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Is mass surveillance of Kiwis occurring?

Written By: - Date published: 8:49 am, March 6th, 2015 - 112 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags: ,

John Key Delivers Public Services Speech
Yesterday morning’s revelation that data collected from the Pacific Islands is being handed over to the Americans is opening up many interesting legal issues.  One that is of interest to me is what happens to data collected from New Zealand citizens while they are in the Pacific Islands.  I wondered about this because I have spent time in Western Samoa and Rarotonga since 2009 and I used local telecommunications to keep up with work and politics in Aotearoa.  The thought that this information has been sent to the Americans is somewhat scary.

The GCSB Act provides a clear distinction between New Zealanders and others and how they are to be treated.  Key has said consistently that there are cast iron guarantees that New Zealanders are not subject to mass surveillance and he will resign if the GCSB is engaged in mass surveillance.  I hope this guarantee applies if we are overseas.

The Act authorises the GCSB under section 8B “to gather and analyse intelligence (including from information infrastructures) in accordance with the Government’s requirements about the capabilities, intentions, and activities of foreign persons and foreign organisations“.  A foreign person is “an individual who is neither a New Zealand citizen nor a permanent resident; and includes a person acting in his or her capacity as an agent or a representative of such an individual”.  This definition does not appear to include New Zealanders temporarily or even permanently overseas.  A foreign organisation includes mostly corporates or individuals representing corporates.

There is protection for New Zealanders.  Under section 14(1) of the Act “[i]n performing the Bureau’s function in section 8B, the Director, any employee of the Bureau, and any person acting on behalf of the Bureau must not authorise or do anything for the purpose of intercepting the private communications of a person who is a New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident of New Zealand, unless (and to the extent that) the person comes within the definition of foreign person or foreign organisation in section 4.”  The definition of foreign organisation is essentially to entities and body corporates and their officers.

Incidentally obtained information can be communicated to another entity including an overseas public authority but only if the director is preventing or detecting serious crime in New Zealand or any other country, preventing or avoiding the loss of human life on the high seas, preventing or responding to threats to human life in New Zealand or any other country or identifying, preventing, or responding to threats or potential threats to the security or defence of New Zealand or any other country.  The bolded words may represent a rather large loophole.

Maybe what is happening is legal.  Maybe handing over our private data collected while we are overseas to the NSA is necessary for the identification of potential threats to New Zealand’s defence and is not mass surveillance by the GCSB.  But if this is the correct interpretation then there is very little restriction on what personal information can be handed over and it may not not matter if it is collected in New Zealand or overseas.

And as noted by the Greens this change is a recent one.  Previously the GCSB was authorised “for the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime in New Zealand or in any other country [to] communicate that information to employees of the New Zealand Police or to any other persons”.  The changes last year to allow for the identification of threats or potential threats to New Zealand or any other country clearly extended who the information could be given to.

This morning there was this extraordinary interview on Morning Report with former head of the GCSB Bruce Ferguson.  He essentially admitted that mass collection of data was occurring and was being handed to the Americans but thought it was fine because it was not illegal to do so.

But this misses the point.  Key promised there was no mass surveillance of kiwis occurring.  It is clear now there is.  Saying it is perfectly legal is no answer to his original promise.

Reprinted with additions and alterations from Waitakerenews.

112 comments on “Is mass surveillance of Kiwis occurring?”

  1. tinfoilhat 1

    Of course mass surveillance is happening.

    What is also obvious is that Key will squirm and twist and rely on his own particular definition of surveillance to avoid any responsibility.

  2. Chooky 2

    …well maybe David Shearer and Andrew Little should be asked to comment here…they will know if “mass surveillance of kiwis” is occurring…they have the insider knowledge

    “Key promised there was no mass surveillance of kiwis occurring. It is clear now there is”….

    What is the Labour Party going to do about it?

    …Is the Labour Party going to protect New Zealander’s human rights …or is it going to be culpable along with John Key Nactional?

    I know what the Greens Russel Norman and Metiria Turei would do ….and Mana/Int Annette Sykes, John Minto , Laila Harre and Hone Harawira …..they would be jumping up and down if they had insider knowledge.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      It appears the mass collection of data started to happen in 2009 and the law changes were made last year.

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        Did not the Labour members of the committee overseeing the intelligence services know about what the organisations were doing? If not why didn’t they ask for greater oversight?

        • mickysavage 2.1.1.1

          Do you know what was said at the committee meeting? Why are they to blame?

          So we should ignore the actions of the Government in increasing the powers and instead criticise Labour MPs for something we do not know if they did or not.

          • Gosman 2.1.1.1.1

            I’m not discussing what happened recently but what they have been doing over the entire period in question. I myself don’t think this is as people here are painting it. However if you are indeed right and this is a gross abuse of surveilance powers then I’d want to know why people supposedly representing my interests weren’t more active in stopping this from occuring. Even an admission from Andrew Little that they didn’t know this was going on and the oversight in place has obviously failed would suffice. The question for you is whether you think he will do something like that and if he doesn’t what motivation could he have for not doing it?

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1.1

              However if you are indeed right and this is a gross abuse of surveilance powers then I’d want to know why people supposedly representing my interests weren’t more active in stopping this from occuring.

              So, why aren’t you asking National then who are actually overseeing this abuse of our Human Rights?

            • Sacha 2.1.1.1.1.2

              To be fair, the Greens and Dunne have also sat on the oversight commitee during that time haven’t they? and maybe Peters?

            • Murray Rawshark 2.1.1.1.1.3

              Aw Goosemann, FJK represents your interests. He’s active in keeping it going and intensifying it. As Chooky hints, it’s not Labour that will stop it. If you think your interests require stopping illegal surveillance, have a look at Greens or Mana.

    • saveNZ 2.2

      @Chooky

      Totally agree. What are David Shearer and Andrew Little going to do about it?

      Can they cut the crap and say NO?

      Or will they do a Planet Key partnership and sell the line mass surveillance is necessary and in our best interests but watered down version.

      And expect the public to clap, because like last time we can only expect 24 hours of surveillance without a warrant not 48? Thanks Labour!

      Be aware there will be confusal tactics and masses of information that all say’s we need it for our own good, but can Shearer and Little see it is all self serving? And being one of the 5 eyes state surveillance all makes our country a target. If you did want to attack, taking out the spy bases might be first on the agenda.

    • AmaKiwi 2.3

      + 1

  3. Tracey 3

    If everyone is doing it and everyone knows everyone is being spied on, why aren’t the pacific nations mentioned in this latest news just handing it over to the USA directly? The US could fund the facilities etc

    • Gosman 3.1

      The governments of some of the Pacific Islands don;t seem to be terribly upset about this. Indeed the Samoan PM went on the record saying he was entirely comfortable with what has been happening. Where is this diplomatic fallout that people are predicting?

      • mickysavage 3.1.1

        They are being very polite in that very Pacific way. Imagine what the French are thinking at the prospect that communications involving their Parliamentary Representatives have been intercepted.

        • Gosman 3.1.1.1

          I find it quite funny that left wingers are becoming indignent on behalf of the French.

          • mickysavage 3.1.1.1.1

            I would not describe myself as being indignant on behalf of the French. I am pointing out the repercussions of the policy.

            • Enough is Enough 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Who gives a fuck what the murderous French think?

              The abuse of our human rights is the only issue here. We should not be concerned what that terrorist supporting nation thinks.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                I should add that the metadata that we collect on behalf of the FVEY nations becomes an intrinsic part of databases used to kill people via drone strikes and targetted assassinations.

        • Sacha 3.1.1.2

          I imagine they are more concerned about our spying on their military bases in the region.

      • Gosman, like your Dear Leader, you seem very “relaxed” about state surveillance and mass spying.

        You would have loved living in the former USSR and it’s Eastern European allies. There was no limit to the amount of surveillance going on.

        It was an exhibitionist’s paradise.

        In fact, if you’re really so keen on being surveilled, I understand it’s still very much de rigueur in North Korea, China, and now in the United States.

