Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Who Guards The Guardians?

Who Guards The Guardians?

On the Dangers and Futility of Expanding Surveillance Powers in Aotearoa-New Zealand.

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin.

Professors Kevin P Clements and Richard Jackson of the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago are deeply worried by the Government’s plan to change the laws under which the GCSB operates.

“The move is being promoted in order to address a legal anomaly, but in fact it has important and worrying implications for individual privacy, civil liberties and national security. It provides expanded powers of surveillance without evidence of real necessity or effectiveness, or corresponding safeguards of individual liberty and privacy.”

The expansion of surveillance capacity needs to be balanced against benefits to national and regional security. While such capacity might be useful in relation to criminal activity, there is no hard evidence , we are aware of, that such intrusive surveillance mechanisms have played a significant role in the prevention of serious political violence or terrorist activity. On the contrary, so much information is gathered in organizations like the GSCB that analysts often have difficulty making sense of it. The legal rationale for such a bureau is the detection of political and military threat rather than criminal activity. If there is no evidence that such electronic capacity has been genuinely useful in relation to any recent examples of political violence, then why are we contemplating the expansion of such powers for domestic surveillance?

“Who Guards the Guardians “ is an important question here. There is nothing in the legislation about proper oversight or accountability in relation to who is spied on, or why.

The legislation is being rushed through to provide some post facto justification for illegal government surveillance over the past 18 months.

The law change will effectively merge the GCSB and the SIS, plus the intelligence wings of the military and the Police, moving New Zealand towards what is known as a “national security state” with all that this means in terms of intrusive surveillance capacity, challenges to freedom of speech, control of citizens and potential civil rights abuses.

We do not think that this critical law should be changed without more extensive public discussion and enquiry about its potential costs and benefits. At this stage, and on a basis of our expert knowledge on such matters, we see more costs than benefits and real challenges to individual liberties and privacy rights.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On John Key’s Trip To Iraq

In the embedded press coverage on this trip, the absence so far of any evaluation of the wider context of what New Zealand thinks it is doing at Camp Taji has been striking. More>>


Labour: Parata Puts Brakes On Charter School Appraisal

“When the Ministry of Education recommended they compare the achievements of children at charter schools to those of their counterparts at state schools, the documents show Hekia Parata specifically prohibited them from doing so." More>>


Bad Day For Universities: Gun, Bomb Threats On Three Campuses

Dunedin Police are continuing their investigation into the threat made against the University of Otago. Staff are following a number of lines of inquiry, and police are working to verify the authenticity and source of the post. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Deal Reached In Atlanta

Yes, the TPP has helped to knock a few points off the tariffs facing our exporters. Yet some of those alleged dollar gains may well have been made regardless over time – and without the negative baggage of the concessions in the non-trade areas (intellectual property, copyright extensions, investor-state dispute mechanisms etc) that the TPP deal also brings in its wake. More>> (Cartoon by Dave Wolland)

Public Summaries:


Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Pre-Signing: Gordon Campbell On The TPP Countdown

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news