Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Illegal spying is not acceptable - Op-ed By Russel Norman

Illegal spying is not acceptable


By Russel Norman

Memo to GCSB: Don’t spy on New Zealanders, you’re not allowed.

It’s quite simple really; the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003, states “interceptions not to target domestic communications”. What part of that do you not understand?

You illegally spied on Kim Dotcom, and because you chose such a well-heeled victim, other potential illegal spying of 88 New Zealanders has been uncovered.

Memo to John Key: Do your job.

You are responsible for overseeing the GCSB, it’s your job to keep an eye on what they are doing and it’s not something that can be delegated.

You were told about illegal spying on Kim Dotcom at a briefing, but did not pay attention so did not pick that up to act upon.

You were told about further potential illegal spying, but told the public the Kim Dotcom case was an isolated incident.

You hired a school friend to head the GCSB, but then when asked, forgot that you’d given him a call and suggested he apply for the job.

Memo to Paul Neazor: Ditto. Your job, as Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, is important, do it.

Your job is more important than usual, given that John Key is the minister in charge, but when you are alerted to New Zealanders being illegally spied on by the State, that’s important information that needs action.

Rather than just passively reacting when a problem is highlighted, why not do the occasional probe to make sure everything is going okay?

Memo to Bill English: The GCSB Act 2003 is not an annoying inconvenience, it protects the rights of New Zealanders.

It’s not okay that the GCSB were breaking the law and the way to fix it is not to change the law.

You’ve said the law is likely to be amended. If you want to make a change, can I suggest clarifying absolutely that New Zealanders should not fear the full force of the powers of the GCSB be let loose upon them?

Memo to New Zealanders: Don’t sit back and let the Government change the law to allow the GCSB to spy on you.

The SIS can already spy, but there is some accountability. For example in court, police warrants can be examined and cases tossed out if they haven’t been done right. Once the GCSB is involved, New Zealanders’ personal business is suddenly an issue of national security and a major state secret. The GCSB will not be willing to share information they got from the CIA or the British intelligence MI6.

This scenario would mean less accountability combined with greater powers – the GCSB is meant to be acting in New Zealanders’ interests, working for us to protect us on the world stage. It deals with issues of international war and peace. Why would it need to turn its gaze on its own citizens?

GCSB’s law-breaking is not a minor technical matter that needs a quick legal fix. The intent to prevent it spying on New Zealanders was clearly explained during the debate when the bill was passed by Parliament. Everyone back then got it. It’s in black in white in the law. Just because the GCSB has failed to obey that law is no reason to change it so they can continue with their callous disregard for the rights of New Zealanders.

Russel Norman is co-leader of the Green Party This Opinion Piece was originally posted on Radio Live's website.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Northland By-Election

Supposedly, Winston Peters’ victory in Northland has exposed the simmering dissatisfaction with the government that exists out in the provinces. Yet it remains to be seen whether this defeat will have much significance – and not simply because if and when Labour resumes business as usual in the Northland seat at the next election, Peters’ hold on it could simply evaporate.

On Saturday, National’s electorate vote declined by 7,000 votes, as the 9,000 majority it won last September turned into a 4,000 vote deficit – mainly because Labour supporters followed the nod and wink given by Labour leader Andrew Little, and voted tactically for Peters. In the process, Labour’s vote went down from nearly 9,000 votes six months ago, to only 1,315 on Saturday. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Gordon Campbell: On A Funeral In Asia, The Northland By-Election, And News Priorities

Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny lies in Asia, and that was one of Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s rationales for his bungled reforms at MFAT. OK. So, if that’s the case why didn’t Prime Minister John Key attend the state funeral on Sunday of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew? More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Not Flag-Waving; Flag-Drowning

The panel choosing the flag options has no visual artists at all. Now, I’ve kerned the odd ligature in my time and I know my recto from my French curve so I thought I’d offer a few suggestions before they get past their depth. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: The Myth Of Steven Joyce

Gordon Campbell: The myth of competence that’s been woven around Steven Joyce – the Key government’s “Minister of Everything” and “Mr Fixit” – has been disseminated from high-rises to hamlets, across the country... More>>

ALSO:

RMTU: No Public Submissions On International Government Procurement Deal

“The government is preparing to assent to the Government Procurement Agreement, a World Trade Organisation Treaty which opens up New Zealand Government contracts to foreign companies and closes the door on local businesses and their workers. However the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee is refusing to take public submissions on the decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Pacific Spying

So New Zealand spied on its friends and allies in the Pacific – and has not only been passing on the results to the NSA, but has apparently passed on the details of the Pacific’s relations with Taiwan to our other best friends, the Chinese. On the side, the Key government has also been using the security services to gauge the chances of Trade Minister Tim Groser landing the top job at the WTO... More>>

ALSO:

State Housing Transfer: Salvation Army Opts Out

The Salvation Army has decided against negotiating with Government for the transfer of Housing New Zealand stock.
More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news