        Enjoy.

        • Gosman 3.1.2.1

          You are quite wrong. I’m not relaxed about it at all. I myself would prefer much tougher oversight over what the intelligence agencies are doing. However I am also well aware this issue is being used by the hard left for political purposes. I am pointing out how ridiculous some of the views expressed are by highlighting the fact that the GCSB was merely doing what it is set up to do (i.e. gather intelligence).

          • framu 3.1.2.1.1

            is this going to be a repeat of yesterday?

          • Pascals bookie 3.1.2.1.2

            So you are actually concerned, but downplaying it for partisan reasons and tellling yourself that its the lefts fault you are doing so.

            Awesome.

            Classical liberal, are you?

            • Gosman 3.1.2.1.2.1

              No. I think any changes to security legislation requires cross party support. Providing better oversight on this issue benefits all. I am just sick of how leftists are politicising this issue when as Sir Bruce Fergusson pointed out on the radio this morning nothing much has changed since Labour was in charge of the Treasury benches.

              • Pascals bookie

                Except the actual dox seem to tell a different story, and Fergie has been out of the picture for a while anyway.

                But regardless, when this shit blows up and the left is in charge, the leftie activists kick up shit. Same same when the right is in charge.

                So I think you are projecting somewhat. If you want bipartisan tougher oversight, you should be linking up with leftie activists to push for tougher oversight, rather than downplaying the need out of fear of partisan damage to your ‘team’.

                The right wing citizenry have been deafening in their silence about concern over this stuff, so why should RW politicians bother to change anything? They’ll just wank on about conspiracy far left blah blah, lines you repeat, and pressure for oversight thus becomes fringey bullshit.

                Golf clap.

                • Gosman

                  Fair call. I have some contacts with policy development on the right so if you are interested in developing a bipartisan approach to getting better oversight on this let me know and we can look to develop a proposal.

                  • Pascals bookie

                    If you’ve got contacts there, fill your boots then. I’m doing my thing in other areas.

                    Just saying that I can’t see how saying ‘there’s no problem here it’s always been like this’ helps.

              • So, Gosman, if the current government was a Labour-Green led coalition, would you still be ok dismissing concerns about increased surveillance as “leftists are politicising this issue”?

                Or would you rail against it?

                It’s hard to pin you down on this as you seem to be operating more from a tribal position rather than any firm principle.

                • Gosman

                  I’d like to think I take a measured approach to this issue regardless of the government in charge. After all the matter is neither left nor right in terms of the political spectrum. I would take as much delight puncturing pompous right wingers if they potificated on the evils of a left leaning government doing this as I have in doing so in the current manner.

        • Anno1701 3.1.2.2

          In fact, if you’re really so keen on being surveilled, I understand it’s still very much de rigueur in North Korea

          zing……

      • Tracey 3.1.3

        You didn’t answer the question. Try again.

  4. Bea Brown 4

    Most of the Snowden stuff finishes before 2009, before the National Government.
    The GCSB was set up by David Lange and Helen Clark was PM for most of the period in the data.
    Surely now she is an independent voice she could explain to us their motives and methods.

    • framu 4.1

      or the CURRENT govt could explain exactly how they have curbed previous errors

      They are the govt now and they did pass new laws on the GCSB

      to date they have provided nothing that suggests any sort of substantial improvement – in fact, quite the opposite

      So youve confirmed that things were bad under clark – whoop dee do – maybe add what we now know about that time and then add all the current goings on and see what you get?

    • Unlike John Key, Helen Clark had the discipline always to say “no comment” about this stuff and leave it there. A much better strategy when it comes to spying.

    • Anne 4.3

      Most of the Snowden stuff finishes before 2009, before the National Government.

      Bea Brown lying again? Or is she/he just an ignorant rwnj?

      The timeframe at issue is from 2009 – when the documents record “full take collection” was about to begin – through to mid-2012, when Snowden quit his job with information he had taken.

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11412551

      • Murray Rawshark 4.3.1

        She’s lying. It’s what she’s paid to do, probably from the same budget as Hooton.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.4

      The GCSB was set up by David Lange

      Actually, it was set up by Muldoon and I think even that was more of a reconfiguration than an actual set up per se.

