While the MSM is focused on the whole scary central NZ quakes and shakes, let’s not forget the GCSB and related surveillance Bills. There’s plenty of coverage in the margins today on these Bills. According to Audrey Young, Phil Goff says:
Former Foreign Minister Phil Goff says “tweaking” of the GCSB bill by Prime Minister John Key will not be enough to overcome the suspicions of a wide cross-section of New Zealanders.
People wanted to be assured that the expanded powers of the foreign intelligence spy agency to spy on New Zealanders would not be abused and that they would be used for targeted surveillance, not mass surveillance.
“No matter how John Key tweaks the particular legislation in front of him, he won’t overcome the suspicion, not of a small group of paranoid people but a wide cross-section of New Zealanders who are asking justifiable questions about how the bodies work, how they should work and why they are needed.”
Mr Key has Act’s support but doesn’t yet have the guaranteed numbers to pass the bill, let alone the large majority of votes that such bills conventionally receive.
A wide range of people and commentators have expressed concerns about the bill, including Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff, Human Rights Commissioner David Rutherford and Law Commission president Sir Grant Hammond.
Commentators with strong libertarian values such as talkback host Leighton Smith and former Act MP Deborah Coddington also have concerns.Public meetings and protest marches are planned for this week.
Key has agreed to a couple of changes to the GCSB Bill, but Goff doesn’t buy it:
Mr Goff said that was still toothless and if Mr Key wanted to pass the bill with wider support he had to do more. He said if Mr Key was to persuade Labour why it was important to pass the bill quickly, it should have a sunset clause – and a review of intelligence services was needed before the bill expired.
Labour should continue to oppose the Bill, not bow to a pass-now-and-change-later option.
Meanwhile, another Herald article supports Key’s desire to have, as PM, total control over all NZ’s surveillance agencies, domestic and foreign-focused, amalgamated under one system:
Dr James Veitch – former intelligence specialist at Victoria and Massey Universities – is one of the few people who publicly supports the GCSB bill. This is an extract from his submission to Parliament’s intelligence and security committee considering the bill.
There are at present two standalone intelligence agencies – the Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).
But the NZ Intelligence Community (NZIC) is defined as the NZSIS, the GCSB, together with the National Assessments Bureau (NAB) and the Intelligence Co-ordination Group (ICG).
The latter two are both part of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
In addition, there are nine intelligence entities within the police and the Organised and Financial Crime Agency (OFCA). There are also four other intelligence entities: the Domestic and External Security Group (DESG) within DPMC; the NZ Directorate of Defence Intelligence and Security (DDIS) and the Joint Geospatial Support Facility (JGSF), both within Defence; and the National Maritime Co-ordination Centre (NMCC), within Customs.
And then Key will pronounce himself Emperor?
Meanwhile, Bomber explains while people should demonstrate against the GCSB Bill this Saturday:
In the lead up to the mass demonstrations that will occur around NZ this Saturday at 2pm, I want to explain why certain groups in NZ should be marching, the first are Unions and every Union member.
Every member of the CTU, PPTA, EPMU, Unite, MUNZ, NZEI, RMTU, NZDWU, CANZ, NZNO, First Union, SFWU, Actors Equity and PSA should be at the protests because it will be Unions and Unionists that will have these spying powers turned upon them – just like they have always had the intelligence networks turned against them.
And provides information about a public meeting in Auckland this Thursday evening:
Coalition to Stop the GCSB Bill – Urgent Public Meeting this Thursday 25th July, 7pm at Mt Albert War Memorial Hall (Cnr New North Road and Wairere Ave)
– Dr Rodney Harrison QC – who presented the Law Society submission to
– Kim Dotcom – the most high profile victim of illegal GCSB spying
-Thomas Beagle – from Tech Liberty – concerned with civil liberties
-and now Dame Anne Salmond
We can keep our eyes on more things than one. This one needs to maintain a central focus. It’s about democracy, and against further consolidation of the power of the international, “neoliberal” corporate elites.
[Update] Protest poster as on The Daily Blog: