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If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear

Written By: - Date published: 7:34 am, June 26th, 2013 - 88 comments
Categories: accountability, john key, national, Spying - Tags: , ,

Key is going off the rails on his proposed GCSB spying Bill. An interesting piece in The Herald yesterday begins as follows:

Prime Minister John Key says Labour opposition to the GCSB spy agency amendment bill could prevent New Zealanders being safe in an event like the Boston bombings.

Fear card fail. Hey John, America has any number of spying capabilities and patriot laws, and they did not prevent the Boston bombings. Massive surveillance in London did not prevent the London bombings. We can’t prevent such events either – some things can’t be prevented. Using this as an excuse to try and justify increased spying on Kiwis is just pathetic.

But it got worse. Key went and said it. The classic justification for “police state” surveillance – if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear. Here’s the Key version:

“What actually happens with national security is protecting the interests of New Zealanders, and if people aren’t doing something wrong, then it’s very unlikely they would be falling within the remit of the GCSB’s activities.”

“Very unlikely” that you’ll be spied on? In other words perfectly innocent people will be spied on. Probably lots of them, you can’t rule out those who have nothing to hide without casting a wide net, and that is what the government will do.

To believe the NTHNTF argument you need to trust the government. Given that Paula Bennett has already used personal information to attack beneficiaries, and remains a minister, there is no reason to trust this government. Historically surveillance has often been abused to spy on left-wing, environmental, or civil rights activists. What is to stop that happening in NZ? The reassurances of John Key? Even if you blindly believe Key, and trust this government, would you trust the next government? And the one after that? Are the right-wingers who will support GCSB spying happy with the idea that next year David Shearer might take over the reins? Or some time, the next Helen Clark?

Below are extracts from various responses to the NTHNTF argument. This first piece is by D J Solove, a professor of law at George Washington University. The essay an excerpt from his new book: Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff Between Privacy and Security (Yale University Press):

Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’

…I encountered the nothing-to-hide argument so frequently in news interviews, discussions, and the like that I decided to probe the issue. I asked the readers of my blog, Concurring Opinions, whether there are good responses to the nothing-to-hide argument. I received a torrent of comments:

• My response is “So do you have curtains?” or “Can I see your credit-card bills for the last year?”
• So my response to the “If you have nothing to hide … ” argument is simply, “I don’t need to justify my position. You need to justify yours. Come back with a warrant.”
• I don’t have anything to hide. But I don’t have anything I feel like showing you, either.
• If you have nothing to hide, then you don’t have a life.
• Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.
• It’s not about having anything to hide, it’s about things not being anyone else’s business.
• Bottom line, Joe Stalin would [have] loved it. Why should anyone have to say more?

On the surface, it seems easy to dismiss the nothing-to-hide argument. Everybody probably has something to hide from somebody. As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn declared, “Everyone is guilty of something or has something to conceal. All one has to do is look hard enough to find what it is.” Likewise, in Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s novella “Traps,” which involves a seemingly innocent man put on trial by a group of retired lawyers in a mock-trial game, the man inquires what his crime shall be. “An altogether minor matter,” replies the prosecutor. “A crime can always be found.” …

Commentators often attempt to refute the nothing-to-hide argument by pointing to things people want to hide. But the problem with the nothing-to-hide argument is the underlying assumption that privacy is about hiding bad things. By accepting this assumption, we concede far too much ground and invite an unproductive discussion about information that people would very likely want to hide. As the computer-security specialist Schneier aptly notes, the nothing-to-hide argument stems from a faulty “premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong.” Surveillance, for example, can inhibit such lawful activities as free speech, free association, and other First Amendment rights essential for democracy. …

One such harm, for example, which I call aggregation, emerges from the fusion of small bits of seemingly innocuous data. …

Another potential problem with the government’s harvest of personal data is one I call exclusion. …

A related problem involves secondary use. …

Yet another problem with government gathering and use of personal data is distortion. …

Privacy is rarely lost in one fell swoop. It is usually eroded over time, little bits dissolving almost imperceptibly until we finally begin to notice how much is gone. …

See the full essay for details. Another interesting essay by M Marlinspike develops the argument that “a crime can always be found”:

Why ‘I Have Nothing to Hide’ Is the Wrong Way to Think About Surveillance

…Police already abuse the immense power they have, but if everyone’s every action were being monitored, and everyone technically violates some obscure law at some time, then punishment becomes purely selective. Those in power will essentially have what they need to punish anyone they’d like, whenever they choose, as if there were no rules at all….