    • Tracey 4.5

      Could you provide your link for “most of the Snowden stuff…”

      TIA

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    Ferguson was all over the place, self-contradictory, blustering, dismissive, and utterly devoid of credibility.

    • framu 5.1

      his whole rationale seemed to be that it only becomes spying if they decide to look more closely at you – untill then its not spying even though nothing has changed re: data collection and analysis

      • Tracey 5.1.1

        and ignores the part about how do you know what to throw away unless you know what it is?

    • Tracey 5.2

      Funnily enough he seems to be leaving room for the strong possibility of mass surveillance but shrugs it off with “what can you do, it’s the best way”… as opposed tot he PM who keeps denying it happens.

  6. New Zealand doesn’t spy on their own citizens (if you’re naïve enough to believe that) but on the citizens of other nations and gives that data to the NSA.

    I’m sure that the service is reciprocal and that the NSA spies on Australians and New Zealanders and gives that data to our governments.

    • Anne 6.1

      If we are “hoovering up” the South Pacific nations and sending it all to the Yanks, then somebody is hoovering up ours and sending it all to the Yanks. It’s either the NSA itself or one of the other five eye nations. Canada?

      I’m surprised and disappointed that Bruce Ferguson is attempting to defend the system. I thought he was better than that. Apparently not..

    • Bill 6.2

      Precisely. That info was among the original revelations. Australia can mass surveil NZ and store it. NZ then has access to Keyscore. Since Keyscore is ‘targeted’, I guess NZ can then claim it doesn’t carry out mass surveillance on NZ residents/citizens.

      There was a fairly major story about UK spy agencies carrying out work for US spy agencies in the US because it would have been unlawful or illegal for the US agencies to do it. (Maybe something around the Boston bomb thing? Can’t remember.)

  7. Sabine 7

    yes.

    the end.

  8. wyndham 8

    Key has been careful, just lately, to mention that “previous governments ( NZ) did it”. He didn’t specifically say ‘Helen Clark did it’ but he probably will.

  9. Gosman 9

    Someone yesterday mentioned that Sir Bruce Fergusson was replaced as Director of the GCSB to facilitate this activity. It seems as though the man himself disagrees with that assessment from his comments in this interview from Morning report today.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/20169815

  10. Philip Ferguson 10

    Unfortunately, there still seems to be a rather lax attitude on the part of many in relation to citizen’s rights and restrictions on nefarious activities by the state. Over on Polity, Rob Salmond made some good points about mass surveillance but then stepped back to say things like he didn’t mind the state knowing who his facebook friends are.

    But what business is it of the state’s to know who people’s Facebook friends are? It might not bother him personally, but I think we’re setting pretty poor standards when any citizens say they don’t mind the state knowing who their friends on facebook are. Because if they know his, they know a lot of other people’s, including people who are engaged in progressive political activity that is being monitored by the state.

    Having lived in a country – the south of Ireland, as it happens – where state harassment of particular kinds of political activists was part of the daily routine of the Special Branch – they sat outside your house at night, they drove around during the day looking for republican political activists to harass, they visited landlords and employers to try to get people sacked and thrown out of their rented houses – I think we should be very wary about the extension of state power to pry into who our facebook friends are, who we’re shagging, what we had for breakfast or how many times a day we take a dump.

    They’re not doing it to help us get more facebook friends, improve our sex lives and diet or make our bowels work better!

    And imagine if apartheid still existed and the 1981 Springbok tour was in 2015, with all the technology available to the state now.

    A couple of useful articles.
    This one is by an Iranian political exile in Britain, about the rise of the surveillance state: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/were-all-data-in-the-end-the-rise-of-the-surveillance-state/

    This is a more general one about the mechanics of states of surveillance: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/states-of-surveillance/

    Phil

    • Gosman 10.1

      A number of people who have gone on to commit acts deemed to be a threat to national security have started out by engaging in social media interaction with various groups and people. Hence why it may be very useful for the security services to know who your Facebook friends are.

      • thatguynz 10.1.1

        “A number of people”

        Like who?

        • Gosman 10.1.1.1

          Like the two Boston bombers who were apparently heavily influenced by online sermons disseminated via social media

          http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/combating-hate/homegrown-islamic-extremism-in-2013-online-recruitment-and-self-radicalization.pdf

          • Colonial Rawshark 10.1.1.1.1

            Get it into your head that the NSA has been given a trillion dollars since 9/11 and still can’t keep up with terrorists talking on Facebook. Like the 3 teenage UK girls who left for Syria.

            It’s like they are keeping the problem going in order to keep the funding flowing.

            • Gosman 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Wouldn’t surprise me if they were. They are a government run bureaucracy after all and we know how ineffective they can be 😉

              • Colonial Rawshark

                But very effective at private sector and public sector empire building.

                A government bureaucracy entwined with private sector contractors feeding off fat tax payer provided budgets. Where top officials from each side regularly jump across to the other in an incestuous self perpetuating but very profitable relationship.

              • KJT

                Better to privatise spying, like prisons, Eh!

          • thatguynz 10.1.1.1.2

            Oh I thought you were actually referencing something relevant like – to NZ..

            • Gosman 10.1.1.1.2.1

              Global terrorism is not relevant to NZ in your mind – is that correct?

              • thatguynz

                Based on the occurrences of “global” terrorism in NZ.. no.

                When you reference “threats to national security” one would hope that it is as it pertains directly to NZ. Given the absence of terrorist acts in NZ I think your argument is flawed and is simply regurgitating the governments rhetoric.

              • tricledrown

                Goostepper.
                Loaded questions.
                So why has the National Govt effectively cut border security and Bio security.
                Given the increase in tourists visiting New Zealand.
                A Far bigger threat.

                Then why has the National govt cut Defense spending.

              • tricledrown

                Kim Dotcom a global terrorist.

                • Gosman

                  If you say so. From my prespective i believe you are being a bit harsh in your judgement there.

                  • felix

                    Why are gosmans comments being let out of moderation when he is still so obviously trolling?

                    • Bill

                      I said I’d put him in moderation on a specific post until last night. I did that. (He actually ‘got out’ some time in the wee small hours).

                      But I do kinda take your point Felix. There’s a fair amount of thread trashing goes on (people playing ‘silly buggers) which, in my opinion, can only be identified through ‘front end’ moderating.

                      Of course, that entails a mod being active on the front end and on a particular post when it’s happening.

                      My intention is to stamp it out (alongside ganging up and other ‘undesirable’ habits on comments) . But it’s not as though I’m here all of the time…

                    • felix

                      Ah I see. I thought it seemed too good to be true 😉

                    • lprent

                      It is why I tend to just issue warnings and bans these days. Don’t have time got too many intermediate measures. My intermediate happens when I have time and decide to comment. Then I can see how much midiff I can tear away in short time from somneone. It is a cruel but deflating practice but someone has to educate the wannabe predators about why people seem restrained here 🙂

              • Gosman 10.1.1.1.2.1
                6 March 2015 at 1:55 pm

                Global terrorism is not relevant to NZ in your mind – is that correct?

                So, what are you suggesting, in your weird way, Gosman?

                That we surrender our liberties and privacy because bad people exist?

                Really?

                A very famous person once said,

                “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. “

                That was written in 1755, fully 260 years before anyone (aside from American natives) had ever heard of “terrorism”.

                Amazing how prescient Mr Franklin was, huh, Gosman?

                • KJT

                  You do know that the US revolution could not have happened today.

                  The founding fathers would have been called a terrorist organisation, propounding dangerous ideas like “Democracy” and votes for non-landholders.

                  They would have all been “disappeared” into Chicago police holding cells, or drone bombed.

      • Tom Jackson 10.1.2

        That’s a silly argument, even from you.

        He’s talking about the state hoovering up everyone’s Facebook friends, not a targeted, judicially warranted investigation into some person whom the police have probable cause to investigate. Hardly anyone disagrees with the latter, but that’s not what’s at issue here.

