web analytics

Nicky Hager on Surveillance and Privacy in the Snowden Era

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 am, January 30th, 2014 - 30 comments
Categories: Social issues, Spying - Tags: , ,

This talk will describe the development of mass surveillance systems during the past generation and New Zealand’s part in this story.

He will discuss Anglo-American intelligence history, digital electronics and the war-on-terror environment that together have led to a scale of spying that threatens the Internet as we briefly knew it.

Digital technology has of course also hugely changed how people live their lives. This talk will look at what privacy means and how we can protect it in this era of on-line lives and Internet surveillance.

30th Jan 2014 3:00pm

Castle 1 Lecture Theatre, Otago University

$10 at the door, or $20 for all 4 keynote events

Additional, but I’m afraid, largely out of date info here. (Just discovered that attendance is free)


30 comments on “Nicky Hager on Surveillance and Privacy in the Snowden Era”

  1. Tracey 1

    I am fascinated how some on the right consider slater to be the man fighting for truth while villifying hager.

    Hager produces work supported by evidence from corngate to hollowmen to army lies to privacy.

    • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 1.1

      When it comes to the unpleasantness of having some third party reading through your personal correspondence without permission, Nicky Hager is certainly an expert.

      • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 1.1.1

        People supply him with their personal correspondences out of concern for what they are witnessing – and good on them. Hagar passes onto the public the parts of this correspondence that is in the public interest to disclose. This is a far cry from snooping on all and sundry. And a far cry from treating the public as the enemy.

  2. Craig Y 2

    Which reminds me- we’re long overdue for another book, Nicky!

    • Sanctuary 2.1

      “…Which reminds me- we’re long overdue for another book, Nicky..!”

      Given Mr. Hagers track record, it will be released a few weeks out from the election, contain lots of stuff from Edward Snowden, and be a slam dunk on John Key.

  3. karol 3

    Will there be a video or audio recording of the speech?

    • Bill 3.1

      From the linked info; ‘panels and keynotes only – NZ$20 — for those only wishing to attend the keynotes and panel events. Does not include any streamed events.’

      I think that reference includes Nicky Hager’s free talk. Not really clear on the streaming front though, is it?

  4. captain Hook 4

    The GCSB: too much time, too much money, too much technology and too many people. They are spying on everybody because they have nothing better to do. this is worse than orwellian when they dont even have a purpose.

    • Tracey 4.1

      Does anyone think this data wont be shared with selected corporates for marketing purposes

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Well thats not the real danger

        The danger will be the targeting of anti-mining, anti-dairying activists etc

  5. blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 5

    I just watched the 2004 BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares by Adam Curtis about using fear in politics in relation to terrorism and feel rather speechless on the matter.

    This documentary makes a very good case against the existence of a wide network of terrorism – that such doesn’t actually exist. It conveys that all the court cases for ‘sleeper cells’ [that were ‘discovered’ and charged in America when the hysteria was high] – were either dropped or the charges minimised as to no longer really indicate they were sleeper cells at all.

    I note that this was made in 2004, I believe before the London bombings, and am wondering what the view of the reality of sleeper cells would be now.

    For those of you who haven’t come across it:

    A quick summary & online viewing option from Top Documentary Films. Com

    Info on where the documentary was aired/ banned (NZ not mentioned)

    A transcript of Episode One (with links to the other episodes – this link for those on dial-up)

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      The surveillance state is targeted at the citizenry in anticipation of upcoming civil unrest resulting from GFC2, peak oil and climate change disasters. The tech also has some handsome payoffs in terms of industrial and commercial spying, plus juicy rich Pentagon contracts.

      The “terrorism” justification is peripheral, and largely, though not wholly, a smokescreen.

      • Anne 5.1.1

        Bang on Colonial Viper. Bang on.

        It’s been in the back of my mind this is the real motivation but you are the first person I’ve heard say it.

        What it tells me is that we – the ordinary people – are going to be dispensable. We don’t count. It is an horrific scenario where the privileged few survive and the rest of us can go to hell. They are fully aware of the consequences of doing nothing over Climate Change but it suits their purposes to continue to effectively deny it is happening. Guess who is the worst example of do-nothing CC politics in particular? The USA.

        What’s worse for us in NZ is that John Key is in on the deal. That is why he is forever slipping off to Hawaii or the USA on “private holidays etc”. In other words he’s being updated on progress…

        • Anne

          And here is a great example of how the USA is operating on CC change. Hot off the press from Edward Snowden:

          Today’s NSALeak: the NSA spied on the Copenhagen climate change talks, and the US used the information to undermine them:


          • Anne

            To make it crystal clear about GCSB involvement, here is the original:

            “analysts here at NSA, as well as our Second Party partners, will continue to provide policymakers with unique, timely, and valuable insights into key countries’ preparations and goals for the conference, as well as the deliberations within countries on climate change policies and negotiation strategies.”

            “Second Party partners” refers to the intelligence agencies of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, with which the U.S. has an intelligence-sharing relationship.


    • David 5.2

      Another disturbing doco on this topic is on youtube, “The Shock doctrine”. Covers how govt’s use disasters whether man made or natural to subvert the democratic process. Well worth a look.

