GCSB Bill to be debated today

Written By: - Date published: 12:22 pm, August 6th, 2013 - 36 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, uncategorized - Tags: , , ,

GCSB protest-17

The Government Communications and Security Amendment Bill or to use its real name the Increased Spying and Hand Our Metadata over to the Americans Bill is the first bill in line to be debated today in Parliament according to today’s order paper.  As at the time of writing this post Peter Dunne’s magical summary order paper has just been put up on the legislation website, probably at 12 pm today.   This is frustrating.  As a matter of practice all SOPs should be put up as soon as possible, especially when they are having a fundamental effect on our civil rights.  How are you meant to have proper review of complex legislation with such little time to review?

I am sure that there will be keen interest to see how John Key can reconcile the extreme steps he took to protect his own privacy against the utter indifference he showed about the protection of Andrea Vance’s privacy.  And there will be perhaps even more interest in how Peter Dunne can say that the protection of his privacy is a matter of principle yet agree to support a bill because the price, whatever it was, is right.  A principle is a principle Peter.  Allowing there to be a review in the future, public access to the GCSB’s paperclip and coffee budgets and increased oversight and reporting of spying that has already happened does not cut it because the fundamental question of why there needs to be any increase in surveillance has not been answered.

Anyway the debate ought to be fascinating and I expect Labour and the Greens to oppose the bill strongly.  Tune in about 3 pm or so when the committee stages should start.

UPDATE:  The opposition has successfully filibustered the House for an hour and a half asking each other questions about Members’ bills.  And the Speaker has granted an application for an urgent debate on the Fonterra contamination scandal.  Also Meka Whaitiri’s maiden speech is to be delivered this evening at 5:45 pm.  It could be a long day …

36 comments on “GCSB Bill to be debated today”

  1. tracey 1

    By debate do you mean yelling childish stuff at each other.

  2. Veutoviper 2

    As well as Dunne’s SOP, there are also three other SOPs.

    Labour has one – dated 2 Aug – that proposes :

    – that the Amendment Bill provisions expire after one year ( ie the GCSB Act would revert to the current Act unless amended in the interim).

    – a extensive review to be set up within one month of the Amendment Bill coming into force, comprising a panel of 3 – 5 persons agreed by the GCSB Minister AND the leaders of all politicial parties for the time being recognised for parliamentary purposes (this presumably excludes Dunne)

    – review to report back within six months.

    There are also two Key SOPs (dated today, as is the Dunne one) One covers substantive amendments and the other proposes breaking the Bill into three separate Bills.

    All SOPS can be viewed here in PDF. http://www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2013/0109/latest/versions.aspx

    I swamped OM with these a short while ago!

    The opposition are obviously going into fillabuster mode. As well as the usual 12 questions to Ministers, there are 20 questions to Members which means Question Time today is likely to muc longer than usual.

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/?document=00HOH_OralQuestions

    RadioNZ Midday news reported that Key would not be in the House for the Committee stages of the GCSB Bill …. presumably the Fonterra situation will be used as his excuse.

    Should be an interesting afternoon/evening.

  3. Mr Interest 3

    NEWS FLASH:

    SALES of MR KEYneX Toilet Tissues are higher than ever.

    The product, called A Tissue of Spies are selling like hot cakes, particularly to the GSCB, SIS and Parliamentary Services.

    Interviewed, one spy has been quoted as saying,

    “we really cant wait to get our hands on this product, were practically masticating at the bit to see HD surround sound videso of evil doers doing there evil deeds, particularly anyone with the slightest opposition leanings” We need something to keep us clean. The real evil people are those with a social conciseness…. a kind of, well kindness to their fellow man, we must stop it. We will be ever vigilant, our hands at the ready to shake of this mortal danger.

    According to Rooters, The NZX XXXXX has pro ported to have seen large positive shifts in the share market. Mum and dads investors are rushing to buy stoke in anticipation of further demand.

    [lprent: Nearly flushed this as being an advert. ]

  4. Isn’t it convenient how all this has been completely pushed from the front page by what seems a minor fault at a plant from Fonterra?

    • Mary 4.1

      Keys will be thanking his lucky stars for the problem at Fonterra. You can tell when he speaks about it that he doesn’t care a jot. It’s the same look he has when he talks about NZ soldiers dying. The only difference with the Fonterra issue is that he’s genuinely pleased rather than just diffident or uninterested.

    • mickysavage 4.2

      Key also said that he did not believe that the GCSB had engaged in the mass collection of metadata and he confirmed that it should be treated the same as communication and any collection of it would require a warrant. He promised to make a clear statement about this in the bill’s second reading.

      He never fronted up to make that speech. If he is talking about the speech that Finlayson made on his behalf then it was said that metadata would be treated the same as any other communication but it was also said that metadata was not defined and its precise nature was unclear. So he promised they would not collect something they have refused to define.

      This totally ignores the issue. In fact it further confuses the issue.

      • tc 4.2.1

        Ok please for the dummies like me how can you only be collecting metadata.

        I thought metadata is a tag/description of what the actual data is such as metadata is ‘occupation’ and the data would be ‘banksta’.

        How do you only collect metadata when they travel in the same package side by side ? How do they magically only extract metadata leaving the raw actual data not collected now findlieswine has admitted they aren’t even sure what that is.

        Does metadata travel on it’s own information superhighway and marry up with the data and live happily ever after at it’s destination….WTF.

        Like the police saying I’m only interested in the car not the driver…..one doesn’t come without the other.

        • politikiwi 4.2.1.1

          > How do you only collect metadata when they travel in the same package side by side ?

          In essence, what appears on an itemised telephone bill is metadata – data about the calls that were made on a given account, when the call was made, who it was made to and the duration of the call. This data is stored in a billing system. The call itself occurs on the network.

          On the telco provider’s end (speaking from experience), the system which holds the billing information doesn’t see what information is carried on the network. When you make a phone call the billing system receives (1) a request to see if you have enough money to make the call (including the called number), then when the call is completed it receives (2) information about the duration of the call.

          The billing system – which holds what could be called metadata – doesn’t care about the content of the communication. The network which carries the traffic is almost entirely decoupled from the billing system, with the exception of requests 1 and 2. To harvest call metadata, all that’s required is a small amount of SQL to be run daily.

          Intercepting the actual communication is a different story – I don’t know the mechanics by which that is done.

          • tc 4.2.1.1.1

            That’s called lawful interception and telco’s legally must have a method if supplied with the warrant etc but if you intercept SMTP/HTTP/HTTPS how do you only capture metadata ?

            SQL only works with structured data and known syntax which SMTP tends to follow with ‘from/to/cc/message text’ etc and to capture that you need the entire message, so I’m not feeling enlightened by your answer.

            • muzza 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Digital is different, emails etc, you don’t collect meta data, you collect the lot. Packets are packets, unless they’re encrypted, even then its still just packets of data. It is possible to collect the headers only, but they won’t be doing that, and any claim otherwise is utter BS.

              The meta data comments are a diversionary tactic, meant to lull the hobbits back to sleep!

              Data is data, its as simple as that!

      • Veutoviper 4.2.2

        Agreed, MS, that it further confuses the issue.

        IIRC, Key’s wording was very fuzzy when he said that he did not believe that the GCSB had engaged in the mass collection of metadata. (In fact, from a short discussion on this when KDC was before the Security and Intelligence Committee, Key appeared to have no idea about metadata.)

        The situation is also further confused by the fact that as part of Dunne’s negotiations with Key to secure Dunne’s vote, it was supposedly agreed that Dunne and Collins would lead a review into privacy, including the definitions of private communications (including metadata) to ensure a standard definition for insertion into the GCSB Act and other relevant legislation.

        I commented earlier today on this at /spying-on-another-journalist-what-did-key-have-to-hide/#comment-675389

        • mickysavage 4.2.2.1

          Yep Key also talked about “mass collection” of metadata which suggested that more limited collection of metadata was occurring and if this the case I wonder what “more limited” means? The metadata of only 1% of the population? Only email associated metadata?

  5. vto 5

    No point in watching. It’s a Dunne deal.

  6. the fundamental question of why there needs to be any increase in surveillance has not been answered

    What answer is there, other than it is because of a threat to the institutional power which shapes the rules of engagement within society?

    • McFlock 6.1

      An answer that actually says something would be useful.

    • AmaKiwi 6.2

      “the fundamental question of why there needs to be any increase in surveillance has not been answered”

      Terrorism! There have been THREE major terrorism attacks in NZ:

      The Rainbow Warrior, the Urewera 8, and the Kim Dotcom mansion attack.

      Terrorism must be stopped!

  7. Mr Interest 7

    An interesting article by big think (note the questions asked by the students are just as applicable to NZ:

    http://bigthink.com/think-tank/nsa-recruiting-event-turns-into-battle-of-ideas

    Here are some exerts:

    START of Exterts: (In this fascinating recording, you can listen to indignant students scathingly questioning an NSA recruiter on a number of key issues.

    students’ primary complaint was that they took exception to the loose use of words in the NSA recruiting…..A large portion of the protesting questions regard the application of the word adversary” to anyone from American citizens to Germany.