      • Bill 10.1.3

        Gosman, it’s a facile observation you’re making. Of course there are terrorists and all types of nasty bastards who use social media and who may be ‘egged on’ by stuff/groups they find there. There are are also terrorists and nasty bastards who are ‘egged on’ by the security forces.

        Any chance you answer to Philips point, which was what business is it of the state who your facebook friends are?

        Or, let me put it this way (taken from a Glen Greenwald line).

        How do you think John Key should respond if I was to ask him to provide me with all his passwords, pin numbers,phone numbers etc and all the contact info for all the people he networks with?

        • Gosman 10.1.3.1

          Do you honestly think the State grabs all that information you listed?

          • Bill 10.1.3.1.1

            Unless my passwords and communications are encrypted, then it’s all a part and parcel of the meta data. Throw in Keyscore (which needs no authorisation for the operative to access and use) and yes, spy agencies have what I’ve listed…. and much more besides.

  11. Any twit with the “I have nothing to hide blah blah” line should stop and think about this: one of the stated ambitions of the spies beyond “collecting it all” is to “disrupt”. So get out of line and they have control of your life through your computer ( access to your cash, what “you” or rather they write about you on your Facebook page)

    • Tautoko Mangō Mata 11.1

      Another aspect to be considered is the potential for the blackmailing of or coercing of NZ politicians with the threat of revealing sensitive information collected by mass surveillance.

      Read again the excerpt written by Glenn Greenwald:

      “The Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) — Britain’s National Security Agency (NSA) equivalent — commands a wide-ranging set of tools that enable it to hack into popular social media and communications outlets and plant false information on the Internet, according to a document published by The Intercept Monday. The long list of options ranges from inflating the results of online polls to allowing the agency to monitor Skype communications in real time, though the details of that capability remain murky.”
      http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/14/snowden-document-exposes-extensive-list-of-british-spying-tools/

      This tweet from Keith Ng is worth our consideration.

      “Are we giving massive powers to the government of the day? If not, who the hell are we giving it to? What is the *nature* of FVEY?”

  12. grumpystilskin 12

    Technically the GCSB isn’t looking but have a look at this map, where does the southern cross cable loop through?
    That’s right the US and we all know that everything that passes through there is tapped..
    I’m struggling to understand that some of you don’t know this?

    http://www.southerncrosscables.com/home/network/overviewandmap

    • Paul Campbell 12.1

      I always wondered whether the Southern Cross cable coming ashore at Whenuapai was a coincidence or not …..

      • Sacha 12.1.1

        Thought it was Takapuna beach (conveniently close to Devonport base).

        • Colonial Rawshark 12.1.1.1

          Absolutely guarantee that there will be a Naris device capturing all the info (metadata and content) on the Southern Cross cable at each of the landing points.

          And yes, that is mass indescriminate surveillance of NZers, despite all the weasel wording and “secret interpretations” of definitions that the intelligence services like to use.

        • Paul Campbell 12.1.1.2

          Takapuna is the east coast (US) landing, “Whenuapai” (not actually on the coast) is the west coast (Aus) landing

          • Sacha 12.1.1.2.1

            Thanks for clarifying.

          • ma rohemo 12.1.1.2.2

            Does the cable run from Whenuapai to Takapuna by a route that goes past the naval base on the point just west of Chatswood?

            I have often wondered what goes on there.

            Check Google Earth at 36 degrees 49’21.17″ S 174 degrees 42’02.26″ E

            apologies for not finding ‘degrees’ on my keyboard

  13. Gosman 13

    I thought he came off not very well towards the end. However it was clear that as far as he is concerned this is standard behaviour for intelligence gathering. Whether you agree with him or not is a different matter but it is clear that nothing much has changed over the past decade or so in this area.

    • framu 13.1

      “However it was clear that as far as he is concerned this is standard behaviour”

      i could earnestly claim that mimes frequently stab little kittens and that statement above would be true – doesnt make it credible though

      and thats going to be the end of the time and energy i bother with your repetitive slippery behaviour

    • Tracey 13.2

      standard behaviour and leaning toward believing mass surveillance of kiwis probably happens but is the only way to achieve the goal… as opposed to Key who still denys it in tot.