Other extracts from this piece:

We Should Have Something To Hide

Over the past year, there have been a number of headline-grabbing legal changes in the U.S., such as the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, as well as the legalization of same-sex marriage in a growing number of U.S. states.

As a majority of people in these states apparently favor these changes, advocates for the U.S. democratic process cite these legal victories as examples of how the system can provide real freedoms to those who engage with it through lawful means. And it’s true, the bills did pass.

What’s often overlooked, however, is that these legal victories would probably not have been possible without the ability to break the law.

The state of Minnesota, for instance, legalized same-sex marriage this year, but sodomy laws had effectively made homosexuality itself completely illegal in that state until 2001. Likewise, before the recent changes making marijuana legal for personal use in Washington and Colorado, it was obviously not legal for personal use.

Imagine if there were an alternate dystopian reality where law enforcement was 100% effective, such that any potential law offenders knew they would be immediately identified, apprehended, and jailed. If perfect law enforcement had been a reality in Minnesota, Colorado, and Washington since their founding in the 1850s, it seems quite unlikely that these recent changes would have ever come to pass. How could people have decided that marijuana should be legal, if nobody had ever used it? How could states decide that same sex marriage should be permitted, if nobody had ever seen or participated in a same sex relationship?

The cornerstone of liberal democracy is the notion that free speech allows us to create a marketplace of ideas, from which we can use the political process to collectively choose the society we want. …

Similar points are made in the following pieces:
We all have something to hide from Big Brother, we just don’t know it yet, and
IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO HIDE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR.

What about the surveillance data from a technical point of view? Given the positive litany of privacy breaches that this government has delivered to us, how can they be trusted with any more data? The following piece from Computer Weekly considers privacy from a more technical point of view:

Debunking a myth: If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear

“Nothing to hide, nothing to fear” (NTHNTF) is a myth that is built on certain false assumptions, and these assumptions are never questioned when it is wheeled out as an argument to support whatever draconian surveillance measure is being pushed out in the face of citizen opposition (commercial organisations rarely try such an approach, since it dooms them to failure from the very beginning). These assumptions include:

  • Continuity: When a large data gathering exercise is started, the lifespan of the system will almost always be greater than that of its instigators. The most benign and caring government, authority or private company is inevitably subject to a change of management, and if the new executive does not share their moral stance, then data can be reused for very dangerous purposes. Those who provided data believing they had nothing to fear may find that data is misused in the future.
  • Context: Those who use the NTHNTF argument most commonly use it in the context of government collecting information about individuals. In the information age, the idea of a single entity holding that information does not hold true. The massive pressures to share information within and beyond government mean that information is constantly on the move. Sooner or later, information held by the government will be shared across the government and with the private sector.
  • Control: Whether through a sharing agreement, aggregation of databases or simply leaving a memory stick in a pub car park, information is always shared sooner or later. Information security professionals always assume a system to be insecure, and plan for when – not if – data is lost or corrupted.
  • Consistency: The most important issue is that of consistent use of accurate information across all authorities and all individuals.

… So why do I fear the idea of a database state, even when I have “nothing to hide”? Well, I do have things to hide. Everyone has things to hide. If I have a serious health concern, I want to be able to consult my GP without worrying my wife. If I’m looking for a new job, there is no reason why I should have to reveal that to my employer. In fact, if even I’ve committed a serious crime, been convicted, rehabilitated and paid my debt to society, why should I be obliged to reveal that history to my neighbours if I pose no threat to them? Should my friends know if I’ve got an unauthorised overdraft, or if I’ve downloaded perfectly legal adult content from the Internet? I’ve done none of these things, and am in no particular rush to, but I demand the right to privacy if those situations arise.