    Another issue was that, in the pitch, the presenter apparently offered a wink and nudge tip that working for the NSA affords a lifestyle of carefree abandon and the ability to misuse power…..

    The students also raise questions about the lack of transparent oversight of NSA agents and about the ability to misuse the government power based on the personal judgments and agendas of individual NSA employees.) END of exerts

    The latter is the most chilling, particularity if you have just asked your buddy to work for the ‘Crew’. Its not surveillance at the dark end of the the bell curve you should be worried about, its the surveillance of parties, individuals etc that just simple oppose the current government and maybe, just maybe want a better future (the sword of Damocles dangling above ones head means less people, ordinary people will feel inclined to oppose anything, effectively you can blackmail a population of people, because as shown in RSA anitmate, most people do little bits of wrong… see the post http://www.thersa.org/events/rsaanimate/animate/rsa-animate-the-truth-about-dishonesty The Truth about Dishonesty..).

    See further posts on the bigthink such as this:
    http://bigthink.com/think-tank/the-big-ideas-behind-the-nsa-leak-story

  8. karol 8

    So, the filibuster started in Question Time. I’m watching a recording of it on myfreeview. Question time was still going when the time myfreeview looted for it ran out…. ran over into “Debates” time.

    And then I still have all the questions to members…. a whole load of them…. to come.

    • mickysavage 8.1

      Yep it is 4:14 pm and they are still asking questions of each other. It is going to be a long day …

      UPDATE: The Speaker has just granted a request for an urgent debate on the Fonterra contamination fiasco …

  9. BrucetheMoose 9

    Haven’t been analysing the complexities of this law, but since Mr Key has been marketing and selling toilet rolls as Christmas crackers to NZers ever since he got into power, and he has the ethical standards of a downtown Bangkok sewer rat, I really can’t find the enthusiasm to trust his true intensions with this legislation. This looks like just another of his dubious repackaged gifts that will disappoint, but has the signs and potential to go places that the public may not have wished.

    • BrucetheMoose 9.1

      PS. Given this regimes prevailing arrogant attitude where serious matters are concerned, shouldn’t the heading be – GCSB Bill to be dictated today.

    • Sable 9.2

      I think the Bangkok sewer rats might be offended by the comparison.(smile).

  10. Mr Interest 10

    Hey Bruce the Moose

    Ever found “bog paper” (the GCSB bill) so thin that your hand went straight through
    Well now there is answer, super absorbency axxe wipe……

    Spoof radio advert for AxxeWipe Toilet paper (warning content my offend the mind police)

  11. FYI – seen this?

    http://www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz/?p=229

    6 August 2013

    ‘Open Letter’ to National MP for Auckland Central, Nikki Kaye, from Auckland Mayoral candidate, Penny Bright: :

    (Full copy of letter here:
    GCSB Open Letter Reply (Rev A) to Nikki Kaye 6 August 2013

    “Please respect the ‘Rule of Law’ and ‘lawful due process and do not vote to railroad through the GCSB Bill!”

    National MP for Auckland Central,
    Nikki Kaye

    Dear Nikki,

    Thank you for your response to those over 500 signatories , (including myself), to the following petition:

    To National Party Member of Parliament for Auckland Central, Nikki Kaye :

    “The will of the people is the basis of the authority of Government.”

    We, the undersigned, call upon YOU, as an MP, to defend the lawful human rights of New Zealanders to privacy, freedom of association and freedom of expression – that is – to oppose arbitrary search and surveillance by the State over citizens.

    If YOU, as an MP, vote for this GCSB Bill, which will allow widespread spying on New Zealanders, we, the undersigned hereby PLEDGE to campaign against your re-election in 2014, and to encourage our families, neighbours and workmates to do the same. ”
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    YOUR REPLY:

    GCSB Nikki Kaye reply to petition pledging to campaign against her if she supports GCSB Bill 5 August 2013

    5 August 2013

    Dear Penny

    This letter is to acknowledge receipt of your petition to me as the MP for Auckland Central regarding the GCSB Bill.

    Thank you for raising your concerns, and those of the people who signed, with me.

    The Bill clarifies the law that the GCSB operates under. The Prime Minister takes his responsibility for national security seriously, which is why the Government is moving to clarify the the law so that it is legally clear that the GCSB is able to assist other agencies, like the NZIS, Police and Defence Force.

