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Surveillance newspeak

Written By: - Date published: 1:03 pm, March 16th, 2015 - 18 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, International, Spying - Tags: , , ,

Key’s attempt to play cute with the semantics of surveillance is part of an international strategy. Here’s Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept:


Just as the Bush administration and the U.S. media re-labelled “torture” with the Orwellian euphemism “enhanced interrogation techniques” to make it more palatable, the governments and media of the Five Eyes surveillance alliance are now attempting to re-brand “mass surveillance” as “bulk collection” in order to make it less menacing (and less illegal). In the past several weeks, this is the clearly coordinated theme that has arisen in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand as the last defense against the Snowden revelations, as those governments seek to further enhance their surveillance and detention powers under the guise of terrorism.  …

One of the many facts that made the re-defining of “torture” so corrupt and indisputably invalid was that there was long-standing law making clear that exactly these interrogation techniques used by the U.S. government were torture and thus illegal. The same is true of this obscene attempt to re-define “mass surveillance” as nothing more than mere innocent “bulk collection.” As Caspar Bowden points out, EU law is crystal clear that exactly what these agencies are doing constitutes illegal mass surveillance.  …

By itself, common sense should prevent any of these governments from claiming that sweeping up, storing and analyzing much of the Internet — literally examining billions of communications activities every week of entire populations — is something other than “mass surveillance.” Yet this has now become the coordinated defense from the governments in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It’s nothing short of astonishing to watch them try to get away with this kind of propagnadistic sophistry. (In the wake of our reports with journalist Nicky Hager on GCSB, watch the leader of New Zealand’s Green Party interrogate the country’s flailing Prime Minister this week in Parliament about this completely artificial distinction.)

But — just as it was stunning to watch media outlets refuse to use the term “torture” because the U.S. government demanded that it be called something else — this Orwellian switch in surveillance language is now predictably (and mindlessly) being adopted by those nations’ most state-loyal media outlets.

Those are just a few extracts, go read the full piece at The Intercept.

18 comments on “Surveillance newspeak ”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Fuck! I just followed a link to Yawns.

    • Jim Nald 1.1

      “watch the leader of New Zealand’s Green Party interrogate the country’s flailing Prime Minister this week in Parliament about this completely artificial distinction”

      Instead of the current link being used (I assume it is the link to Norman asking the PM about mass surveillance in the House on 10 March 2015), it would be an idea to refer to the link on the Greens’ website (https://www.greens.org.nz/news/speeches/question-question-prime-minister-re-gcsb-surveillance) or directly to the link on the official website (http://www.inthehouse.co.nz/video/35909).

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        *Hangs head in shame at being too lazy to find those myself*

        Thanks Jim.

        • Jim Nald

          All good, OAB.
          Thanks for the heads up. I would have just clicked on to the links after scanning through the piece but saw your comment which was the first. And I got curious and ran my mouse over each link.

          So now (and I take it that it was not OAB who posted this), whoever posted the piece or a moderator can consider replacing the link 🙂

    • weka 1.2

      watch the leader of New Zealand’s Green Party interrogate the country’s flailing Prime Minister this week in Parliament about this completely artificial distinction.

      Yawns alternative link, http://www.donotlink.com/e45u

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    Another newspeak phrase:

    “A number of tactical options” – we killed him

  3. Incognito 3

    Key would fail abysmally in the Turing test when he plays his silly semantics game. Every time!

    • North 3.1

      Truth is while TheMon(ey)Key obviously has brilliant skills at making gross shitloads of wedge for himself and the Crosby Textor assisted cunning of the most biblically cunning beast in the world, he’s a gauche, artless, thick, embarrassing prick in so many other ways. Which deficit he cunningly hams up into the ‘Ordinary Joker Routine’.

      It’s all the worse that he and his ilk would probably cluck and clap all the way to the first comma above, and cocktail party grimace at the rest. Who’s in any doubt that this vulgar, nouveau riche salesman couldn’t but mouth these Big Brother surveillance semantics ?

  4. Hennie van der Merwe 4

    Just saw this on Kim Dotcom’s twitter
    Kim Dotcom @KimDotcom · Mar 14
    My legal team gained access to internal SIS communications after years of legal wrangling. The contents are absolutely shocking!
    104 retweets 107 favorites
    Reply Retweet104 Favorite107
    Kim Dotcom @KimDotcom · Mar 14
    One SIS spy suggested my wife be gang raped and after that a female SIS spy suggested to become the next Ms. Dotcom & move into the mansion.
    93 retweets 71 favorites
    Reply Retweet93 Favorite71
    Kim Dotcom @KimDotcom · Mar 14
    The new SIS spy chief sent me an apology letter because of PERVERSE communications amongst spies about my wife & myself. Disgusting

  5. tricledrown 5

    The real criminal behaviour is happening because of the veil of secrecy.
    Merrill Lynch ,Goldman Sachs,100s of these Banks committed frauds over a long period of time.of several trillion dollars but virtually none of these financial terrorists have never been brought to justice.

  6. Brewer 6

    Australia ordered to cease spying on East Timor by International Court of Justice

    The court also ruled that the Australian government must seal documents and data seized in an ASIO raid in December. The ICJ is the United Nations’ top court, and its decisions are binding on members.


    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1


      NZ also pretends to respect the ICJ’s jurisdiction. The GCSB is just as guilty.

  7. North 7

    Filthier and filthier and filthier !

  8. Tautoko Mangō Mata 8

    “Dirt box” isn’t just something you put in the washhouse for your cat.

    “The Central Intelligence Agency played a crucial role in helping the Justice Department develop technology that scans data from thousands of U.S. cellphones at a time, part of a secret high-tech alliance between the spy agency and domestic law enforcement, according to people familiar with the work.”



  9. Sable 9

    Just a bunch of corrupt vermin selling their own countrymen and women out to foreigners. Once upon a time there was a word for people like that…..

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