For me the funniest thing that happened last week was Cameron Slater proudly announcing that he’d put in a privacy complaint about the someone hacking his data. Three days later he finds out that he was the target of a privacy act prosecution for doing essentially the same act on Matthew Blomfield that he is complaining about.
Because of the equivalences of what happened in the two cases and because it is largely in untested legal areas, the irony is that Cameron almost certainly has to lose the privacy case against him before he even has a hope of getting a successful case against Hager.
In the Privacy Act 1993 there is no significiant difference between the theft and receiving of Matthew Blomfield’s hard disk, and using a login to access Cameron Slater’s gmail and facebook accounts. The prosecution against Slater should make this considerably clearer as I’m sure that the legal privacy status of stolen information will become better defined.
However the difference between the two complaints will be in the public interest aspects, in other words what the material was used for.
Making public the business dealings of a Auckland businessman is unlikely to be in the public interest. Apart from the very high probability that Cameron Slater was being paid to attack Blomfield, there doesn’t appear to have been any public interest apart from Whaleoil’s audience titillation. In the current outstanding appeal from Slater in the High Court in the Blomfield defamation case, defamation expert Julian Miles, QC who was acting for the court is reported as saying on the public interest aspects of the appeal..
In the case against Slater, he said Mr Blomfield had no wider interest to the public and allegations raised in the blog posts had been considered and dismissed by the authorities. While the disclosure of sources might put some off passing on information, it could also dissuade those passing on information which held little public interest, he said.
Asked for precedents, he said: “I know of no case which would go so far as to say this internecine shareholder fight in a relatively unimportant private company is entitled to the protection of anonymity.”
Whereas knowing that group of grubby arseholes inside and outside government have been manipulating official processes and the political system to distort public debate for their own benefit is most certainly in the public interest.
Now, as we’re probably all aware by this point, Cameron Slater isn’t exactly the brightest person around. I think that I have run across poodles with a better social intelligence and empathy for people than he has, and this is made painfully apparent in the book. His sociopathic nature, a near complete disregard for other people rights, and a strong tendency to inflate everything he does, from his own importance to his site’s readership, has brought him to where he is now. But now it is going to be a pathway of pain as his politically and commercially toxic nature and now publicised comments about others have made even his most ardent supporters recoil.
In reality, as the Dirty Politics book and the whaledumps make quite clear, he was just a useful puppet for others.
Now I’m sure that the egotistical 40+ adolescent1 really doesn’t understand this. So I’m quite certain that he will provide some interesting entertainment over the coming years. He will mindlessly try to make the law conform to his view that it should fit his needs rather than that he should conform to its prescriptions. Good luck with that, and pass the popcorn…
When Cameron Slater eventually returns to NZ and if he doesn’t get met by the IRD at the airport for serious private discussion 2 about how much tax he owes the NZ Government, then I suspect he is going to have a rapid education in basic legal principles over the next couple of years. The upside is that he will probably be the first person to provide the interesting precedents for several acts that haven’t fully tested in court. The downside is that he will probably get his cheap thrills providing copy for the tabloid gossip columnists like Mike Hosking and Rachel Glucina.