“Nothing to hide, nothing to fear” is a myth, a fallacy, a trojan horse wheeled out by those who can’t justify their surveillance schemes, databases and privacy invasions. It is an argument that insults intelligent individuals and disregards the reality of building and operating an IT system, a business or even a government. If ever you hear someone at a dinner party crank out this old chestnut, grab your coat, make your apologies, run fast and run far. And as William has said before, I wouldn’t want to be stuck at a dinner party next to someone who has nothing to hide – imagine how dull that would be.

That’s a lot of reading already, but I also have to include a link to Frank Macskasy’s epic post as The Daily Blog that looks at some of the NZ history and context of this debate.

OK, winding up. Key’s NTHNTF argument is bollocks because:

(1) increased surveillance will not provide the protection that is being used to justify its introduction, and
(2) we can’t trust this government to either use these powers responsibly or protect the data, and
(3) there are many reasons to want privacy even if we aren’t breaking any laws.

Final word to Benjamin Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety”.

Quite.

88 comments on “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”

  1. BLiP 1

    You have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide

    – Joseph Goebbels

    • RedLogix 1.1

      The point being is that you don’t get to define what you should fear or not. Someone else does.

      I believe that in the last decade enough information has already been collected that could be readily mis-used to pressure, manipulate, discredit, smear or criminalise almost all of us.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Yep. In essence, true democracy, if there was such a thing, can now die at the click of a mouse. Pressure on a judges decision, an autopsy report, a police investigation, an MPs vote.

        Conspiracy theory meet conspiracy fact.

    • Rosetinted 1.2

      Blip
      Thanks for giving us the source of that quote!!

    • geoff 1.3

      A campaign billboard for labour and the greens, perhaps?
      Mimic the iwi/kiwi style?

    • Rogue Trooper 1.4

      Goebbels was a master; disadvantage can promote that quality in a person.

    • Who would have thought that the son of a Jewish refugee would agree with that scary saying just 60 years later .

  2. One Anonymous Knucklehead 2

    It’s yet another example of Tory incompetence, I’m afraid: the solution is worse than the problem it seeks to address, and will most likely exacerbate the problem to boot.

    The terrorists seek to goad the state into harsher and harsher measures; a basic and effective recruiting strategy. They’re winning.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Incompetence??? What’s incompetent about obtaining massive but secretive leverage over your citizens, corporates and democratic institutions? Do you really think that these multi billion dollar systems are designed to target AK47 wielding Wahabi jihadists in Afghanistan or Syria?

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1.1

        It’s incompetent because it won’t increase security, it will degrade it, and in doing so harm those very interests its authors seek to protect.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          You haven’t discerned *whose* security the system is actually aimed at protecting. Clue – its not ours.

      • Stuart Mathieson 2.1.2

        Organised incompetence might just have the edge over disorganised competence.

    • Rogue Trooper 2.2

      that strategy is a salient point OAK

  3. karol 3

    And the surveillance of various political groups who are doing nothing illegal in their political activism?

    Then being arrested on minor charges, eg drug charges?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.1

      …and the surveillance of business relationships that will be open to overseas scrutiny.

  4. muzza 4

    Nice article, r0b.

    Its all rather self fulfilling, like many other *industries*, which rely on the, problem, reaction, solution approach to, *business*!

    “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

  5. vto 5

    .
    John Key is a liar.

    The GCSB breaks the law.

    The Police plant evidence.

    …. nothing to fear? ………. yeah right………

  6. vto 6

    .
    the jackboots of the State

    stomp stomp stomp stomp

    roll up the brown sleeves

    pull out the batons

    stomp stomp stomp stomp

    the jackboots of the State.

  7. One Anonymous Knucklehead 7

    To increase national security we propose to create a central database that knows everything, so that when someone decides to steal it they’ll only have to pick one lock.

    Genius.

  8. Dv 8

    Nothing to hide John
    Why do you have a trust?

  9. One Anonymous Knucklehead 9

    Is it time for a practical approach to the problem?

    PGP for everything private and a standard list of words to go with the kitten photos on Facebook. “This is True Believer, he’s the bomb.”

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Using pgp is certainly one way to get noticed.

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 9.1.1

        Yes: so, as part of a “practical approach” to the problem of brianfart politicians and their idiot notions of security, the more people that use it the better. Clog the drain, as it were.

    • infused 9.2

      pgp is more of a pain in the ass than anything. Your better off using vpns and a mail service like hushmail.

      But it doesn’t really matter, what if you had a keylogger on your computer? Renders all your ‘security’ invalid. This is exactly how the US attacked Iran.

      • Pascal's bookie 9.2.1

        Speaking of Iran, have you deleted your bookmark on that thread yet?

  10. Linz 10

    Excuse the name dropping, but in 1976, I was at a dinner party at Michael Bassett’s and David Lange was there. He was still a lawyer at the time and he was representing Phil Amos who had been convicted of obstruction while protesting the visit of the US cruiser Long Beach in his small yacht the Dolphin ( that last sentence is a direct quote from Wikipedia to save time). Anyway Lange told us that at the beginning of the trial there was some confusion as to the actual charge against Phil Amos, and he pointed this out to the Judge, and apparently the judge replied, “Mr. Lange, it doesn’t matter what the charge is.” I thought immediately of treason. Could he be charged with treason? Treason carried the death penalty back then. It wasn’t repealed until 1989.) Phil Amos later won on appeal, but people these days protesting on the sea will probably not be as fortunate.

  11. jcuknz 11

    Presumably Labour may one day gain the Treasury Benches and be dominated by the background boys just as the current government … I don’t trust either of them or any other government.
    There is altogether too much ‘post justified’ wrong doing going on for lack of proper control over the security operators.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Yeah, both Tories and Labour in the UK seem to be pretty quiet about the whole GCHQ revelations. Two sides of the same coin is how it looks.

      • AmaKiwi 11.1.1

        In 2008, Obama campaigned on reducing Bush’s surveillance empire. He got into power and did just the opposite.

        Having all those spooks at your fingertips is just too much of a power high to give up.

        I place the odds at 50 to 1 that when Labour eventually gets into power is will NOT curtail the GCSB. Politicos LOVE power.

  12. wtl 12

    Anyone who knows something about Bayesian inference will realize that if the ratio of ‘terrorists’ to innocent people is very low (which it is) then a large majority of the positives (‘bad guys’) picked up by such dragnet surveillance systems will be false positives unless the system is perfect at identifying the ‘bad guys’ from the ‘good guys’ (which it can never be).

    Certainly something to consider when thinking about “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”.

    • Rogue Trooper 12.1

      good point; will to live.

    • AmaKiwi 12.2

      @ wtl

      “Terrorism” is a tactic, NOT an ideology.

      The most deadly terrorists are governments: USA drones, Israel, etc.

      The only terrorist attack on NZ was by the secret service French when they blew up the Rainbow Warrior.

      Who are our ideological enemies who are going to set off bombs in our cities? Ain’t none.

      • wtl 12.2.1

        ‘Terrorists’ in my comment was in quotation marks for a reason – they are obviously generic ‘bad guys’ made up by the powers-that-be to justify themselves (ala the Goering quote below).

        Anyway, the point of my comment has nothing to do with who we have to protect ourselves from (if any). Rather, I’m just pointing out that even if we accept that we need to protect ourselves from ‘bad guys’, using surveillance in this fashion is an extremely bad idea because a lot of innocent people will be targeted simply due to laws of probability.

        • Rogue Trooper 12.2.1.1

          Yes. (false positives abound, should keep TPTB busy for the interim).

        • AmaKiwi 12.2.1.2

          @ wtl

          I am not disagreeing with you. I am trying to remove the word “terrorists” from our vocabulary. It is Big Brother’s explanation of why we should all be afraid.