  14. TheContrarian 14

    Probably

  15. Does anyone remember the days when we were living in Nanny State H3lengrad and the PC thought police were destroying democracy?

    Ask Bradley Ambrose, Nicky Hager, or Ed Snowden if things are better now that the 5-eyes surveillance state is in charge.

    • framu 15.1

      i know – so glad someones not telling me what shower head or lightbulb to use – otherwise i would have to march up the street with a swastika [/extreme sarc]

  16. Rolf 16

    The problem with all this is that they can, and will, do whatever they like, irrespectively of any laws, because nobody is watching. It is like scrapping the entire police force and the defense force, and say, no crime occurs in this country.

  17. Murray Rawshark 17

    The GCSB obviously collects everything from Kiwis in the Pacific, which is in breach of the law. As for those of us still in Aotearoa, I would imagine the same thing happens, but with one of the other Five Eyes partners doing the collection. These guys have the morals and ethics of an international pedophile ring. Hmmmm…..thinking about recent developments……..

  18. Leftie 18

    Is mass surveillance of Kiwis occurring?

    YES.

    • fisiani 18.1

      NO

      • Colonial Rawshark 18.1.1

        It’s quite likely all data and metadata off the Southern Cross cable is captured where it lands in Hawaii. (Where Edward Snowden happened to have been based).

  19. Sable 19

    Of course this criminal government are spying on Kiwi’s at the behest of their US masters. Probably reading my comments as I write them.

  20. Coffee Connoisseur 20

    At the end of the day it is simply another way in which the system is not meeting the needs and wants of those the system should be for.
    Find me someone who actually wants to have the GCSB or any other intelligence agency looking at everything they do.
    It all comes back to identifying who the system should be for and what its purpose should be. Policy should be designed off the back of the answers to those questions plain and simple.

  21. mike 21

    Why should the GCSB not be allowed to “spy” on NZ citizens? There is no guarantee that a terrorist act won’t be carried out by a NZ Citizen. What will say then?

    • Kriss X 21.1

      The GDR and their Stasi are gone, but North Korea beckons you still.

    • Colonial Rawshark 21.2

      The GCSB should not be allowed to spy on NZ citizens because their role is to safeguard democracy and civil rights, not to destroy them. You should also be afraid of how they know everything about you and your family, while you know nothing about what they are doing. An uninformed citizenry will always be taken advantage of by the powerful.

      Further you should realise that they have endangered all of us by not being specific about who they are targetting and hence many identifying critical pieces of information that they have already collected.

      A classic example of this was 9/11: the NSA had more than enough data on hand to detect and stop the 9/11 attacks, but the data was so buried that it was never even looked at.

    • Sacha 21.3

      There’s this other NZ spy agency called the SIS. That’s their job.

      • And if anyone thinks that distinction isn’t important, they’re invited to consider why we have a Police force and a military.

        Heck, even the United States has the FBI and the CIA to preserve the distinction between agencies which “protect citizens” and agencies which “monitor external enemies”.

    • Murray Rawshark 21.4

      Umm….maybe because we have a law saying they can’t do it?

  22. Kriss X 22

    Yes it is occurring. If it proves to be legal, then we need to make it clear we want the law changed.

    However, let us not forget that Helen Clark was up to her control-freak eyeballs in this sort of thing, even employing undercover spies to infiltrate environmental activist groups.

  23. felix 23

    To the North of Samoa lies Tokelau, to the South of Samoa and North-East of Tonga is Niue, and further to the East lie the Cook Islands.

    For citizenship purposes, these three locations are all part of NZ. The people of those Islands are New Zealand citizens by birth.

    So one more time, John Key, is the GCSB conducting mass surveillance of NZ citizens or not?

  24. KJT 24

    To be fair it is probably correct.

    The GCSB simply hand over the data to the NSA, who then pick out anything, or anyone, which would be embarrassing to National.

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