    Let me be clear – the Bill does not allow the GCSB to conduct wholesale spying on New Zealanders. It allows the GCSB to assist the Police NZISA and Defence when there are serious matters that need to be investigated. This Bill sits at the heart of our national security.

    We have made recent changes to strengthen the Bill following hearings with the Intelligence Committee.

    The Committee considering the Bill received 122 submissions, which have helped the Bill achieve the right balance between national security and privacy.

    Recent changes include:

    * An independent review of operations and performance of the GCSB and NZSIS and their governing legislation in 2015 and thereafter every 5 – 7 years.

    * No other agencies, apart from the Police, NZ SIS and Defence can ask the GCSB for assistance unless Parliament agrees to

    * The GCSB will also be required to report annually on the number of warrants and authorisations issued

    It’s important to note that the Intelligence and Security Committee will hold public hearings annually to discuss the financial reviews of the performance of the GCSB and NZSIS.

    The legislation also creates new obligations for the GCSB in respect of the handling of personal information, based on a number principles recognised under the Privacy Act.

    This policy will be signed off by the Director of GCSB, in consultation with the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and the Privacy Commissioner and compliance will be regularly audited, with results communicated to the Privacy Commissioner.

    The Bill requires more transparency around how the GCSB operates, it significantly strengthens the independent oversight of the intelligence agencies, and it allows the GCSB to get on with the job of protecting New Zealanders and our national security.

    Best wishes,

    Nikki Kaye

    Hon Nikki Kaye

    MP for Auckland Central
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    Nikki, please be reminded that because I suspect that I may have been one of the 88 New Zealanders referred to in the Kitteridge Report, who may have unlawfully spied upon by the GCSB, I made a formal complaint to the Privacy Commission – the ‘due process’ which I was advised to follow by the Office of the Prime Minister, on 10 April 2013, with subsequent (correct) contact details given by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet on 11 April 2013.

    My complaint to the Privacy Commissioner (dated 15 May 2013) is available here:

    http://www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz/?p=195

    On 30 July 2013, I received the following update from the Assistant Commissioner, Investigations for the Privacy Commissioner:

    GCSB Privacy Comm Update Letter 30_7_13

    “Dear Ms Bright

    Privacy Act Complaint: Penny Bright and Government Communications Security Bureau
    (our Ref: C/25391)

    We have received a significant number of complaints regarding access request responses made by the Government Communications Security Bureau in recent times. I am aware that you may be impatient to acquire an outcome to your complaint.

    Upon receiving a complaint about an access review our responsibility is to review the reasons that an agency gives for withholding information and either agree or disagree with the agency in its use of the withholding grounds. The intelligence community provides a significant challenge in terms of the way information is managed and held.

    Scrutiny of the reasons an intelligence agency withholds information and viewing of the information can only be handled by individuals with the appropriate levels of clearances.

    Our Office has an overall small resource and that resource is even smaller in terms of those who have sufficient security clearances to manage these complaints.

    Our practice is to meet with the agency, understand their policies and reasons for making decisions under the Privacy Act and if appropriate review information withheld. These activities take a significant amount of time. Added to our current burden is the significant number of complaints that we have received.

    Please rest assured that we are actively investigating your complaint and for all the reasons I have mentioned earlier in this letter the resolution of your complaint will take time. As soon as I have some issue to report to you, you will receive a telephone call or correspondence from me.

    In the meantime I thank you in advance for your patience.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mike Flahive
    Assistant Commissioner, Investigations
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    It is now 6 August 2013, and I am still none the wiser, as presumably are none of the many other New Zealanders who have similarly made such Privacy Act requests.

    How can you, Nikki Kaye, in all decency, be prepared to continue to vote for the passage of this GCSB Bill, whilst the Privacy Commission is still investigating complaints made by people like myself, trying to discover and uncover how, why and upon whose instructions this unlawful spying upon 88 New Zealanders took place?

    How can this GCSB Bill possibly ‘improve’ the current legislation, when nobody yet knows the ‘systems faults’ that caused this unlawful spying upon New Zealanders, because the Privacy Commission has not yet completed their investigations?

    I’m sorry Nikki – but your assurance “Let me be clear – the Bill does not allow the GCSB to conduct wholesale spying on New Zealanders,” does not ring true with me.

    The current GCSB Act was not supposed to allow spying on ANY New Zealanders – but this has still occurred – UNLAWFULLY.

    You state: “The Bill clarifies the law that the GCSB operates under.”