  6. aerobubble 6

    The debate is meaningless. We do not live in a nation of law. Privacy, secrets, have been leaked. The minister and committee member who signed the state secrecy oath, has gone into parliament and lied. And he did it in one sentence. He is still responsible to keep secret parts of the leaked Kitterage report, but as the new minister for internal affairs he is responsible for documents that are secret. So for Dunne to have declared he had no responsibility, and the pimple of a speaker laugh at how smart Dunne’s answer was, and let it slide, means the parliament has no idea what just transpired. That state officers can not decide what state secrets they can leak, and can declare to parliament about their responsibility to keep secret past secrets has ceased on becoming minister (quite the opposite).

    No, the fact is that its worse, since on becoming minister he would have to had re-sign the official secrets act. So Dunne left no doubt in my mind that he did leak, since he was unwilling to offer a denial. But worse, does not understand the official secrets act, whether for past documents, existing document he has to still keep secret, and future documents he will have to handle as a new minister (including the Kitterage report appendixes).

  7. Pasupial 7

    It was a pretty good speech, though necessarily fairly broad for a general audience. Some wonderful examples of doublethink speech; spying posts in embassies as “special collection”, “Target Implanted!” for successful execution of a compter hack. I particularly liked Hager’s characterisation of international trade negotiations as a “spying jamboree”. Also his reminisces of Assange were interesting (as he knew him before & during the development of Wikileaks); “He’s one of us – a reasonable human being”.

    If there was a fault, it was in how quickly the question session devolved into a platform for audience speechifying. But it’s hardly the only public talk that has ended up that way.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Thanks for the on the ground report

      • Pasupial 7.1.1

        I stopped putting my hand up after the first couple of questions (as they got longer and we all got more restless). But one thing I would have called Hager on is:

        How can a change of government lead to a decoupling of our spies from the global surveillance culture, when any legislation would have to be signed-off by the former head of the GCSB (Lt General Jerry Mateparae – our Governor General; with an emphasis on General)?

        Though I probably would have been less articulate in my phrasing…

  8. xtasy 8

    Nicky Hager makes and talks a lot of sense, and he deserves to be supported and commended for all this.

    But he is also a very “respectful” person, and somewhat timid, I fear, and that again is, what the ruthless forces that now control and dominate NZ society take advantage of. I see it every time I watch Question Time in Parliament, how Joyce and Key, and a few others (English is almost “moderate” and contemplating), ruthlessly manipulate, lie and pull the wool over people’s eyes. They are at the same time highly aggressive types, they shut critics up, they condone no dissent, they are little dictators in their own styles.

    It is big business, the farmers and a few other lobbies that control this country, and the media are controlled by them. All the serious talk about the GCSB and Snowden, that is only mentioned on side issue kind of news, and it does swiftly get swept under the carpet, not talked about, by most media, by the establishment anyway.

    So it fades swiftly from the minds of the ordinary population, who are mostly listeners and observers. So soon after, they forget, and they think, hey, I hear nothing, see nothing, there is NO “evil” after all.

    Hah, if only they knew how the powers in control work! They do not, they are naive, good believers, busy with 24/7 work and study, so they spend no time on what goes on.

    Yes, Nicky is right, has good points, but he should actually be more of a “leader” than just a talker. Without leaders on this kind of issues, the issues will subside and be ignored. That is what really bothers me. We need more advocates, critics, outspoken people, who challenge, take a stand and do not put up with any shit!

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Hager is playing his role and playing it well; I also think that there must be many different instruments in the orchestra to prevent relying too much on just a few talented soloists.

      • xtasy 8.1.1

        CV – I wish for, and expect a few “louder” instruments to be played also, I am waiting.

  9. Ron 9

    I note that yesterday there was a news item about Tony Abbott attacking the ABC because they had the temerity to report information that he disagreed with.
    Then surprise surprise Mark Textor pops up and called the national broadcaster’s collaboration with The Guardian news outlet as a “blow job”.
    Now we have a former head of ABC and now working for Abbott think tank also attacking ABC and saying they will ‘pay for it’ Once again we have a right wing government trying to destroy their own Broadcaster. The same thing is happening in UK where Crosby Textor are working for Conservative Party and there seems to be a constant attack on BBC.
    Of course we don’t have to worry about National destroying our broadcaster TVNZ they have successfully done that years ago.

  10. Instauration 10

    Can the NZ Government assure that it did not have access to 5eyes sourced intelligence related to Petrobas during past exploration license negotiations? Can the NZ Government be perceived as an “honest broker” in any future trade negotiations with any multinational corporation or country if it has access to 5eyes surveillance information?
    Australia’s position regarding Timor Leste, spying and negotiations is unenviable.

  11. captain hook 11

    so what! I want to know just exactly how crosby textor is going to make the ABC pay for it?
    what the hell is going on. We are supposedly living in a liberal democracy but all we get is these powerful groups trying to destroy the very fabric of the polity for narrow interest groups and their objectives which seem to solely based on personal propensities. The world as they conceive it is a frigging nightmare of dweebs with money who want to tell everyone else what to do. Uggggghh.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    2 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    2 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    3 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    3 days ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    3 days ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    4 days ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    4 days ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    4 days ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    5 days ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    5 days ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    5 days ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    6 days ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    6 days ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    1 week ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    1 week ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    1 week ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    1 week ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    1 week ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    1 week ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    2 weeks ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago