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.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Ch-Ch-Changes At IRD

job cuts aren’t happening at the IRD, exactly. Instead, there’s apparently a ‘transformation’ in store, and jobs won’t be axed ; no, they will be ‘transformed’ before our eyes into… non-jobs, if you happen to be among the unlucky legion of 1,900 who are being lined up for transformation, which seems to work rather like a secular version of the Rapture.

Except that at IRD, not even your shoes will be left behind. More>>

 

Christchurch Mental Health: Hospital Too 'Awful' For Reviewers To Visit

Jonathan Coleman has to stop the stalling over a new building for mental health services in Christchurch to replace the quake damaged Princess Margaret Hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark... More>>

ALSO:

Greens Call For Govt Action: Children Sick Because Of NZ Housing

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians president-elect said today that children with preventable respiratory illnesses are being re-admitted to hospital because they're being sent back to cold, damp homes. More>>

ALSO:

Less Tax Cut, More Spending: Labour Launches Fiscal Plan

“Labour will invest $8 billion more in health, $4 billion more in education and $5 billion more for Kiwi families through Working for Families, Best Start and the Winter Energy Payment than the Budget 2017 projections for the forecast period.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Greens’ Room For Political Pragmatism

The Greens here are currently being criticized by the commentariat for not making the same kind of pragmatic choices that sunk the Democrats in Australia. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Being Humane About Welfare, Child Support, And Tax

It made for an unusual Venn diagram, but Greens co-leader Metiria Turei and Finance Minister Steven Joyce were briefly sharing some common elements this week in the set that says – hey, don’t use the powers of the state in ways guaranteed to make the system you’re trying to defend worse, not better. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election