          Bush invented the term in order to imply there is a global conspiracy bent on violence against Americans. Tens of millions of people are opposed to America’s military and economic imperialism. They protest but hardly any resort to violence.

          From time to time a few criminals commit violence against US citizens (terrorism), sometimes because of anti-American ideology and sometimes because they are criminally insane. By linking the tactic of violence against civilians with ideological opposition to American policies, the US and UK governments create an image of civilians besieged by millions who disapprove of their policies.

          For New Zealanders, I want us to keep the record straight. There is NO ideological conspiracy to destroy NZ. We are NOT at risk of an ideologically motivated attack against our people. The GCSB and Key would like you to think there is so they can expand their spying powers. They have fabricated a lie.

          The last terrorist attack against New Zealand was by a foreign GOVERNMENT twenty-eight years ago. The French government blew up the Rainbow Warrior.

          Does that justify expanding GCSB’s powers? No.

          • Descendant Of Sssmith 12.2.1.2.1

            The anti-terrorism laws already in existence aren’t justified let alone new ones and we’ve already seen the existing ones abused and broken and authority exceeded.

            Is there any party though who is committed to rolling them back?

            Wool-gathering of information has generally been frowned upon not only do we need to roll back existing laws a strong anti-wool gathering law needs to be put in place.

            One that not only binds us but makes it clear to foreign interests that they should not wool-gather information on NZ citizens either and those businesses that collect info on their own customers cannot on-sell or give that information to others.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 12.3

      Depends how you define terrorist.

      http://www.storyleak.com/official-complaining-tap-water-act-of-terrorism/

      “But you need to make sure that when you make water quality complaints you have a basis, because federally, if there’s no water quality issues, that can be considered under Homeland Security an act of terrorism.”

      Now all you bastards complaining about fluoride in the water have something to worry about!!!!!!

      NB For the record the Smith in the story is no relation

  13. Wayne (a different one) 13

    Brilliant commentary guys – now go look at the lastest polls.

    Labour is getting hammered; like the Australian Labor Party it is in danger of imploding in on itself and, just look at the Prime Ministers Popularity – John Key 62.4%, the country loves him.

    Comrades you must be choking on your bread and Vodka this morning.

    The laugh of it all, not a squeak of an excuse or an editorial on the “Strandard” this morning.

    Its clearly looking like 3 more years comer next election for the Liebour Party.

    [lprent: If you want us to look at them then perhaps you should link to them. Even a lazy dumbarse like you should be able to do that. It will also tell us which silly poll you are trying to explain.

    And while you’re at it drop the trollisms – because if I see too many of them then I assume you are too stupid to write here.

    Next time I have to waste time pointing out how lazy you are, I’ll give you a ban. Read the policy about wasting my time. ]

    • Wayne (a different one) 13.1

      Nothing like the trollisms and crap you write you dickhead!

      And if you were a journalists backside – you would have the polling information at hand – I mean you lazy piece of crap its all over the news media.

      Ah, but I know you have read it – its just that you can’t come up with some left wing bullshit spin to brush it under the carpet, so that your loser readers will think all is well in the gulag.

      Ban me – couldn’t give a shit – this blog is full of whinging unionist haters and bitter down and outers – who need nanny state to take care of their lives – pathetic sad bunch of no-hopers!!

      [lprent: Taking your pig-ignorant paragraphs in order.

      1. We run the site – you don’t. That means that we define behaviour. If and when you can create your own site you can set your own rules there and find out how many people you can attract. If you want to comment here, then you will get warnings from me or other moderators when you’re wandering into transgressing our rules.

      2. Obviously you haven’t read the about, because I’m not a journalist and have no interest to descend to that level. My job and interest is writing code and not prose.

      3. Since I frequently get it in the neck from many people in Labour about how “anti-Labour party” this site is, then I’d presume that either you’re making a joke or you are a fool who doesn’t read the site very often. Either way, I’d suggest that you read the about to find out what the site is for so you don’t look to be quite so much of a simple dork.

      4a. Well that was a warning rather than a ban. I guess you are too stupid to understand the difference. There is absolutely no point in making a comment like you did about something when there was no context for anyone else to understand what in the hell you were talking about. Getting hysterical wound up means piss all (apart from making you look like a dork).

      4b. The site is designed to allow people of differing opinions to argue – read the about. This means everyone from unionist to fervent anti-unionists. That does mean that there are people of many different opinions because I’m only really interested in how people behave rather than their opinions. But if you are incapable of handling divergences of opinion, then I do suggest finding a small room where you can find agreement with yourself and to jerk off in private. It’d make life a bit less splattered for the rest of us. ]

    • Draco T Bastard 13.2

      Another RWNJ trying to distract from the discussion.

    • Rogue Trooper 13.3

      Leadership plummets; easily fixed.

    • vto 14.1

      ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, yes exactly.

      And the National Party. How about they record and publish into the public estate all correspondence, minutes, phone calls, emails etc etc etc………

      If they believed their own bullshit that is.

    • AmaKiwi 14.2

      Great!

      Now get a Labour MP to say that in Parliament.

  14. Ad 15

    Are we getting to the point where every on line entry we make (other than on sites with explicit protection policies like this one) has a tacit admission that the information we put up there is attributable and public?

    I mean we all know Facebook and other such sites tend to blow our intimacies to the wind – despite available protections.

    I am not victim-blaming – I am suggesting that going on line is a choice, and increasingly it is a choice to go public.

    ie other than rare (carefully controlled) exceptions, there is no such thing as on line privacy to protect.

    • Rogue Trooper 15.1

      will come in behind you, because “you are Awe Full, but I like you”.
      QT 25.6
      Q1: Key :”I don’t agree with the Law Society”, “not under any ‘cloak of secrecy’. this is where the Law Society is wrong; it’s under a warrant”.

      Q3: David Shearer (who sadly, is lagging in the Herald digipoll): GCSB can access govt. agencies such as Ministry of Health, MSD, etc.

      Q7: Jan Logie nailed it! (Finlayson also, does not agree with the Law Society; pwuck, pwuck pwuck).

      Winston Peters, on Firstline: claiming that all / other parties get behind and support this “important” (GCSB Amendment) Bill.
      You were saying Populuxe 1? – I enjoyed a creamy, wind-inducing, cauliflower soup on the weekend, what’s your excuse?

      I tell’s ya, there is NO-ONE with NTHNTF. 😎

  15. Ted 16

    Did you read this BS from herald ‘journalist’ adam bennett:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10892732

    He starts out by stating the bleeding obvious: “The web offers us the chance to interact with others across the globe who share the same interests and passions…” What, are we five years old?

    Then tells us: “…the GCSB and other surveillance agencies need the ability under law to plug into all the networks and communications services available.” Is that right!

    And key with his Boston Bombing threat. Just too much.

    And re the Boston bomb. Turns out that at least some of those with apparent injuries were actors, playing the part on injured people for a Fema test drill – a test drill that took place at the same time as the bomb (yes there was only one).

    and

  16. Vagabundo 17

    I’m pretty sure most, if not all, of the 80-odd (that we know of) that were spied on illegally by the GCSB had “nothing to hide” too.

  17. fambo 18

    Nice post, thanks. I’ve kept these arguments for a rainy day.

    I don’t know what David Shearer said back to John Key after he said by opposing the Bill Shearer was risking New Zealanders’ lives [in Parliament] but a good starting point might have gone – “How dare you question my patriotism” followed by the most angry evil stare.

  18. muzza 19

    Key has getting loose with the references to various, *events* of late.

    What with Shearers using the, *T* word recently, one gets to see the game plan.

    • QoT 19.1

      I agree. This means I assume your comment is part of a new phase of your “personal research project” in which you try to confuse people by making points relevant to the thread at hand.

      • Rogue Trooper 19.1.1

        lolz, well, an internal memo to chuckle ackshully.(you did it to yourself muzza, as we all often do).

  19. AmaKiwi 20

    Kim Dotcom
    Urewera 18
    Rainbow Warrior
    Ed Snowden
    Bradly Manning, etc.