    The law, in my considered opinion, and apparently in the opinion of those who have actually bothered to read it, is in fact ‘crystal clear’, it just arguably hasn’t been followed:

    You state: “The Prime Minister takes his responsibility for national security seriously, which is why the Government is moving to clarify the the law so that it is legally clear that the GCSB is able to assist other agencies, like the NZIS, Police and Defence Force.”

    Why does the Prime Minister not take his responsibility to protect the lawful rights of New Zealanders against unreasonable search and seizure; for privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association equally seriously?
    …………
    I do not agree with your statement:

    “The Committee considering the Bill received 122 submissions, which have helped the Bill achieve the right balance between national security and privacy.”

    I for one, am NOT prepared to have my lawful human rights to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of associated violated, in the name of ‘national security’.

    Please do not ask me to have a ‘frontal lobotomy’ and forget the ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) LIE, that was the basis for the (unlawful) invasion of Iraq in 2003?

    You state:

    “The legislation also creates new obligations for the GCSB in respect of the handling of personal information, based on a number principles recognised under the Privacy Act.”

    How meaningful is this, when New Zealanders lawful rights to privacy, have already been violated under the current GCSB Act, when they were supposed to have been specifically protected under the above-mentioned s.14?

    You further state: “The Bill requires more transparency around how the GCSB operates, it significantly strengthens the independent oversight of the intelligence agencies, and it allows the GCSB to get on with the job of protecting New Zealanders and our national security.”

    Sorry, but this latest debacle over the release of the private information of journalist Andrea Vance and (former) Minister Peter Dunne, gives me no comfort whatsoever, in the ‘independent oversight’ of our intelligence agencies, at the highest levels.

    It seems clear to me that neither the Prime Minister; the Chief of Staff of the Office of the Prime Minister; the Chief Executive of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; the (former) Chief Executive of Parliamentary Services appear to either know or follow their respective lawful roles, in a proper way, in which the citizens of New Zealand can have public confidence.

    A recent change upon which you are relying is:

    * An independent review of operations and performance of the GCSB and NZSIS and their governing legislation in 2015 and thereafter every 5 – 7 years. ”

    Surely you can see that there MUST be a full and proper independent inquiry/review NOW (not in 2015!), into operations and performance of the GCSB and NZSIS and their governing legislation ?

    Commonsense dictates that a full and proper inquiry/review cannot happen, until the Privacy Commission have completed their investigation into the unlawful spying on 88 New Zealanders.

    May I respectfully suggest that you do not underestimate the real and growing disquiet of significant numbers of the voting public on this issue?
    ………..
    On 2 July 2013, I raised my concerns directly with Prime Minister John Key, at the Security and Intelligence Committee, as one of the 128 who made submissions on the GCSB Bill:

    Do I not have the democratic right as a concerned citizen / ‘Public Watchdog’ of this country to ask these ‘hard’ questions?

    Is not the right to ‘dissent’ and openly ‘question authority,’ – the lifeblood of genuine ‘democracy’, to which we as New Zealanders are supposed to be lawfully entitled?

    Please, Nikki Kaye, I call upon you to uphold the RULE OF LAW and LAWFUL DUE PROCESS.

    I look forward to your assurance, Nikki, that you will act in a decent and proper way, and not support this GCSB legislative ‘blitzkreig’ against the above-mentioned lawful human rights of fellow New Zealanders.

    Kind regards,

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation’ campaigner

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

    • Sable 11.1

      I now think a poster who commented in another column on this matter is right. This government IS the adversary of the people of this country not its defender.

      • muzza 11.1.1

        Correct, this government, like any other, answers to the same powers!

        Still the sheep remain largely silent!

  12. Jenny 12

    Anthem for the day

    Dirty Deeds and they’re Dunne Dirt Cheap

    You’re double dealing your best friend
    That’s when the teardrops start

    You got problems in your life of love
    You’ve made a broken heart

    You gotta politician you wish he was gone
    But you ain’t got no guts

    He’s bugging you night and day
    Enough to drive you nuts

    Talking on the phone
    You’re not alone

    For a fee
    You’re happy to be
    His back door man

    Dirty Deeds Dunne Dirt Cheap
    Dirty Deeds and they’re Dunne Dirt Cheap

    Dirty Deeds Dunne Dirt Cheap
    Dirty Deeds and they’re Dunne Dirt Cheap

    Dirty Deeds Dunne Dirt Cheap
    Dirty Deeds and they’re Dunne Dirt Cheap

    Apologies to AC/DC

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