what will eventually happen if we go down this path. I gave A.A some credit for commonsense once but no… she’s just another brainwashed JK lackey.

    • Manuka AOR 1.1

      “anyone who has dared criticise this government.”

      The NZ gov is small fry compared with what’s ahead. I think this is preparation for the TPP(A), – isn’t the first signing due to take place here in NZ next month?

      “I exaggerate” Not at all, – not when you’re thinking DuPont and Monsanto et al rather than our own wee gov of the present.

      • savenz 1.1.1

        +1 Manuka AOR

      • Anne 1.1.2

        Yes Manuka AOR, I comprehend the broad outline anyway of the off-shore implications but wanted to bring it back to the level of the ordinary NZ citizen and what it will mean for us in this accelerating climate of fear, paranoia and prejudice – because this is the inevitable result of such a [so-called] private/public security strategy.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    I wanted to write a witty comment about the fact that the resources at “connectsmart” can be downloaded as pdfs and zip files, and it’s just too fucking headdesk for humour.

  3. Tautuhi 3

    Maxwell Smart alot of likenesses with JK

  4. I’m sure it’s all just a bit of greed and no conspiracy anywhere. After all the TPPA is just a happy trade agreement and the NATO is only there as a defensive force to protect Europe from Russia.

    After all we are a real democracy and that means our government represents us and doesn’t need to spy on us.

    Nope thinking that powerful people conspire is just for tinfoil hatters and everything that happens in the world at the moment is purely accidental and not planned at all!

    Monsanto buying up one of the biggest private armies is just smart investing and privatizing spy agencies has nothing to do with the fact that the 1% is getting mighty worried about people waking up to the scam that is their private money making cartel!

    Nope nobody conspiring here!

  5. Sans Cle 5

    Launched on the 10th December…… Pathetic; but then Stephen Joyce would tell us to lighten up and get drunk on Christmas cheer.

  6. Steve Withers 6

    I suspect this is the NZ version of the “contractors” the US used in Iraq for jobs the US military wasn’t allowed to do.

    If anyone tightens up surveillance laws, the illegal jobs just get outsourced.

    They also want to set up structures to deal with companies who make encryption products and services they can’t crack.

    I’d say MEGA is a target and Simple would be too.

  7. Smilin 7

    Yeah dead Cert it will be the increase in Nacro$ofts new Win10 enhanced NSA etc requirements so without further ado the Threat of Terrorism show must go on
    Really who on their own of all the countries with the major international corporations working in their govts are that vulnerable that the terrorists of ISIS and whoever else is involved are that powerful to be more of a threat unknown, more like closer to home with the size of those data storage facilities keeping the govts from tracking all the data, but we are all confused now
    And if the co operation of the top powers is a shaky as they news would have us believe then things are well on there way to a full scale WW3
    Everyone should be worried one false move and the defense dept gets it wrong it could be be me or you drone striked in NZ just like Syria or any other hot spot
    Na we neednt worry we are in the club
    Watch out at Waihopai in Jan if your goin

  8. Joe 8

    Not mentioning names, but a political subversive in this climate is not someone who works with a PI to disrupt Occupy sit ins in Auckland, and informs on participants to the Police.

  9. Anne 9

    Now I’ve had time to properly read the post links, I’m wondering how long this CERT has been in the pipe-line? It all sounds odd to me and I suspect the aim is to take authority away from the GCSB and place it in the hands of a private IT company that is sympathetic to and directly answerable to this NAct govt.

    We on this site have been extremely critical of the GCSB in recent years, but at least they are bound by State Service regulations built up over many decades, and they cannot step too far outside of them. This is as it should be especially in the area of security and intelligence. To introduce outsiders is risky and likely to lead to a lowering of standards and ultimately pose a threat to our democratic system of governance.

    We have had an Acting GCSB director for quite a long time now and I’ve been wondering why a permanent head has not been appointed. Perhaps this is the reason why because this government plans to install a private IT consortium into the top most level of the GCSB!


    Curious and curiouser.

    • Anne 9.1

      … why is a lightweight like Amy launching this, when it’s the portfolio purview of Finlayson and the Prime Minister? This is completely incoherent.

      No Ad, I don’t think it’s incoherent.

      This news item is meant to fly under the radar and that’s why light-weight Amy Adams was commandeered to release it in the throes of the pre-Xmas silly season.


      The plot thickens. Where’s my tin foil hat. 🙁

    • Ad 9.2

      Totally agree

  10. ropata 10

    Adams’ press release is a hodgepodge because

    a) she’s inept and has no clue about technology
    b) she’s inept and unable to think or write clearly
    c) she’s inept and lying about the real purpose of CERT

  11. One Anonymous Bloke 11

    Don’t tell me – the international benchmarking was all to Five Eyes members, and only they saw the contractors’ shortlist.

    For example:

    The Department of Homeland Security’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) leads efforts to improve the Nation’s cybersecurity posture, coordinate cyber information sharing, and proactively manage cyber risks to the Nation while protecting the constitutional rights of Americans. US-CERT strives to be a trusted global leader in cybersecurity—collaborative, agile, and responsive in a dynamic and complex environment.

    It’s dynamic, I tell you.

    Don’t forget: Partnerships are essential.

  12. I guess we are only going to really know the implications of this whole new “effort” to keep us safe online in the following year. I agree that it’s quite silly for them to privatise something that is meant to be a blanket protection for everyone but we can’t just take things at face value. Just as long as our taxes and finances remain intact I’ll just keep my mouth shut!

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