    Governments are the threat to your safety, NOT random strangers.

    Terrorism is a tactic, NOT an ideology. The ideological threats to NZ are TS bloggers, unions, Maori, anti-imperialists, anti-neo-liberals. . . . . . not Muslims.

    We should increase GCSB’s powers so we can become more of a USA style Homeland Security corporate controlled dictatorship. Yeah, right.

    So much for Key’s “a brighter future.”

  20. JonL 21

    “Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” – Hermann Goering

    • AmaKiwi 21.1

      + 1

    • Colonial Viper 21.2

      Insightful man, that Goering. Lots of very smart people at the top of that regime.

      • Rogue Trooper 21.2.1

        Yep; learnt a lot from reading about the NSDAP strategy, they were the ultimate of the 20th C; nothing new to see here, move along. 😎 (aided by a litle chemical comfort, was that man at the head of the Luftwaffe).

  21. Posssion 22

    an over looked problem(s) is that the information available on the internet is around 0.2% of the information held in databases.The so called under net holding the rest.

    Only Govts and from time to time hackers have the ability to access unshared information,which when we see large data dumps such as the tax haven leak,which was across multiple jurisdictions and servers it came from either the most clever group of well funded hackers we have seen,or a Government (s),

    • Draco T Bastard 22.1

      which when we see large data dumps such as the tax haven leak,which was across multiple jurisdictions and servers it came from either the most clever group of well funded hackers we have seen,or a Government (s)

      Actually, IIRC, that information came out because of leakers.

  22. emergency mike 23

    ‘Nothing to hide > nothing to fear’ is indeed an insult to the intelligence. The implication as shown by the contrapositive ‘If you’ve something to fear, then you’ve something to hide’, is that a) the laws as they stand are perfect and correct, and b) the government can be trusted absolutely.

    We are supposed to swallow this horseshit in spite of the boringly massive amount of evidence from human history that power corrupts, and that those with power abuse it to maintain their status. And the evidence that the ‘trust me’ score for politicians is somewhere south of a used car salesman.

    Pass.

    As for Key going on about preventing a Boston bombing in NZ, please. If someone really wants to let off a homemade bomb somewhere the GSCB isn’t going to stop them. See the Goering quote at 21 above. John Key’s painfully transparent rhetoric doesn’t fool everyone. But hey, he doesn’t need to fool everyone, just enough people to impose his will. The rest can gaze upon his extended middle finger.

    • Great article, thanks

      ….and the people proposing this NTFNTH approach would be those squealing the loudest if total transparency was required from business.

  23. vto 24

    The most cogent argument against John Key’s bullshit is that all of the United State’s spying didn’t actually prevent the Boston bombing did it.

    And that was a couple of bloody kids ffs.

    In fact it probably worked in reverse in that All of the United States immense power probably actually caused the Boston bombing didn’t it.

    Look what it made a couple of bloody kids do ffs.

    ———

    Also it is important to remember that that act in Boston was not a terrorism act but an act of war. The US has invaded how many countries? Dropped how many gigatonnes of bombs? Killed how many human beings? The United States is at war – everybody seems to forget that.

    ———

    where is it all going to end? taihape? winton? takapuna? the warehouse? or on tv?

    • Draco T Bastard 24.1

      The United States is continuously at war with everyone – everybody seems to forget that.

      FIFY

  24. ianmac 25

    “The Apology from the Law Society to John Key” for getting it so wrong and not realising that Mr Key is so much better and knowing stuff , is brilliant from Imperator. If it has not already been linked it oughta. (I’m out of the country so sorry if it is already been linked.)

    http://www.imperatorfish.com/

    • Anne 25.1

      +1 ianmac.

      I think it’s his best yet.

      It should be posted on The Standard. Too good to pass it by…

  25. pollywog 26

    I reckon Key has heaps to hide, so he should be shit scared…yeah ?

  26. Jenny 27

    If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear

    Show me six lines written by an honest man. And I will show you a reason to hang him.

    Cardinal Richelieu Behind the scenes French statesman and powerbroker. 1585, 1642

    Giving our secretive state forces the power to pry into everyone’s private affairs gives the secretive state an incredible amount of power.

    Witness the state’s ability to find out about Peter Dunne’s dalliance (what ever it was) with Sandra Vance. There can be little dout that this private information was passed on to Winston Peters in revenge for Dunne releasing the facts of the state’s illegal spying on 88 New Zealanders. Which was used by Peters to bully Dunne and threaten Dunne with public humiliation.

    There can be little doubt that the state showed this surveillance of Dunne’s emails to correspondence with Vance to Winston Peters.

    Peters without revealing who showed them to him, has openly admitted to having been allowed to read them. This points the finger squarely at the secretive agents of the state that had the most to lose from the revelations released by Dunne to Vance.

    And Winston Peters despite questioning has not denied it.

    Unlike the state’s law breaking revealed by Dunne’s leaks. Nothing Dunne or Vance did was illegal. Though it was embarrassing to Dunne and possibly mildly embarrassing to Vance.

    The possibilities for blackmail and pressuring of democratic leaders by secretive and shadowy bodies given this power are limitless. Especially in this country where those secretive agencies are generally unaccountable to any democratic oversight.

    As the good, (or not so good) cardinal knew. If he could be privy to the innermost private thoughts of an honest man he could find the evidence to hang him.

    But above all what is most sinister about these new powers, is that they go only one way. There is no reciprocal opening up of the secretive behaviour of the state to public scrutiny. In fact the opposite the secretive agencies of the state reserve the right to keep their own secrets very close to their chest.

  27. Arfamo 28

    Well, I’m convinced. Most of those allegations are completely backed up by your opinion.

    • Jenny 28.1

      OK Arfamo I will play. Who do you think, has access to Dunce Vance emails, and who also had a motive to show them to Winston Peters?

      (Yet not fully hand them over, which is the MO of the SIS or the GSCB who could claim if discovered that they didn’t actually hand them over, ie.leak them. Known in the trade as plausible deniability)

      I think Winston Peters needs to answer some pointed questions on who showed him the emails.

      ie Mr Peters; Was this person known to you?

      If they were known to you, were they a government employee?

      Yes or no.

      When you pose these sorts of questions, you can see why the state opposes an inquiry into the behaviour of New Zealand’s secret government.

  28. Jenny 29

    Show me six lines written by an honest man. And I will show you a reason to hang him.

    Cardinal Richelieu French statesman and powerbroker. 1585, 1642

    Just look at the mischief caused by the release of the private and personal communications between climate scientists.

    It may reasonably be asked how the fossil fuel lobby and their paid stooges came by these private communications.

    • Arfamo 29.1

      Sure, but so far there’s far too little information about his sources, or even what he’s actually seen, to conclude WP got anything from the spooks or from someone else who did.

      • Jenny 29.1.1

        Winston Peters has seen them alright. You only have had to witness his mirthful gloating and sadistic glee in being illegitimately privy to what was contained in them.

        If there ever was an inquiry into the bahaviour of the GCSB Winston Peters would be the first one I would put under oath for some intensive questioning.

        • Arfamo 29.1.1.1

          Winston Peters is an old hand at having a little bit of info and suggesting he has more without ever revealing it. Getting answers from Winston Peters is easy. Working out what he has actually just said and whether it answered the question is more problematic. That’s when his grin just gets wider and his tone more mirthful. He knows exquisitely well how to choose his words. How many people accused him of accepting the baubles of office without checking first what a bauble is?

  29. redfred 30

    If you want to hide it and make on aspect of the GSCB toy redundant I recommend Tor, it is a browser that does a very good job of hiding what you don’t have to hide.. stops the general spying on your activity that Key is up to.

    Yes if they take a good look they could figure it out but they cant take a good look at everybody, the resource to do so would be immense.

    “It works by bouncing your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and it lets you access sites which are blocked”

    https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en

    Not the point I know, but at least you can stick your finger in the air at Key and his American cronies.

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